From Silver Screen and Roll: “All Hope Is Lost“ That was the title of an article run in the Salt Lake Tribune. An article Craig Sager went out of his way to make sure the Jazz heard about. Sure, they said all of the right things, and I’m sure they believed them somewhat. But it didn’t matter. It was true. All hope was lost, as the Lakesr ripped the Jazz’s hearts out tonight, 111-96, to complete the sweep and send Utah fishing for the third year in a row. In each year, the Lakers are dispatching the Jazz easier than the year before. It was a six game series two years ago, then five games last year. Just like their growing success versus the Jazz, the Lakers are getting better every game in these playoffs. This was a game the Jazz absolutely had to have and Kobe, Pau and company just imposed their will from the start. They jumped the Jazz late in the 1st Quarter then continued through to the 2nd, and just like that, it was done. The Lakers cruised, and I could have written this recap during the 2nd quarter.
From Ball Don’t Lie: Goodness, gracious, sakes alive the Lakers are good.I’m sure the Jazz fans did not appreciate the way Utah came out to start this game. Deron Williams pointed out in a rather candid post-game interview that his team started feeling sorry for itself and began moping a bit once the Lakers ran out to a double-digit lead, but I couldn’t help but think that the Lakers had just about everything to do with their hot start. They were just executing at an offensive rate that no team could handle.
From NBA Playbook: After falling behind big early against the Lakers, the Jazz fought back a number of times. In the 4th quarter, the Jazz were able to cut the Lakers lead down to 10 with about six and a half minutes left, forcing the Lakers to take a timeout. Coming out of that timeout the Lakers used a bit of luck to get themselves the dagger.
From BasketBlog: For the eighth time in their last nine tries, the Lakers closed out a playoff series with a chance to advance on the line, looking a lot like the defending champions in taking apart the Utah Jazz 111-96 to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the third straight season. Leading the way were the team’s two All-Stars: Kobe Bryant scored 32 points – his fifth straight 30-point playoff game – and Pau Gasol posted a season-high 33-point, 14-rebound double-double, to spearhead an imposing all-around team effort that delivered the team’s sixth straight playoff victory.
From SLAM Online: Before last night’s Game 4 in which the L.A. Lakers sought to close out the Utah Jazz and hand them their first sweep in the post-season since going 0-3 in 1989, I had just one thought: With the Phoenix Suns sweeping the San Antonio Spurs and the Orlando Magic sweeping the Atlanta Hawks, did David Stern have enough brooms to go around or did he just use one broom that traveled the League like the Stanley Cup? I mean, I can’t remember the last time I saw so many sweeps in the same round of the post-season and I’m not too sure I like it. The Playoffs, after all, are supposed to be about the best playing the best and the best don’t just roll over like your girlfriends’ poodle at the sight of danger.
From NBA Fanhouse: After the Lakers’ Game 5 win over Oklahoma City in the first round marked their first dominating performance of this postseason, small forward Ron Artest claimed the defending champions had been guilty of cruising. They’re cruising in a whole different way now. More like rolling, really. They finished Utah off like a pint of Polygamy Porter on Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena, their 111-96 victory in Game 4 marking their sixth straight win and completing what was the first ever four-game sweep of the Jazz in franchise history (New Orleans and Utah) and the second of any kind.
From Momma There Goes That Man: If you don’t think Kobe, LO, Steve Nash and STAT don’t remember these moments, then you’re out of your damn mind. Some of the faces from 2005 through 2007 have left, but there is still tons of vitriol between these two teams and it’s going to be a physical, competitive series. But since we have to wait until the Lakers can wear their Sunday Whites to play this game, I’ll leave you guys with some memories from the Last time these two teams met in the post-season…
From Ed The Sports Fan: Come one, come all. Haters, lovers, non-believers, fans, stans, everyone from all walks of life… You can find a story about Kobe pretty much anywhere. Hell, even when the story isn’t about Kobe, someone finds a way to weave him into the discussion. The thing about those stories is this: they are always told through someone else, but rarely are they told by the fan. We recognize the influence of this man, which has led us to do a first here at ETSF.
From DIME Mag: Seeing as the Jazz came within one Derek Fisher dagger of beating L.A. in Game 3, you figured Game 4 would at least go down to the wire. Not so much. When Pau Gasol hit Kyrylo Fesenko with a Dream Shake and hook shoot to put the Lakers up 19 in the first half, Reggie Miller said Utah was being made to look like the Washington Generals.
From Land O’ Lakers: With 3:11 remaining in the second quarter, Carlos Boozer is fed on a re-post by Deron Williams. Having just unsuccessfully tried to back down Pau Gasol, facing up for traction against El Spaniard yields results no better for the Jazz’s All-star. Boozer loses the handle upon contact and Derek Fisher dives for the loose ball, slipping it to Gasol from a seated position. Pau’s roots as a teenage point guard are in full effect as he dribbles right-handed down court before backing down Kyrylo Fesenko near the arc. The ball is then dished to Fisher as Pau re-posts while waiting to get the rock back.
From the Los Angeles Times: The Lakers had the Jazz right where they wanted them, building a double-digit half-time lead, establishing continued dominance from Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and sucking the atmosphere right out of Energy Solutions Arena. But then the second half began. As it had been all series, the Jazz never relented in the Lakers’ quest to put the game away. And with the Lakers’ tendency to coast after building large leads, Utah’s workmanlike attitude again brought them back in the game and reduced the Lakers’ lead to single digits. In typical fashion, however, the Lakers’ talent turned back on, resulting in a 111-96 Game 4 victory Monday over Utah, marking the first time the Jazz have been swept in a seven-game series.
From the Los Angeles Times: It was a sweep, all right. The Lakers swept this doubter completely off his feet, reduced me to a pillar of salt, knocked me directly into a setting Suns. Before watching the Lakers take the court against the Utah Jazz for the fourth game of a 3-0 playoff series Monday, I figured the ensuing Western Conference finals would be a regular Nash pit.
From the OC Register: Some teams tend to lose their focus in close-out games. Their attention to detail can wander and their once-steady play can go awry for 48 minutes. The Lakers, however, are not part of that group. The Lakers continued their dominance in close-out games with a 111-96 Western Conference semifinal victory against Utah on Monday, ending the Jazz’s season for a third consecutive year and giving themselves a week’s rest before the next round.
From the LA Daily News: It was like a father playing his 10-year-old son one-on-one, showing no mercy in the driveway and dominating him to no end. It was like a player seeing an inferior talent trying to guard him and almost salivating as he scored on him time and again. One could be forgiven if Pau Gasol had those kinds of feelings about Carlos Boozer in Monday night’s 111-96 win by the Lakers over the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
From the LA Daily News: It was closing time Monday night. So, the Lakers went to work slamming the door on the Utah Jazz. They wasted little time in building a commanding 22-point lead in the second quarter en route to a 111-96 victory and a 4-0 sweep of their Western Conference semifinal series. No question, the Lakers nearly went off the rails in the third quarter at EnergySolutions Arena, but they recovered smartly and were never in jeopardy in the final period. They settled matters with a flurry down the stretch.
From ESPN.com: Remember when the Lakers used to give you reason to doubt? When the foam fingers flew on Christmas Day against Cleveland? When they let Denver, Houston, Utah and Orlando all beat them in revenge games after eliminating them last season in the playoffs? When Phil Jackson said he planned to go 5-0 on a late-season road trip and came home 2-3? When Ron was concussed, Pau was hamstrung and Kobe was getting old?
From Fox Sports: Now that we’ve witnessed so much high-level play at point guard, it might be easy to anticipate eventual doom for teams forced to settle for anything less.
But it’s not all that tricky to take a deep breath and remember how the Los Angeles Lakers were able to snag the O’Brien Trophy last year with the point guard position occupied by a veteran who really doesn’t qualify as a card-carrying member of the point-guard fraternity. As Rondo steers the Cs toward an opportunity to knock off the Cavaliers, Derek Fisher continues bagging crucial shots in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense and using his veteran chops to make things a bit tricky for the likes of Williams.
From Yahoo! Sports: It doesn’t matter to Kobe Bryant that three years have passed and he’s won a championship since then. He has a long memory. And just the mere mention of the Phoenix Suns brings a spark to his eyes. The Los Angeles Lakers advanced to their third straight Western Conference finals by sweeping the Utah Jazz with a 111-96 victory on Monday night. Next up are the Phoenix Suns, whom the Lakers have beaten seven times in nine games since acquiring Pau Gasol. But that doesn’t matter to Bryant. When asked if he recalled that the Suns knocked the Lakers out of the postseason during their last two meetings in 2006 and ’07, Bryant’s eyes filled with disdain.
From NBA.com: The “Let’s go Suns” chants started in the final seconds Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena. What else could the Jazz fans do after being swept in four games for the first time in franchise history, the clincher a 111-96 Game 4 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference semifinals? Funny thing is, Lakers star Kobe Bryant was thinking same thing. “Let’s get to the Suns.” He didn’t say it. But you could read it all over his face after the Lakers blew past the Jazz and into the Western Conference finals for the third straight season. The Lakers will host the Suns in Game 1 on May 17.
From Sports Illustrated: After looking vulnerable in their first-round series against the Thunder, the Lakers left little doubt about their elite level of play after dominating the Jazz in their Western Conference semifinal series. With Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol looking virtually unstoppable, the Lakers swept the undersized Jazz out of the playoffs with a 111-96 victory Monday in Salt Lake City, setting up a conference final with the Suns.