Kobe reacts after the ball slips out of is hands.

words // Nick Engvall

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers have been on a tear since the All-Star break. After “struggling” as much as the defending champs can throughout the first half of the season, the Lakers play had them thinking about the top spot in the Western Conference and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

With only the San Antonio Spurs ahead of them Tuesday, the Lakers looked to pull closer to the top spot against the Utah Jazz. However, it was former Butler Bulldogs star Gordon Hayward who had the best game of his NBA career, and essentially put the top spot out of reach for the Lakers.

Gordon finished with 22 points, including the go-ahead free throw with just six seconds remaining. Uncharacteristically, Kobe Bryant’s typical last second-heroics literally slippped right out of his hands as time expired. With the Lakers three and a half games behind the Spurs, it looks like Los Angeles will have to win their third consecutive title without having home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Check out the latest Sneaker Watch coverage with images courtesy of ESPN.

Sneaker Watch: A look at what sneakers the pros wear.

Brandon Jennings in the UA Micro G Black Ice.Brandon Jennings in the UA Micro G Black Ice.

DeJuan Blair in the Cool Grey Jordan Retro 11.DeJuan Blair in the Cool Grey Jordan Retro 11.

Jameer Nelson in the Reebok Zig Slash.Jameer Nelson in the Reebok Zig Slash.

Derrick Rose in the adidas adiZero Rose 1.5.Derrick Rose in the adidas adiZero Rose 1.5.

Marcus Thornton shoots a jumper in the Nike Air Max Penny.Marcus Thornton shoots a jumper in the Nike Air Max Penny.

Rajon Rondo in the Nike Air Max 360 BB Low.Rajon Rondo in the Nike Air Max 360 BB Low.

Nene one of the many players to "go green" wearing the adidas adiPURE.Nene, one of the many players to “go green,” wearing the adidas adiPURE.

John Wall dunks in the Reebok Zig Slash.John Wall dunks in the Reebok Zig Slash.

Brook Lopez goes up for a dunk in the adidas adiPURE PE.Brook Lopez goes up for a dunk in the adidas adiPURE PE.

Steph Curry lays it in wearing his PE Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.Steph Curry lays it in wearing his PE Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.

Kobe Bryant in the Zoom Kobe VI.Kobe Bryant in the Zoom Kobe VI.

Gordon Hayward wearing Peak sneakers.Gordon Hayward wearing Peak sneakers.