Sat, Apr 25, 2009 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Jazz claw their way back into series against Lakers

AFP , SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer shouts in celebration as the buzzer sounds to end game three against the Los Angeles Lakers in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AP

Deron Williams hit a jump shot with just two seconds remaining as Utah edged Los Angeles 88-86 Thursday in the third game of first round NBA playoff series.

“I had to make up for my horrible play all night so I am glad I made the shot,” Williams said. “Now we are back in the series and we put a little fear into them.”

Carlos Boozer tied a Jazz postseason record with 22 rebounds and scored 23 points as the Jazz pulled within 2-1 in the series. Game four is today in Utah.

In the other West matchup on Thursday, Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points and Josh Howard added 17 and eight rebounds as Dallas routed San Antonio 88-67 to take a 2-1 lead in their series.

Williams finished with 13 points and nine assists, winning it with only his third field goal of the game against the Lakers.

“Boozer just fell into some really good plays. They got some guys off the bench that hurt us,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

The Lakers had a chance to win, but Kobe Bryant’s three-pointer at the buzzer sailed wide and Utah enjoyed their first win of the playoffs.

“I know I played bad,” Bryant said. “I didn’t shoot the ball well. They did a good job of mixing up their defense.”

Lamar Odom led the Lakers with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Bryant scored 18 despite going just five-for-24 from the floor.

“Lot of things didn’t play for him tonight,” Jackson said of Bryant.

Dallas allowed just 30 points in the first two quarters as San Antonio finished with its fewest points in a post-season contest in front of a crowd of 20,491.

Nowitzki nailed a series of jump shots to start the third quarter as the Mavericks improved to 16-1 at home since the all-star break.

“If we don’t make shots at least we need to play defense,” Parker said. “We didn’t play defense.”

The Mavericks led by 16 points at the half and then built a 26-point lead. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich then sat starters Tony Parker and Tim Duncan to rest them for Saturday’s game four. Dallas is 7-1 in games following 20-point losses and Erick Dampier had two points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

J.J. Barea had 13 points and seven assists in his first career playoff start and Jason Kidd had six assists and eight rebounds.

France’s Parker, who had 38 points in game two, was San Antonio’s leading scorer with just 12 points.

He made only five of 14 shots, with as many turnovers (three) as assists. Duncan had four points on two-of-nine shooting, with as many fouls (two) as rebounds.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

AFP, CHICAGO

Paul Pierce pumped in 24 points to power the defending champion Boston Celtics to a 107-86 rout of Chicago in their first round playoff series on Thursday.

Rajon Rondo added 20 points for Boston, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven first round NBA series.

The teams split two games in Boston, but the Celtics were never challenged on Thursday. Boston led by 11 after one quarter and 22 at the half on their way to a dominating victory.

“In game one and two, I was a little indecisive but I’m getting comfortable with what [the Bulls] want to do,” Pierce said.

The Celtics are in good shape heading into tomorrow’s game four, even though they are missing injured star Kevin Garnett.

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