NBA: Lakers complete sweep over Jazz
By DOUG ALDEN
AP Sports Writer
SALT LAKE CITY — Kobe Bryant scored 32 points, Pau Gasol added 33 points and 14 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers completed a four-game sweep of the Utah Jazz with a 111-96 victory on Monday night, advancing to the Western Conference finals for the third straight year.
The Lakers quickly ended the Jazz's hopes of extending the series by pulling ahead by 22 in the second quarter. Utah got within five in the third, but couldn't sustain the comeback against the defending NBA champions, who made very few mistakes and didn't give the Jazz many chances to rally.
Los Angeles had just six turnovers and made 29-of-36 foul shots while knocking Utah out of the playoffs for the third straight year. The Lakers are off until hosting the Phoenix Suns next Monday in Game 1 of the West finals.
Deron Williams led Utah with 21 points and nine assists.
Carlos Boozer had 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Kyrylo Fesenko added 12 rebounds for Utah, which was swept for the first time in 21 years.
The Jazz lost the first three games by single digits but never found a way to slow down Bryant, who scored 30 or more in all four games. The Lakers finally got a blowout in the final game and by doing so earned a week of rest.
Shannon Brown scored 12 and Lamar Odom added 10 points for the Lakers.
C.J. Miles scored 15, Wesley Matthews had 12 and Paul Millsap scored 21 off the bench.
Utah fans started leaving early and the small contingent wearing gold Lakers' jerseys chanted "Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!" The Jazz hadn't been swept since Golden State knocked them out 3-0 in the first round of the 1989 playoffs.
After a dreadful second quarter, the Jazz came out in the third and made it close for at least a little while. Utah opened the third with an 11-2 run to get back within range, then cut the lead to 70-65 on a layup by Boozer. But the Lakers withstood the push and finished the period on a 10-2 run and led 80-67 entering the fourth.
Derek Fisher, who finished with 10 points, opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer, then drew a foul by Williams behind the arc and made all three foul shots to put the Lakers back up 86-69. Los Angeles led by at least 10 the rest of the way.
The Lakers took control early and showed they were intent on finishing the series in Utah rather than having to go home for Game 5. The Lakers discouraged Utah from trying to get inside with some early blocks, and once the Jazz stopped trying, Los Angeles began to pull away.
Shannon Brown leaped for dunks at the end of the first and start of the second during an 8-0 run, then the Lakers added seven straight points later in the period while building a 22-point lead. The Lakers outscored the Jazz 29-17 in the period and Utah grew more dejected with every empty possession.
NOTES: Gasol came up just short of his career high of 36 points in the playoffs. ... The Lakers were 12 for 23 in the paint in the first quarter and outscored the Jazz in the paint 18-14. ... The Jazz outdid the taller Lakers in blocks 8-5. ... The Jazz went 18 for 27 from the foul line.