Bryant scored 11 of his 31 points in the final four minutes, and the Lakers blew a fourth-quarter lead before rallying for a 104-99 victory Sunday.
This marked the 15th consecutive victory for the Lakers over the Jazz at Staples Center, including seven straight playoff victories.
“It was tough,” Kobe Bryant said. “But when it got really tough for me, I just checked myself in.”
Bynum while playing through his injuries produced eight points and those 10 boards, a welcome contribution for the Lakers since the 7-footer had been listed as “questionable” with a slight tear in the meniscus of his right knee suffered in Game 6 in OKC.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” said Bryant. “He’s playing through injury, and sometimes you have to do that. That’s how you grow.”
Last season’s NBA Finals MVP coolly scored seven consecutive points to erase Utah’s four-point lead, followed by a dynamic slice through the lane for a layup with 22.6 seconds left. Los Angeles also did it with defense, holding the Jazz to one field goal in the final 4:10.
“We put ourselves in a little bit of a hole and let them gain all the momentum,” Bryant said. “At that point, you’ve just got to buckle down.”
Pau Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds.
“We want to make sure we work and we put more effort into keeping leads and building on leads and stretching the games out,” Gasol said. “It’s always a little bit frustrating when you lose leads and you’re on the bench and you can’t do anything. It happens hopefully not very often, but we got stagnant. Guys weren’t sharp out there.”
Los Angeles will host Game 2 of the best-of-seven series Tuesday night.