- GAME HIGHLIGHTS
- GAME RECAP
- COACH PREVIEW
- GAME PREVIEW
- SCOUTING REPORT
- INJURY REPORT
- GAME NOTES
Lakers complete sweep over Jazz
By DOUG ALDEN
SALT LAKE CITY(AP) 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.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
3 Straight trips to the Western Conference Finals for the Lakers, thanks to a 4-2 series win over Oklahoma City and 4-0 sweep of Utah.
5 Straight games of at least 30 points for Kobe Bryant, who scored 32 against the Jazz on 11-of-23 shooting alongside four assists and three boards.
6 Straight wins for the Lakers, from Game 5 against Oklahoma City onward.
6 Turnovers for the Lakers in an impressive display of ball control. They turned Utah over 13 times, meanwhile.
33 Season-high point total for Pau Gasol, who was terrific throughout in making 12-of-18 shots not to mention a game-high tying 14 rebounds (Carlos Boozer) and two blocks.
Mike Trudell, Lakers.com
Lakers’ Coach Phil Jackson on Utah:
“As always I usually want to spend a little time talking about Utah and the great year they have had.
Losing Okur and some injuries they have had (Kirilenko, ect…). It changed up their season but they had
a really good year. Played great ball the last half of the season for sure.”
On the game:
“We had one of our better games tonight. They came out the third quarter and got into it. I was a little
disappointed on how we handled it but we recovered and came back at the end of that quarter and kind
of you know were able to finish the game the right way.”
On Pau and Kobe:
“Pau had a really terrific game. Kobe was persistent, aggressive and stayed how he is in the course of
the second half to carry this lead.”
On their adjustments:
“Well we just talked about how they were pushing the ball down our throat. They really came out and just
attacked us. One of the best features about t hem is Williams attacking us and if he wasn’t getting to the
basket and getting a foul he is making plays for other guys inside. We just said we have to lull the ball off
and stop it. We got a couple of stops and that changed the tide.”
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on the Lakers play from the end of the season into the postseason:
“We just got better. We just continued to work. We improved as a ball club.”
On what he said to Wesley Matthews:
“I just told him way to battle. I enjoy seeing players who seemingly come from nowhere, guys who are
undrafted. They have to work for everything they get. I have a great sense of appreciation for players like
On whether or not it feels like a sweep:
“Any time you play a Sloan team you are going to feel it after every game. Physically you are going to
feel it. His teams compete, they play hard and they are physical. (So) in that regard no.”
On the Phoenix Suns:
“We are very familiar with them as well. The difference with how they played when we met them in the
regular season and how they play now, I think, is just confidence. They believe in what they are doing.
Obviously things became a little more stable after the trade deadline with what Amare has been doing.
They want it. They are very, very hungry.”
Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on the sweep:
“It’s the first sweep that I’ve been a part of and it just feels good. Get that team (Jazz) out of here, focus,
and go onto the next one. Now we’ve got a week off, which is good for me.”
On how they are playing now vs. the end of the year:
“In playoff basketball we have another gear. I think we’re playing like that right now as a team.
Collectively we just picked it up. When we get to the playoffs we’re focused.”
Lakers’ Pau Gasol on his play tonight:
“I’m happy with the way I played tonight, but I’m more happy with the way we are playing. I think we are
doing a really good job collectively, and we are improving as every game goes by and we are just getting
better and better. It’s really satisfying and I look forward to the next series. I look forward to a couple of
days of rest, but I really look forward to starting it up against a very good Phoenix team.”
Lakers’ Ron Artest on how they found energy up 3-0 in the series:
“We just played the same way we’ve been playing. I guess we’re improving a little bit. We just played
hard. We didn’t really focus on being up 3-0. We just moved on to the next game.”
On the upcoming Phoenix series:
“We played them this year and I think they’re better hour. So we’ve got to come with our “A” effort. We
have a whole week to prepare, so that’s great.”
Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan on the game:
“First of all, I’d like to congratulate the Lakers and Phil Jackson. They’re a terrific team and we had a
difficult time playing against them. We wish them nothing but the best. They have a great team.”
On how tough it was to be swept for the first time in franchise history:
“Well, it’s always that way at the end of the year, unless you win the championship. You end up on the
losing team, unless you win the championship, and we’ve never done that. It’s always very, very difficult,
but that’s the part of basketball that you hopefully can overcome and get ready to go again the next time.
That’s what you ask your players to do, and try to stay together and move on.”
On losing to the Lakers after upsetting the Nuggets:
“We knew they were a great team, and I don’t think anybody had us picked to beat them. But we came
out, and I thought we tried very hard to play against them, and that’s all you can do. You put your best
foot forward to try to play against them, and we had some good moments and some moments that
weren’t very good, but we’re playing a lot of young guys, and I think some of the experiences they got in
the playoffs should help their career advance and move forward. There has to be something positive out
of everything that happens in basketball.”
Utah Jazz Deron Williams on the game:
“Once we got down a little bit it was kind of like déjà vu for us. We were (already) down 3-0 and
then when you get down 10-12 points to this team (it’s tough). We came back in the second half
we tried to fight, which we are proud of, even though they still beat us by a good amount. We
put up a fight; they are just a better team.”
On the team’s future
“We’re a playoff team, just not a championship team. I think we still need a couple more pieces
and until we get those pieces we’ll be a four or five seed . . . it’s a challenge.”
Utah Jazz Carlos Boozer on the game:
“It was tough to sit there. I thought we were trying to battle back and get a win tonight. We just got beat
by a better team. I was disappointed in our effort. I didn’t play my best game and our team didn’t play its
best game of the series. It’s disappointing that we lost in that fashion.
“I expected us to win tonight and take it back to Los Angeles. We didn’t. We made a run. We are not
going to give up.”
Utah Jazz Paul Millsap on the game tonight:
“We are not going to make any excuses. We came in undersized with a few guys out starting the
playoffs. We got through adversity this season and we will take that as a plus and try to come back
strong next year.”
What can Jazz to do get better next year:
“Mature. Mature. We are just young on the court, not by age, but basketball wise. We got caught not
making basketball plays out there. We just need to go out there and execute and we caught ourselves
not doing that this series. We need to get better and learn the game more.”
On the series:
“They swept us, something that nobody expected to happen. We didn’t expect that to happen and I’m
sure they didn’t expect that to happen. They are good team.”
Utah Jazz Wesley Matthews on the Lakers:
“They are a great team, top to bottom. Kobe Bryant’s resume speaks for itself. He is going to get his. Ron
Artest had a great series, Fish had a great series, Pau Gasol had a great series.”
On the game:
“We wanted to go out and fight tonight, but we didn’t fight early enough.”
On playing in Utah
“I love it. They gave me a chance when nobody else did.”
Utah Jazz Kyle Korver on his hot shooting night:
“I got a couple of good looks early and found a little rhythm. The more shots you hit, the
tougher shots you’re looking to take. They kind of fell asleep a couple of times and I got a
couple of threes off it. It just wasn’t enough.”
On the inbounds’ steal with 4.4 second left in the game
“I saw (Ron) Artest looking at (Pau) Gasol. He saw an advantage in height on me obviously. I
figured the ball was going to go to him and tried to body him up. AK was all over Artest and I
was able to slide in front. It came right to me, but that’s ball pressure. That’s what happens
sometimes at the end of the game.”
On Andrei Kirilenko
“He brought a lot. Obviously, he gives us a huge lift. He played really well. He had a lot of
energy. Right away he had like four rebounds and a blocked shot. He can be a really big part
of the series.”
On the Lakers
“They have a great inside and outside game. You take away one and they go to the other.
Kobe made some big threes. He has shot the ball well the whole series. I would say their
inside game is better than their outside game. That’s what makes them so tough and that’s
what we tried to focus on.”
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—The Los Angeles Lakers may have learned something in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Don’t let the series go any longer than it has to.
The Lakers are a victory away from sweeping the Utah Jazz and want to lock up a third straight trip to the Western Conference finals as soon as possible. Game 4 is Monday night in Utah, where the Lakers edged the Jazz 111-110 on Saturday for a 3-0 series lead.
“You never know what can happen in a series. You extend a series, ankles can get turned, knuckles can get bruised, knowing there’s things like that …” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said Sunday.
The hypotheticals of bad things that could happen is long, something the Lakers learned when they took a 2-0 lead on Oklahoma City in the first round and needed six games to advance after the Thunder won two at home.
Bryant said the Lakers’ edge and attitude they had while winning the NBA title a year ago is back.
“We’re there. We’ve got it,” he said. “The competition from Oklahoma, probably. That’s probably what did it.”
The Jazz have pushed the Lakers in each of the first three games, but Los Angeles has held on to win all three by a total of 14 points. Saturday’s game was especially gut-wrenching for the Jazz, who had two shots bounce off the rim in the final seconds. Had either gone in, Utah would be looking to tie the series Monday instead of trying to avoid the team’s first sweep in a best-of-seven series.
“If we get the ball in the basket last night in the end of the ballgame it’s a different day,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “But that’s part of it. You learn how to deal with the good and bad in life. There’s always going to be both at different times.”
The Lakers have knocked the Jazz out of the last two playoffs, starting in 2008 with a 4-2 win in the second round. Last year it was 4-1, so 4-0 and a possible long break before the Western finals is sounding pretty good.
“They’re not going to quit,” said Lakers guard Derek Fisher, who played one season in Utah three years ago. “If we don’t beat them they’ll just continue to take it one game at a time and try and work their way back in the series.”
Fisher hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 28.6 seconds left on Saturday, giving the Lakers the lead for good, 109-108. He had been booed all night, as he has been in Utah since asking the Jazz to release him from his contract so he could move his family closer to a city where his 1-year-old daughter could get specialized treatment for a cancerous tumor in her eye.
He ended up signing as a free agent with the Lakers, which some Jazz fans won’t seem to forgive. The relentless boos and chants of “Fisher Sucks!” are not sitting well with Fisher’s teammates on the Lakers.
“That’s just bad people, doing stuff like that,” Bryant said. “Not about that. You don’t boo about that.”
Monday will be Utah fans’ last look at Fisher unless the Jazz can win two and bring the series back to Salt Lake City for a Game 6 on Friday. The Jazz need to survive Monday before considering what could happen after that.
The Jazz did what they wanted by limiting the Lakers’ size advantage, but it cost Utah when Bryant, Fisher and Ron Artest combined to hit 10 of the Lakers’ 13 3-pointers.
“Down the stretch, we made big shots. We’ve got guys that aren’t scared to take them,” Bryant said. “All across the board, guys will step up and they make them. That’s why we never really fret when it’s a five-point game or a two-point game with a couple minutes to go. “
It’s also why the Jazz were still dismayed when they returned to practice Sunday morning, knowing they were inches away from being down only 2-1 instead of 3-0.
Deron Williams was just off on a shot from the top of the key that would have won it and Wesley Matthews’ tip on the rebound bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Matthews was still shaking his head as he thought about the play, which he said he had been doing most of the night. He said the mental replay was enough and he didn’t want to watch the actual video footage.
“I’m not going to watch the replay. I was looking at it. I saw it not go in one time and that was enough,” Matthews said.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Lakers-Jazz Scouting Report
Obviously no one expects the Utah Jazz to just roll over. Jerry Sloan didn’t operate that way as a player and none of his teams have played that way in his 22 years as head coach. We know that if we want to end this series tonight we will have to play smarter and harder than we did in game 3. There is enough to motivate us because if we can improve our performance and get a win tonight in addition to moving on in the playoffs to the Western Conference Finals, we will have earned some rest due to the fact that the next series will not start for a number of days.
Regster to Lakers Courtside Connection to read more.
Lakers-Jazz Injury Report
||Ron Artest (sprained left thumb) will play.
Shannon Brown (sprained right thumb) will play.
Kobe Bryant (arthritis, right index finger) will play.
Andrew Bynum (left Achilles strain / slight tear, lateral meniscus, right knee) is day-to-day.
DJ Mbenga (retinal surgery, left eye) is probable.
Sasha Vujacic (severe sprain, left ankle) is out.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is probable.
||Andrei Kirilenko (strained left calf muscle) game time decision.
Mehmet Okur (ruptured left Achilles) is out.
Lakers-Jazz Game Notes
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers won their season series with the Jazz 3-1 and have now taken each of the last four season series from Utah: 2006-07 (2-1), 2007-08 (3-1), 2008-09 (2-1), 2009- 10 (3-1). The Jazz and Lakers have met 150 times in the regular season (96-54) and 131 times since the Jazz moved to Utah (83-49). In the postseason, the Lakers and Jazz have met five times (1988, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2009) with the Lakers advancing on three occasions: 1988 Western Conference Semifinals (4-3), 2008 Western Conference Semifinals (4-2) and 2009 Western Conference First Round 4-1. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 regular season games with the Jazz. The Lakers are 18- 3 all-time against the Jazz at STAPLES Center during the regular season and have won their last nine straight (16 in a row including the playoffs). In Utah, the Lakers have gone 4-6 in their last 10 regular season games at EnergySolutions Arena. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 26-12 against Utah in the regular season. In their first meeting of the season 12/9/09 at STAPLES Center, the Lakers held the Jazz to the third fewest fourth quarter points (6) in the NBA’s shot clock era. In 2006, the Lakers scored a series record 132 points in a 132-102 victory 11/30/06 at STAPLES Center, improving upon the old mark of 131 points achieved at Utah 12/4/86. In that game, Kobe Bryant established a new series-high with 52 points against the Jazz, surpassing his own record of 43 points (3/22/05) while also bettering Adrian Dantley’s Jazz mark of 50 established in November of 1979. Bryant’s 30-point 3rd quarter tied his own franchise record and is tied for the 4th-highest scoring quarter in NBA history. In 46 games against the Jazz (38 starts), Bryant is averaging 26.1 points. Additionally, Lakers guard Derek Fisher played the 2006-07 season for Utah, appearing in all 82 games, starting 61 and averaging 10.1 points and 3.3 assists in 27.9 minutes.
LAKERS vs. UTAH IN THE POSTSEASON
The Lakers and Jazz have met five times in the postseason (1988, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2009) with Los Angeles advancing on three occasions (1988 Western Conference Semifinals 4-3, 2008 Western Conference Semifinals 4-2, 2009 Western Conference First Round 4-1). Utah eliminated Los Angeles from the playoffs in two consecutive postseasons: 1997 Western Conference Semifinals (1-4) and 1998 Western Conference Finals (0-4). In all five postseason meetings between the Jazz and Lakers, the team with home court advantage has won the series. Overall, the Lakers are now 15-14 against the Jazz in postseason games, going 12-4 at home but just 3-10 in Utah. Additionally, this will be the fifth series meeting Lakers head coach Phil Jackson and Utah head coach Jerry Sloan in the postseason. Jackson has won the previous four encounters, defeating the Jazz in both the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals (4-2, 4-2) while with the Chicago Bulls and knocking off Utah in both the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals (4-2) and 2009 Western Conference First Round (4-1) while with the Lakers. Overall, Jackson (308; 215-93) and Sloan (200; 98-102) rank first and third respectively all-time in NBA playoff games coached.
LAKERS IN BEST-OF-SEVEN SERIES (Includes NBA Finals series)
- The Lakers are 69-29 in best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (63-28 Los Angeles, 6-1 Minneapolis)
- The Lakers are now 65-34 in Game 1 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (61-31 Los Angeles, 4-3 Minneapolis)
- When winning Game 1 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 57-7. (53-7 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis)
- The Lakers are 58-41 in Game 2 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (55-37 Los Angles, 3-4 Minneapolis)
- When winning Game 4 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 39-4 all-time. - When leading 3-1 in a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 33-1. (30-1 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis)
CRASHING THE BOARDS
In the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Jazz, the Lakers have had three players record 10+ rebounds in each contest. The last team to have three players average 10+ rebounds through the first two games of any playoff series was the 1985 Portland Trail Blazers, who did so in their First Round series with Dallas. The last Lakers team to have three players average 10+ rebounds through the first two games of a playoff series was the 1973 squad, who did so in their Conference Semifinals series with Chicago. Prior to this series, three Lakers last recorded 10+ rebounds in a single game 4/28/06 in Game 3 of the 2006 Western Conference First Round vs. Phoenix. This series, in Game 1, Pau Gasol (12), Lamar Odom (12) and Andrew Bynum (10) all grabbed 10+ rebounds as the Lakers outrebounded the Jazz 43-38. In Game 2, Gasol (15), Odom (15) and Bynum (14) again all pulled down 10+ rebounds as the Lakers increased their rebounding margin against the Jazz to a 58-40 advantage.
BRYANT NAMED TO ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM; 5th STRAIGHT FIRST TEAM SELECTION, 8th FIRST TEAM NOD IN LAST 9 YEARS
On May 6th, the NBA announced its 2009-10 All-NBA Teams with Kobe Bryant earning First Team honors for the 5th consecutive season and 8th time in the last nine years. Among all active players, only Tim Duncan (9) has earned more First Team selections than Bryant. Third in voting behind unanimous selections LeBron James (122 First Team votes, 610 points) and Dwight Howard (122 First Team votes, 610 points), Bryant (119 First Team votes, 604 points) ranked 4th in the NBA in scoring (27.0 points) while averaging 5.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Helping lead the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference for the third consecutive season (57- 25) and the franchise’s 21st Pacific Division title, Bryant has now been named to 12 All-NBA Teams overall (8 First, 2 Second, 2 Third). Joining Bryant, Howard and James on the First Team are Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant.
PAU GASOL SELECTED TO ALL-NBA TEAM FOR 2ND STRAIGHT SEASON & 2ND TIME IN CAREER; EARNS THIRD TEAM HONORS
On May 6th, the NBA announced its 2009-10 All-NBA Teams with Pau Gasol earning All-NBA honors for the second consecutive season and second time in his career. Named to the All-NBA Third Team, Gasol finished with the 14th most points (94) in balloting. Ranking among league leaders in field goal % (11th/.536), blocks (8th/1.74) and minutes (21st/37.0) despite missing 17 games due to injury, Gasol was named a 2010 Western Conference All-Star for the third time in his career, earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors (3/22/10) Awards in February and was named European Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Gasol is now one of 12 Lakers to earn multiple All-NBA honors in franchise history (Abdul-Jabbar, Baylor, Bryant, Johnson, Martin, Mikan, Mikkelsen, Pollard, O’Neal, West, Worthy).
THE CONFERENCE ONE SEED
Since the NBA went to the Conference format prior to the 1970-71 season, the Lakers have now held the #1 seed 16 times (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982-90, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010), winning the West 12 times and the NBA Championship on eight occasions. This is the 11th time the Lakers have owned the #1 seed since the current format featuring 16 teams was instituted prior to the 1984 NBA Playoffs. With their victory over the Thunder in the 2010 Western Conference First Round, the Lakers improved to 11-0 in the First Round as the Conference #1 seed since 1984. Overall, as the Conference #1 seed, the Lakers are now 181-85 (.680) all-time in the playoffs.
BRYANT NAMED TO ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM FOR 5th STRAIGHT SEASON
On May 5th, the NBA announced its 2009-10 All-Defensive Teams with Kobe Bryant earning First Team honors for the 5th consecutive season and 8th time overall, finishing fourth in voting with 34 points and 13 first-place votes. Bryant has now made 10 All-Defensive Teams overall, earning Second Team honors in 2000-01 and 2001- 02. Leading vote-getter and 2009-10 Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard (57 points), Rajon Rondo (50 points), LeBron James (45 points) and Gerald Wallace (30 points) all joined Bryant on this year’s All-Defensive First Team. The 30 NBA-coach voting panel selected All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position while not voting for their own players. Two points were awarded for a First Team vote, one point for a Second Team vote. Bryant is now one of seven players to be named to at least eight All-Defensive First Teams: (9) Michael Jordan, Gary Payton; (8) Kevin Garnett, Bobby Jones, Scottie Pippen, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant.
Second Team honors went to Tim Duncan (21), Dwyane Wade (20), Josh Smith (20), Anderson Varejao (15) and Thabo Sefolosha (14). Ron Artest, who was named to the Second Team last season, received 11 points including three First Team votes while Lamar Odom (2 points) and Pau Gasol (1 point) were also among the 42 players not named to an All-Defensive Team to earn consideration.