Quantcast 2010 Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers vs Jazz

 

NBA Playoff Recap – Western Conference Semifinal, Game 3

(1) L.A. Lakers 111, (5) Utah 110 – Lakers lead series 3-0

 

 

Just when the Utah Jazz looked like they were going to grab a Game 3 victory in front of their raucous home crowd, two familiar foes reared their heads.  Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher hit two clutch three-pointers in the final minute, and L.A. survived a near-catastrophic final few seconds of regulation to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.  With the Lakers inbounding the ball and leading by three points with 6.1 seconds remaining, Ron Artest threw the ball away and gave Utah a chance to win.  Utah’s Deron Williams missed a 20-footer and Wesley Matthews’s follow up at the buzzer rolled off the rim and the Lakers escaped with a series-defining victory.

Bryant’s late three came after Utah’s Kyle Korver - who scored 23 points on a staggering 9 of 10 from the field, including a perfect 5 for 5 behind the arc - put the Jazz up three with just over one minute left in the ballgame.  Enter Derek Fisher.  The former Jazzman hit a deep three to put the Lakers up by 1 with 26 seconds remaining and Utah never recovered.

It looked as if the Jazz were going to make this series much more competitive during the first half.  The Jazz took a 13-point lead midway through the second quarter.  Though saddled with foul trouble, Deron Williams led Utah with 14 first-half points.  Williams finished with 28 points and 9 assists.



Though the former MVP - Bryant - was huge down the stretch, the Lakers were fueled by Ron Artest on the offensive end.  Artest scored 20 points, including 4 3-pointers to keep the Lakers within striking distance in the second half.  In a second round that has been devoid of competitive basketball league-wide, Game 3 was home to countless lead changes and a fantastic playoff atmosphere.

The Lakers proved again that they are every bit the championship-caliber squad that won the NBA title last season.  Los Angeles has now won two straight playoff games in front of hostile crowds, the first coming in the opening-round clincher in Oklahoma City.  No team has ever recovered from a 3-0 series deficit and it doesn’t look good for an outmatched, outsized, and young Utah club.  Laker head coach Phil Jackson is just one victory away from moving to 46-0 after winning Game 1 of a playoff series.


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By: Zach Bloxham
Pro Basketball Fans Guest Writer


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