Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had the easiest road to defending their NBA title this postseason. After a tough Western Conference first round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the No. 1 seed Lakers are now battling with the young star Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz.
But even after Williams nearly recorded a double-double of 15 points and nine assists, the Jazz couldn’t stop Los Angeles from winning, 111-103, in Game 2 of the second round matchup on May 4. Lakers now lead the series, 2-0.
Besides Williams, Jazz reserve forward Paul Milsap also had a stellar performance, scoring 26 with 11 rebounds. He was followed by star forward Carlos Boozer, who scored 20 points with 12 rebounds. C.J. Miles also added 20 points.
But the Lakers were simply too good to beat Monday night, with five players scoring double-digits in points, including Bryant, who led the game with 30 points with eight assists. Pau Gasol followed Bryant with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Andrew Bynum added 17 points and 14 rebounds. Ron Artest contributed 16 points, while Lamar Odom scored 11 points with 15 rebounds.
“They played extremely, extremely well,” Bryant told reporters of the big men on his team. “Pau and Andrew, their work on the boards tonight was sensational. Lamar coming off the bench with 15 rebounds was just incredible. We really did a great job, and aside from scoring, the big fellas, obviously rebounding and controlling the paint.”
Utah’s Boozer told the media that his teammates also played well and won’t stress too much over falling in a two-game hole.
“We’re not going to be frustrated,” Boozer said. “We’re not going to get demoralized. We’re not going to back down. We’re going to keep fighting, keep attacking and stay aggressive.”
Game 3 of the Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers series will air Saturday night, May 8, on ABC.