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Bryant's surge snuffs Jazz

Lakers 30 23 28 23 104
Jazz 23 22 28 26 99
Lakers lead series 1-0

LOS ANGELES — Just in case the Jazz forgot how Kobe Bryant finishes games, he provided another painful playoff reminder.

Bryant scored 11 of his 31 in the final four minutes, and the Lakers blew a fourth-quarter lead before rallying for a 104-99 victory Sunday in their West semifinal series opener.

Pau Gasol had 25 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Lakers, whose backups were nearly run off the court by the fired-up Jazz before Bryant took over.

Last season's NBA Finals MVP coolly scored seven consecutive points to erase Utah's four-point lead, followed by a slice through the lane for a layup with 22.6 seconds left. Los Angeles also held the Jazz to one field goal in the final 4 minutes, 10 seconds.

"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."

Deron Williams scored 24 for Utah, which went 3:51 without a field goal after taking a 93-89 lead. Utah has lost 15 straight to the Lakers at Staples Center, including seven playoff games.

"We got a little rattled coming down the stretch — put up some shots, they just didn't fall," said Utah's Paul Millsap, who scored 16. "We're not playing to get close. We're playing to win the game."

UTAH (99): Miles 4-12 7-8 16, Boozer 9-17 0-0 18, Fesenko 1-2 0-0 2, Williams 7-15 8-10 24, Matthews 5-12 2-2 14, Millsap 8-18 0-0 16, Korver 3-5 1-1 7, Koufos 0-1 0-0 0, Price 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 38-85 18-21 99.

L.A. LAKERS (104): Artest 4-9 0-0 8, Gasol 9-15 7-7 25, Bynum 4-8 0-0 8, Fisher 4-7 2-4 10, Bryant 12-19 7-7 31, Odom 4-10 0-1 9, Brown 1-5 2-4 4, Walton 2-2 2-4 7, Farmar 1-2 0-0 2, Powell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-77 20-27 104.

3-Point GoalsUtah 5-18 (Matthews 2-4, Williams 2-5, Miles 1-5, Korver 0-1, Millsap 0-1, Price 0-2), Lakers 2-12 (Walton 1-1, Odom 1-4, Farmar 0-1, Fisher 0-1, Bryant 0-2, Artest 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsUtah 47 (Boozer 12), Lakers 46 (Odom, Gasol 12). AssistsUtah 24 (Williams 8), L.A. Lakers 18 (Gasol, Bryant 4). Total FoulsUtah 26, L.A. Lakers 20. TechsBoozer, Lakers defensive three second. A18,997.

Hawks finally advance

ATLANTA — After keeping their season alive with a gutty win in Milwaukee, the Hawks made sure the Bucks were in no position to duplicate their improbable Game 5 road win again on Sunday.

Playoff rookie Jamal Crawford scored 22, former Gator Al Horford put up a double double and Atlanta pulled away for a 95-74 win that gave the Hawks a 4-3 triumph in the tougher-than-expected East first-round series.

"It's been a good season," Horford said, "but there's more to this team than just this."

On Wednesday, the favored Hawks squandered a nine-point lead in the final four minutes.

They played at a higher level Sunday, but the Hawks can only hope they didn't expend too much energy. Third-seeded Atlanta faces No. 2 Orlando in the East semifinals starting Tuesday. The Magic beat the Hawks in three out of four regular-season meetings and have been resting since a sweep of Charlotte.

"We've got to be more hungry and determined to get over the hump," Joe Johnson said. "We can't just beat this team based on talent. We've got to play harder."

The Bucks made less than a third of their shots (28-of-86), were blocked eight times and, clearly rattled, threw up at least three airballs.

"We going to Disney World," the arena announcer screamed to the sellout crowd of 19,241.

Hawks 20 33 20 22 95
Bucks 13 27 20 14 74
Hawks win series 4-3

MILWAUKEE (74): Delfino 1-8 0-0 3, Mbah a Moute 5-9 3-4 13, Thomas 3-7 0-0 6, Jennings 6-18 2-4 15, Salmons 5-18 0-0 11, Stackhouse 0-3 0-0 0, Ilyasova 4-11 5-5 13, Ridnour 1-5 3-4 6, Gadzuric 0-0 0-0 0, Brezec 2-4 1-2 5, Ivey 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 28-86 14-19 74.

ATLANTA (95): Williams 2-7 4-4 8, Jos.Smith 5-7 4-5 15, Horford 6-8 4-6 16, Bibby 6-12 0-0 15, Johnson 4-14 0-0 8, Pachulia 3-6 1-2 7, Crawford 8-16 4-4 22, West 1-1 0-0 2, Evans 0-1 0-0 0, Teague 0-2 0-0 0, Collins 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 36-76 17-21 95.

3-Point GoalsMil. 4-19 (Ridnour 1-2, Delfino 1-4, Jennings 1-4, Salmons 1-5, Stackhouse 0-1, Ivey 0-1, Ilyasova 0-2), Atlanta 6-16 (Bibby 3-5, Crawford 2-7, Jos.Smith 1-1, Evans 0-1, Johnson 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMil. 44 (Ilyasova 11), Atlanta 63 (Horford 15). AssistsMil. 15 (Jennings 5), Atlanta 21 (Crawford 6). Total FoulsMil. 20, Atlanta 21. A19,241.

Karl hospitalized: Nuggets coach George Karl was rushed to a hospital Friday after another blood clot developed in his right leg, his partner, Kim Van Deraa, wrote on her blog. Karl, 58, is recovering from radiation and chemotherapy treatment for throat and neck cancer. Doctors are trying to determine the cause of the clot because Karl already is on blood-thinning medication.

James' MVP: Cavs star LeBron James accepted the MVP, the 10th player to win the award in back-to-back seasons. He received 116 of a possible 123 first-place votes from a panel of writers and broadcasters for 1,205 points. Thunder forward Kevin Durant was first on four ballots and finished second (609). James' 596-point margin of victory is the second largest (Shaquille O'Neal, 799, 2000). Magic center Dwight Howard, who was fourth, took the other three first-place votes. Lakers star Kobe Bryant finished third. James averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists. He was the only player to rank in the league's top 10 in scoring (second), assists (sixth) and steals (ninth)

Bryant's surge snuffs Jazz 05/02/10 [Last modified: Sunday, May 2, 2010 9:44pm]
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