The McTen: Salt Lake Mistakes

Here are your 10 additional things to take away from the Lakers' 102-96 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday ...


On a night when the best record in the NBA was up for grabs after the Spurs lost to the Mavericks, the Lakers squandered a five-point lead with less than three minutes remaining to put win No. 14 on hold.

There were two plays that really did the Lakers in down the stretch:

1:05 remaining, tied 96-96: During a stoppage of play because of a clock malfunction (more on that later), Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol worked up a play that would have Bryant feed Gasol the ball then run off the Spaniard as Gasol fakes a hand-off and rolled to the basket with the defense focused on a cutting Bryant.

What actually happened was the two All-Stars messed up their spacing, Bryant threw a pass that Deron Williams picked off and fed to Raja Bell for a fastbreak layup to give Utah the lead for good with 1:03 left in the fourth.

"It was just a miscommunication," Bryant explained. "We had something drawn up. It was a miscommunication between myself and Pau."

Gasol put the blame on himself.

"It wasn’t a miscommunication; I just made the wrong decision," Gasol said. "We talked about something in the timeout and I decided to do something different in the play. He wasn’t expecting it and so that’s why he turned the ball over."

52.9 seconds remaining, Jazz up 98-96: Bryant found a wide-open Ron Artest in the right corner beyond the arc and hopes he would shoot it. Instead, Artest dribbled into the teeth of the defense and missed an off-balance midrange jumper.

"I was open [in the corner] but I felt good coming off the dribble," Artest said. "I can’t really say nothing about it. I don’t really know what to say about it. Just go on to the next one."

On the Lakers ensuing possession, Artest received the ball from Bryant while he was camped out in the opposite corner and this time wisely took the 3-pointer that was given to him but it rimmed out with 31.9 seconds left.

"I gave him another crack at it and it just didn’t go down," Bryant said.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson put the blame on Artest's shot selection.

"The 3-pointer I was OK with," Jackson said. "The one he dribbled across the lane and took a shot, I don’t think that’s really what we want at that time. We got to back inside at that time."


The Lakers jumped out to a 19-point lead in the second quarter before allowing the Jazz to climb back into it. It was something that Jackson warned about at shootaround earlier in the day.

"I always tell players, don’t get too far ahead against a Utah team or Jerry [Sloan]’s going to wrap them up here in this arena," Jackson said in the afternoon. "He’s going to get the fans, including the referees involved in this. So, be very careful in what you ask for."

After the game he was reminded about his foreboding.

"You saw what happens; the madness that they play under," Jackson said. "They just go mad. [Ronnie] Price made a dunk, the crowd went wild, the energy started to build in the building and when that happens, you can get a landslide, an avalanche, out here."


The Lakers bench, which has been such a strength all season struggled mightily against Utah as it was outscored 20-13. If you were grading the game at home, the Killer B's should have received Killer D's for their performance. Steve Blake was 0-for-7, Shannon Brown was 2-for-8 and Matt Barnes was 3-for-6, but missed his last three shots.

Jackson basically said, "these things happen," when it comes to playing away from home.

"There’ll be some tough times on the road," Jackson said. "The road’s not always easy out there.

"Brownie had a thing going to the basket in the first quarter and missed a little one. Little things like that happen. Steve had a couple shots go down and come out. That will happen. We’ll have to cover for them in the first unit sometimes on the road."


Here's that story about the clock malfunctions. Jackson was not pleased to say the least.


The Lakers had some interest in signing Bell this past offseason, spurred by Bryant's recruitment of his former enemy during those Los Angeles vs. Phoenix playoff series.

"Obviously to have an opportunity to go to L.A. and play, it would have been, it was, great because coming off a championship and not really losing much, you’d have to consider them to be the favorites again," Bell said, looking back on his decision. "I thought about that a lot, but circumstances kind of presented themselves [with Utah] and I played here before. I was familiar with Jerry [Sloan]. I was familiar with the staff and system; I had never really played in the triangle. Plus, I think the Lakers only had $1.7 million or so and you were talking about a discrepancy of a couple million bucks a year and when you throw all that in a pot, it kind of made more sense for me to come back here than to go to L.A."

Bell signed a three-year/$10 million deal with the Jazz.

Before Bell signed, he was set to sit down with Bryant over dinner to discuss the possibility of joining the team but had to cancel at the last minute.

"Literally an hour before I was supposed to go to dinner with him, all the action for me started," Bell said.

The 11-year veteran could not point to a specific tipping point when he and Bryant transitioned from adversaries to amicable.

"It just kind of evolved to a more of a respect thing than it was before," Bell said. "I always said at the time I was pretty heated. That was genuine; it was coming from my heart, but reflecting on it, you had two guys out there whose jobs were complete polar opposites from one another. I know he’s the ultimate competitor, but that’s the only way I can respond in this league is to compete."

While they might not play on the same team, Bell still has a link to Bryant as he wears his signature sneaker.

"They’re comfortable," Bell said. "I’ve gotten a lot of interest in that [decision to wear them] but it doesn’t hold much more than they’re really just comfortable."


Before the game Andrew Bynum went through a comprehensive workout with the help of assistant coaches Brian Shaw and Chuck Person, as well as Blake lending a hand.

The 7-footer worked on post moves with Shaw on his back, alternating between spinning baseline towards the rim and turning into the lane to shoot baby hooks. He also practiced the two-man, inside-outside game with Blake, receiving entry passes from the wing as well as coming up from the paint to work on pick-and-pop plays.

Bynum shot midrange attempts from the foul line extended as well as the short corner, but took the shots flat-footed rather than jumping as his right knee continues to recover from off-season surgery. There was a step forward in his recovery however as Bynum completed some lateral movement -- sliding horizontally across the court after setting picks for Blake and moving to the open space.

“He’s moving a lot better than he did last week," Person said. "He’s got more spring in his step and he’s jumping better.”


For just the second time in the history of the Thanksgiving day event, the 'Foons (big men) beat the Fairies (guards) in Jackson's annual "Turkey Trot" practice.

The winning team was comprised of Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, rookies Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter and Artest (who was the leading scorer). The big men held off the guard group of Sasha Vujacic, Derek Fisher, Brown, Blake and Barnes by seven to 11 points all game (according to Caracter) before winning by three.

"Well the 'Foons man, we were just trying to make history and we did it," Caracter said. "They talked about how they smacked the bigs last year."

The game, which featured a 20-minute running clock, was officiated by Lakers trainers Marco Nunez and Chip Schaefer who swallowed their whistles, giving the big men an edge.

"All 10 players hated me after the game," Schaefer joked. "That's how I know I did a good job."

"It was kind of a little bit like a rugby game out there for awhile," said Jackson with a smile.

Sloan had the line of the night about the game: "What, did they play outdoors? That's where turkeys live."


More from before the game: Jackson's latest (and seemingly last) comments about the Miami Heat's coaching situation.


Quotes of the night: "You can take the softest player in the league and put him on the Jazz and he’s going to turn into a tough guy. That’s just how [Jerry] Sloan teaches them." -- Kobe Bryant on Utah's bruising style of play.

"We have about 65 of them in the summer time." -- Lakers coach Phil Jackson on whether or not he minded having to work on holidays. The Lakers practiced on Thanksgiving and play the Miami Heat on Christmas.


Stats of the night: The Lakers came into Friday 1st in the NBA averaging 46.27 boards per game, the Jazz came in 25th at 40.06 rebounds per game but Utah controlled the glass 42-38 ... L.A. started the game 1-for-11 on 3-pointers until Bryant went 3-for-3 in the fourth quarter ... The Jazz as a team went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to cut an 18-point deficit to seven; Bryant went on a personal 14-6 run in the fourth to turn a three-point deficit into a five-point lead.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.