Lakers down Jazz to clinch series

The Los Angeles Lakers are the first team through to the Western Conference finals.

    Kobe Bryant shows just why he is
    the league's MVP [GALLO/GETTY]

    The Los Angeles Lakers reached the NBA's Western Conference finals for the first time in four years after beating the Utah Jazz 108-105.

    Kobe Bryant scored 34 points for the Lakers, who held off a furious rally by the Jazz to clinch the series 4-2.

    Los Angeles will play the winner of the San Antonio-New Orleans series which will be decided in Game 7 on Monday.

    The Jazz trailed by 19 points at halftime and 16 at the end of the third quarter, but hit a flurry of 3-pointers to get within two points in the final minute.

    The Jazz had a chance to tie it at the end, but Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds.

    Bryant also had eight rebounds and six assists. Pau Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers.

    Williams led Utah with 21 points and 14 assists. Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Okur had 16 points and 10 boards, hitting two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter during Utah's comeback.

    Cavaliers 74, Celtics 69

    In Cleveland, the home side got the win it needed to force a Game 7 against Boston.

    LeBron James scored 32 points, 19 in the second half, as Cleveland forced a fitting finale on Sunday to a playoff series dominated by home teams.

    The Celtics have gone from regular-season road kings to postseason road kill.

    James made two key baskets midway through the fourth quarter to slow a Celtics comeback, Wally Szczerbiak hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining and Joe Smith dropped two free throws with 14 seconds left.

    The Cavs are attempting to become the 14th team to overcome an 0-2 deficit and win a series, and to do so, the defending Eastern Conference champions will have to win in Boston, where the Celtics are 7-0 in the postseason.

    Kevin Garnett scored 25 points, Paul Pierce 16 and Ray Allen just nine on 3-of-8 shooting.

    The Celtics got just two points from guard Rajon Rondo, who scored 20 in their Game 5 win.

    Boston's point total was the second lowest in franchise playoff history and the fewest points ever given up by Cleveland in the postseason.

    The winner of Game 7 will meet Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals.

    The Pistons won their series against Orlando 4-1.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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