Lakers dominate Jazz for 2-0 lead in series
LOS ANGELES — Carlos Boozer drove the lane, and his shot was disdainfully blocked by Lamar Odom. The Utah forward grabbed the ball to try another — and Pau Gasol took a turn swatting it.
Although Boozer is not a small man, the Los Angeles Lakers are taller, thicker, just plain bigger — and that could be an insurmountable problem for the Utah Jazz in this second-round playoff series.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, Gasol added 22 points and 15 rebounds, and the Lakers pounded the ball down low in a 111-103 victory over the Jazz last night, taking a 2-0 series lead.
Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who ruthlessly exploited their twin 7-foot starters' height advantage, along with the 6-foot-10 Odom's presence off the bench.
With 64 points in the paint, a 58-40 rebounding advantage and 13 blocked shots, the Lakers maintained a medium-sized lead throughout the second half of a disjointed, foul-choked game that lasted over 2 1/2 hours.
"They played extremely, extremely well," Bryant said of his big men. "Pau and Andrew, their work on the boards tonight was sensational. Lamar coming off the bench with 15 rebounds was just incredible."
The Lakers didn't mind skipping showtime for a steady win that put them halfway to their third straight trip to the Western Conference finals. Los Angeles is 40-1 in franchise history after winning the first two games of a seven-game series.
"We're not going to be frustrated," said Boozer, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds. "We're not going to get demoralized. We're not going to back down. We're going to keep fighting, keep attacking and stay aggressive."
MAGIC 114, HAWKS 71
ORLANDO, Fla. — Stan Van Gundy turned to his assistant coaches on the Orlando Magic bench, unsure what to do with star Dwight Howard finally avoiding foul trouble and his team on its way to a blowout victory.
"Should I give Dwight a rest?" Van Gundy asked. "They said, 'No. Just let it ride.' "
Howard had 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Magic routed the Atlanta Hawks last night in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Howard added five blocks and avoided the fouls and frustration that overwhelmed him in the first round, helping the Magic go ahead by as many as 46 points. Vince Carter finished with 20 points as Orlando showed no signs of rust after an eight-day layoff since sweeping Charlotte.
"I still played about the same amount of minutes," Howard said, chuckling, because he wasn't needed much in the fourth. "The first round is over with."
Josh Smith scored 14 points and Zaza Pachulia had 12 points for a Hawks team that had little playoff poise. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is tomorrow night in Orlando.
"It's embarrassing," Hawks point guard Mike Bibby said. "They embarrassed us."