Rodney Hood makes Utah Jazz history with first-half performance against the L.A. Lakers

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Kobe Bryant played his final game in Salt Lake City on Monday night, but there was no special dispensation from the home team as the Utah Jazz put the L.A. Lakers to the sword.

The 123-75 result was the worst defeat in Bryant's illustrious career and tied the record for the Los Angeles franchise's biggest reverse in history.

Bryant was limited to five points on the night and shot just one of 11 from the field as the Lakers fell to their 59th loss of the season. 

But it was a night to remember for sophomore shooting guard Rodney Hood, who wrote his name into Utah history with a stunning first half performance from three-point territory.

The 23-year-old ended the game with 30 points, all of them coming in the first half, with eight of his buckets from behind the arc. 

His performance in the opening two quarters broke the franchise record for threes in a half and tied Jeff Hornacek for successful shots from range in a single game. 

There was some recognition for Bryant in the second half as he took on the role of guarding Hood and stopped him from adding to his points tally, but the damage was already done. 

After a stunning video tribute for  the departing legend before tip-off, it was a night he would rather forget as it highlighted the number of issues facing the Lakers as they look to build in the post-Kobe era. 


But, for the Jazz, it was an emphatic win that did the world of good to their chances of reaching the playoffs for the first time in four years. 

With eight games remaining, the Salt Lake City organisation are seventh in the Western Conference, a game ahead of the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks who occupy eight and ninth respectively. 

They are also one and a half games back from the Portland Trail Blazers in sixth position. 

Although, if they are to secure their place in the playoffs, they will have to do it the hard way with games against the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks still to come.

The match-up with the Mavericks could prove vital in their hopes of clinching a spot in the post-season. However, Dallas will have to improve on their recent form if they are to remain in contention. 

Dirk Nowitzki and Co. have won just three of their last 13 games and have fallen out of the top eight in the west as their playoff push falters. 

The Jazz also have the honour of being Kobe's final opponents in the NBA on April 13, but with playoff hopes potentially hanging in the balance, they will be ready for the role of party poopers. 

Northwest Division
Western Conference
Rodney Hood
Utah Jazz
LA Lakers
Pacific Division

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