Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 1/26/13
Kobe Bryant is one of the most accomplished scorers in NBA history but his teammates certainly seemed pleased at his effort on Friday night to share the ball against the Utah Jazz. Bryant notched 14 assists along with 14 points. He finished one rebound short of a triple-double. "I tried to make a real concerted effort to force the game upon my teammates a little bit and just have them play with confidence," said Bryant. "Even the shots that are not going in, just try to push it on them a little bit." The Lakers have been falling apart game-after-game. Their 102-84 win over the Jazz was a step in the right direction. "Their backs are up against the wall," said Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin. "They were just more aggressive." Pau Gasol scored 15 points on 7-8 shooting. "Kobe's being able to share the ball like this tonight, he gets everyone involved," said Gasol. "He is going to get his looks and he's just giving up balance that we need offensively." Forward Earl Clark noticed Bryant's contribution. "When he decides he's going to get assists and find other players, it gets us in our rhythm, gets us ready to shoot, and today guys were knocking down shots and it was a great win," said Clark. Steve Nash was effusive. "I thought Kobe was brilliant," said Nash. "He was looking to get into spots where he could draw a crowd and find his teammates. It shows how talented and capable he is. If we can get that type of balance from our team we could be pretty good." Even the Jazz recognized how difficult it was to play against Bryant as facilitator. "He had 14 assists tonight and he's only had 12 assists in the last 20 games," exaggerated Al Jefferson (Bryant had 13 over the three previous games). "When he's moving the ball like that, the way they he did tonight, it just gives everybody a chance to get in a great groove. They became a difficult team to stop." Bryant said he was trying to make sure Dwight Howard got plenty of offensive opportunities. "I was trying to look for Dwight as much as I can," said Bryant. "Try to get him in rhythm and try to manipulate the defense a little bit to get him into position to be successful." Howard didn't want to say much about his dynamic with Bryant. He danced around the issue, but it was clear that he prefers a more-balanced team attack. The Lakers have many problems this season but when led by Bryant as a willing passer, the team becomes something more than the 18-25 squad that has struggled through most of the season. -Eric Pincus
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rockies-Diamondbacks game included a broken-bat homer and the longest homer of 2017

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

Albert Pujols mocks Rangers pitcher after beef

Top 10 takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft

Mitchell Trubisky booed at Celtics-Bulls game, for some reason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Larry Bird's sudden exit adds to uncertainty surrounding Paul George, Pacers

Nationals Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas talks trash about Bulls on court during Game 6

Jets WR Devin Smith to miss all of 2017 with torn ACL

WATCH: Seahawks use scuba diver to announce 2017 NFL Draft pick

Marshawn Lynch takes out full-page ad in newspaper to thank Seahawks fans

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker