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NBA Playoff Recap – Western Conference Semifinal, Game 4

(1) L.A. Lakers 111, (5) Utah 96 – Lakers win series, 4-0



The Utah Jazz were one of only a few NBA franchises who had never been swept out of a playoff series.  Enter the 2010 Los Angeles Lakers.  Using its tremendous height advantage, Los Angeles rolled out to a big first-half lead and kept the pedal to metal for its second win in Salt Lake City in as many games.  Center Pau Gasol played forty minutes, scored 33 points, and added 14 rebounds as the Lakers steamrolled the Jazz for the 12th time in the last 15 playoff matchups. 

The Lakers jumped on the Jazz from the opening tip, which has been their modus operandi all series.  Utah missed its final five shots of the first quarter while Gasol shot a scorching 5 for 6 to pace the Lakers to a modes t five-point lead.  Utah’s offensive struggles continued into the second quarter as the Lakers extended their lead to 22 with just over a minute left in the first half. 

To Utah’s credit, it came out with an increased effort in the second half.  Jazz guard Deron Williams pushed the tempo at every turn and his teammates responded.  The Jazz went on a 19-9 run midway through the third quarter to cut a 20-point Laker lead to a manageable five with 3:18 remaining. 

The Lakers responded with a champion-caliber counterpunch.

Following a media timeout at the 2:15 mark of the third quarter, the Lakers stretched a close seven- point margin to an insurmountable 17-point game in just a little over four minutes of game time.  Utah never recovered.  Kobe Bryant scored 30 or more points in each of the four games during the series.  Bryant scored 32 points on Monday night and took the game over during a key portion of the fourth frame.

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Utah was led by Williams, who scored 21 points and added 9 assists.  The Jazz big men were again held in check.  Forwards Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap finished the game with plus-minus ratings of -12 and -29 respectively.  At a time when Utah’s season was on the brink, Williams seemed to be the only player capable of competing.

The Lakers, who were pushed to a grueling six games in round one against Oklahoma City, have now won six straight playoff games.  Head coach Phil Jackson is just eight games away from his eleventh NBA title.  The Lakers have a week to rest and recuperate for their upcoming Western Conference Finals series against the red-hot Phoenix Suns.  Game 1 is scheduled for next Monday evening. 



By: Zach Bloxham
Pro Basketball Fans Guest Writer

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