Reserve Enes Kanter scored eight of his 14 points during a decisive fourth-quarter run and had 14 rebounds, leading the Utah Jazz to a 99-86 exhibition victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.
Williams, whom the Jazz acquired in a trade that sent Devin Harris to the Atlanta Hawks, also had 14 points for Utah (2-1). Mo Williams, replacing Harris as the starting point guard after the Jazz acquired him from the Clippers in another four-team trade last June, missed seven of eight shots and had seven points in 21 minutes with two assists.
After playing their first two exhibition games way off-Broadway in Fresno and Ontario, Calif. — and losing both by a combined margin of 45 points — the Lakers (0-3) returned to Staples Center for the first time since their 103-100 loss to Oklahoma City on May 19 in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Kobe Bryant, who sat out Wednesday's loss against Portland because of a right shoulder strain, had 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 24 minutes.
Center Dwight Howard, who was cleared Tuesday for limited five-on-five full-court scrimmages with contact after undergoing back surgery last April to repair a herniated disc in his back, has yet to see his first action with the Lakers since he was acquired in a four-team trade that sent Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia in July.
Two-time MVP Steve Nash, making his home debut before the Staples Center crowd after 16 seasons years of tormenting the Lakers with Dallas and Phoenix, played 23 minutes and finished with two points and five assists. Canadian-born rookie Robert Sacre, a second-round draft pick out of Gonzaga, had nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in his second start before fouling out with 10:22 left in the game.
Lakers coach Mike Brown and Utah counterpart Tyrone Corbin, continuing to experiment with different combinations, sat their regulars the entire fourth quarter — which began tied at 69-all after the Lakers led by as many as 13 points early in the third. Utah went on a 16-4 run after Lakers rookie Greg Somogyi replaced Sacre in the pivot, and the Jazz capped the rally on 3-pointer by Jamaal Tinsley and a dunk by Jeremy Evans for an 87-74 lead with 6:01 to play.
Bryant scored 11 of his 17 first-half points on free throws to help the Lakers take a 46-35 lead at intermission. Darius Morris, who is battling Steve Blake and Chris Duhon for the second point-guard spot behind Nash, had two points and four assists in 19 minutes.
NOTES: The Lakers have ended the practice of hosting four-team preseason doubleheaders on back-to-back nights, a decades-long tradition that goes back to the days when their home was the Inglewood Forum. So the "Staples Shootout" has now gone the way of short-shorts, the triangle offense, and Smush Parker. ... Also missing from the Lakers' lineup was backup C Jordan Hill, who was diagnosed with a herniated disc following the game against Golden State. ... Jazz backup point guard Earl Watson, recovering from surgery on his right knee in April, participated in basketball drills for the first time during the pregame shootaround. The former UCLA star dressed for the game, but did not play. ... Jazz power forward Paul Millsap missed his second straight game while in Atlanta to attend his grandmother's funeral.