Three thousand miles away, the Lakers were also lucky to stay on serve, with a closer-than-the-score-indicated 111 to 104 win over Utah.
While the Lakers have no doubt about who their crunch-time go-to guy is (one of the major flaws with the Celtic team built by NBA Executive of the Year Danny Ainge), they survived despite no field goals from Kobe during the fourth quarter. Instead, Bryant (who rested for the first few minutes of the fourth), was content to distribute the ball to teammates and they -- led by Jordan Farmar's driving 3-point play to push the lead from +1 to +4, and Pau Gausol -- did the rest. (Bryant did ice the game with 3 of 4 FTs in the last 10 seconds, but as important he did not force any shots during the 4th. His confidence in his teammates is noticeable.)
For Utah, who has not yet won at Staples this year, it was a crushing defeat. They now return home, hoping to get one more chance at the Lakers on Sunday.