The Los Angeles Lakers weren't about to push the panic button and finally reached the win column over the weekend. Tonight, they will shoot for back-to-back wins against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
The Lakers avoided an 0-4 start for the first time since 1957, when Minneapolis dropped its first seven contests, with a convincing 108-79 victory versus the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center.
Dwight Howard had 28 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, Metta World Peace netted 18 points and Kobe Bryant ended with 15 points, eight assists and seven boards for Los Angeles, which made 51.9 percent of its shots and had 46-33 edge on the glass.
L.A. stormed out to a 34-13 lead after the first 12 minutes and led by as many as 36 points in the second half.
"We needed to win in a convincing way," Lakers center Pau Gasol said. "We did a lot of positive things that we can build on. We set the tone early, that helped a lot."
Gasol chipped in 14 points and five rebounds.
After tonight's tilt in Utah, Los Angeles will return to Hollywood for a six- game residency versus the Warriors, Kings, Spurs, Suns, Rockets and Nets. The Lakers are still without veteran guard Steve Nash because of a leg issue.
Utah will play its second home game of the season and lost all three contests on a recent three-game road trip against New Orleans, San Antonio and Memphis.
The Jazz dropped a 103-94 decision against the Grizzlies on Monday, as Gordon Hayward scored 11 points in the first quarter, but finished with just 19 for the Jazz. Mo Williams had 17 points and eight assists, while Al Jefferson posted 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"We were able to be in all three games and had opportunities to win them, and just couldn't finish them off," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "Even tonight, we had a stretch where we were right there. We had a lead at halftime, and started the third quarter off relatively good. We had a six-point lead and they made a run."
Corbin's squad has committed at least 14 turnovers in each of their losses.
First-year Jazz guard Williams leads the team in scoring (20.8) and assists per game (6.8).
Utah and Los Angeles split four meetings a season ago. The Lakers have struggled somewhat in Salt Lake City, losing 10 of their last 16 there.