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Lakers win 25th straight home victory

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Phil Jackson wanted a timeout, and tried to
inform his players. Fortunately, Devean George didn't hear his
coach.

George made a 3-pointer with 24.3 seconds remaining Sunday
night, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers to a 94-92 victory over the
Utah Jazz.

George connected after the Jazz, who trailed by 21 points in the
third quarter, went ahead for the second time in the last minute on
a jumper by Mo Williams.

After George's game-winning shot, Williams and Raja Bell missed
outside jumpers that could have forged a tie. Shaquille O'Neal
rebounded Bell's miss and dribbled out the clock.

"That was Rob -- call me Rob, a young Rob," George said,
referring to former teammate Robert Horry, known for his
last-second heroics.

George hoisted his game-winner from the right corner -- not far
from the Lakers' bench. But with the crowd screaming, he didn't
hear Jackson's plea.

"I didn't see what I wanted to have happen on that last play,"
Jackson said in explaining why he wanted to call time. "At least I
didn't think it was going to happen.

"I told him, 'Call timeout,' but he didn't hear me. The shot
went in anyway. So it was a good timeout that I called."

O'Neal had 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists and Kobe
Bryant also had 19 points for the Lakers although he shot just
4-of-17. George added 16 points and Slava Medvedenko and Gary
Payton each scored 15.

"We relaxed," George said. "They fought back from 20 down --
they just kept playing. It's real tough to regain momentum."

Williams scored 12 of his career-high 16 points in the fourth
quarter. DeShawn Stevenson added 13 points and Sasha Pavlovic
scored 12 for the Jazz.

Utah coach Jerry Sloan played five reserves throughout the final
period including three rookies -- Williams, Pavlovic and Ben
Handlogten.

The trio combined for 26 points in the fourth quarter as the
Jazz outscored the Lakers 32-20.

It wasn't quite enough.

"They got us back in the ballgame a little bit," Sloan said of
his reserves. "It's sad we couldn't get our guys to play hard for
three quarters. We were basically afraid of them."

Until the final period, anyway.

The Lakers (17-3) played without former Utah star Karl Malone,
suspended for one game by the NBA for elbowing Dallas guard Steve
Nash in the head Thursday night.

Malone, the NBA's second-leading career scorer, has missed only
11 games in his 19-year career -- six due to injuries or illness and
five because of suspensions.

The win was the ninth straight for the Lakers and their 26th
consecutive regular-season victory at home including 11 this
season.

But it certainly didn't come easy.

The loss was just the fourth in 11 games for Utah (11-8), which
fell to 1-7 on the road.

Pavlovic made two free throws with 7:52 remaining to cap a 10-2
run, cutting the Lakers' lead to 78-73.

The Lakers extended their lead to nine points, but again the
Jazz battled back, and a tip-in by Handlogten with 55.3 seconds
left capped a 7-0 run and gave the Jazz a 90-89 lead.

O'Neal made two free throws, but Williams made a jumper with
36.5 seconds remaining to put the Jazz back on top. George followed
that up with his game-winner.

A 3-pointer by George and a jumper by Medvedenko extended the
Lakers' lead to 61-40 with 7:06 left in the third quarter.

At that point, the Jazz began creeping back into contention, and
it was 74-60 entering the final period.

Payton made three baskets and assisted on two dunks by O'Neal as
the Lakers outscored the Jazz 12-1 to finish the second quarter for
a 47-32 halftime lead.

Game notes
Malone is scheduled to face the Jazz for the first time
Jan. 24 in Salt Lake City. He spent 18 seasons with Utah before
joining the Lakers as a free agent last summer. ... O'Neal and
Payton both wore Malone's No. 11 jersey during the playing of the
national anthem. ... Jackson made his feelings clear on Malone's
suspension. "Karl's played a zillion games. Anybody who's watched
him play knows he's going to protect the basketball," Jackson
said. "Karl said it right -- if he wanted to really get (Nash), he
would have really gotten him. It wasn't an elbowing foul, he didn't
throw the elbow. He protected." ... The Lakers are the only NBA
team with an unbeaten record at home. Utah is 10-1 at the Delta
Center. ... Carlos Arroyo, Utah's third-leading scorer, missed his
sixth game due to a sprained left ankle.

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