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Bryant, Lakers close out Jazz with 107-96 win

KOBE Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers ran away from the Utah Jazz yesterday, winning 107-96 to finish the opening-round series in five games.

Bryant scored 31 points and Lamar Odom had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who earned several days of rest before meeting the winner of the Portland-Houston series.

Paul Millsap led Utah with 16 points while Andrei Kirilenko and Deron Williams had 14 apiece.

Pau Gasol had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Trevor Ariza 12 points for the Lakers.

Nuggets 121, Hornets 63

At New Orleans, Carmelo Anthony scored all of his 26 points in the first three quarters as Denver thoroughly dismantled New Orleans Hornets to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

The New Orleans Arena was mostly empty by the end of the third quarter, when Denver led 89-50 on its way to matching the most lopsided victory in NBA playoff history. The Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks 133-75 in 1956.

Looking twice as quick as the Hornets on both ends of the court, the Nuggets stifled Hornets All-Star Chris Paul, whose four points and six assists amounted to one of the worst games of his career.

The Nuggets can close out the series at home in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Hawks 81, Heat 71

At Miami, Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and 18 rebounds as Atlanta raced to a huge first-half lead and frustrated Dwyane Wade endlessly in tying its first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against Miami at two games each.

Mike Bibby scored 15 points, Joe Johnson added 14 and Josh Smith 13 for the Hawks.

Wade scored 22 points, doing so on 9-for-26 shooting and wincing at times from a back injury.

It was Atlanta's first road postseason win in nearly 12 years, a stretch spanning 13 games. Now the series returns to Atlanta on Wednesday for Game 5, and all the Hawks need is to defend their home court twice to get a second-round shot against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.


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