Lakers try to avoid 0-3 hole vs. Jazz

Magic Johnson wasn't even on the team and the great Jerry 3.

The Lakers of today look to avoid that distinction when they play their third game in a row versus the Utah Jazz tonight at Staples Center. Los Angeles dropped its season opener on Christmas to Chicago, then suffered a 100-91 loss at Sacramento last night.

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, Metta World Peace had 19 off the bench and Pau Gasol finished with 15 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, which is 0-2 for the first time since 2002-03 and hasn't lost three in a row to start a season since the 1978-79 campaign.

"Defensively we had too many breakdowns," Bryant said.

LA is still without center Andrew Bynum, who is serving a four-game suspension for making unnecessary and excessive contact to J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks in last year's playoffs. Bynum is eligible to return Saturday versus Denver. The Lakers blew an 11-point lead to the Bulls on Sunday and almost rallied from 14 points down against the Kings. They had a six-game winning streak in road openers come to an end as well.

The Lakers will play three straight games at home versus the Jazz, Knicks and Nuggets.

For the first time since the 1988-89 campaign, there will be a new sideline boss opening the season for the Jazz.

The NBA lockout took precedence over the entire league, but now that the two sides have agreed on a new deal basketball has become the focal point. In Utah, starting the season without head coach Jerry Sloan could have an eerie feel to it. It's now Tyrone Corbin's team and the former player took over for Sloan last season when the longtime mentor opted to resign.

Corbin had served as an assistant coach under Sloan since the 2004-05 season and went 8-20 last season. The Jazz had reached the playoffs in four straight seasons before the 2010-11 campaign and their 39 wins were the least since going 26-56 in 2004-05.

With guard Deron Williams and forward Carlos Boozer elsewhere, the Jazz will have to convert miracles with top players Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Devin Harris and C.J. Miles. Youngster Derrick Favors showed some promise down low and gives Corbin another option to go big.

Utah has finished no better than third in the Northwest Division in two of the previous three seasons and is not expected to do much again this season. It has won six of its last eight season openers, going 17-20 all-time. The Jazz, however, are only 2-12 when opening the season as the visitor.

The Jazz will play three of their first four games away from Salt Lake City and split four meetings with the Lakers a season ago. LA is 12-5 in the previous 17 meetings in this series with Utah, which has lost nine of 10 and 17 of its last 20 contests at the Lakers.