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Bryant Lifts Lakers Into Conference Finals
The Dave McMenamin Lakers-Jazz Series Blog

Kobe Bryant provided the start and the finish that the Los Angeles Lakers were looking for.

Bryant scored 34 points to lead six players in double figures as the Lakers built a big lead and held on Friday for a 108-105 victory over the Utah Jazz that wrapped up their Western Conference semifinal in six games.

The top-seeded Lakers joined the Detroit Pistons as the only teams to win road games in this round. In the conference finals for the first time since 2004, they await the winner of the New Orleans-San Antonio series.

Bryant made his first four shots and scored 10 points as the Lakers bolted to a 26-12 lead and never trailed. Hot shooting from guards Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic in the second quarter gave LA a 62-43 advantage at halftime, its largest lead.

The fourth-seeded Jazz, who came in 41-5 at home this season, battled back within seven points midway through the final period. But Bryant - who did not take a shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5 - made a 3-pointer and three-point play to rebuild the lead to 99-86 and added six free throws down the stretch.

Pau Gasol had 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, Fisher scored 16 points, Lamar Odom added 13 and Vujacic and Vladimir Radmanovic 12 apiece for the Lakers, who shot 50 percent.

Deron Williams collected 21 points and 14 assists and Mehmet Okur scored 16 points for Utah, which shot just 38 percent.

The Jazz, who reached the conference finals a year ago, never led in losing the last two games.

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November 04, 2007
Lakers 119, Jazz 109 | Box | Video
Kobe Bryant led L.A. with 33 points as the Lakers defeated the Jazz 119-109.
December 28, 2007
Lakers 123, Jazz 109 | Box | Video
Kobe Bryant had 31 points and seven assists before sitting out the fourth quarter and the Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 123-109
November 30, 2007
Utah 120, L.A. Lakers 96 | Box | Video
Averaging 18 points this season, Deron Williams went off for a career-high 35.
March 20, 2008
Lakers 106, Jazz 95 | Box | Video
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and the Lakers ended Utah's 19-game home winning streak.

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