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Lakers notch up 65th victory

THE Utah Jazz got a preview of their first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers and didn't like what they saw.

Andrew Bynum scored 22 points in his best game since returning from a knee injury and the Lakers won 125-112 in Los Angeles on Tuesday night to close the regular season with their 65th victory.

"I feel well-rested," he said. "I think I have a great chance to help push us over the hump."

Los Angeles tied a season high with 69 points in the second half against a team that didn't threaten in the fourth quarter.

"They got hot," said Deron Williams, who led the Jazz with 25 points and 13 assists. "I did a double-take myself; I looked up and I thought it was a 10-point game, but it was 20. They can score points in a hurry."

This season's Lakers became the third-winningest team in franchise history, tying the 1986-87 team for victories while trailing only the 1971-72 squad (69) and 1999-00 team (67).

"Sixty-five wins with some of the injuries we've had is an accomplishment," Kobe Bryant said.

In the two other National Basketball Association games, it was: Celtics 100, 76ers 98; and Hawks 81, Heat 79.

Sixth in a row

Pau Gasol added 20 points and nine rebounds, Bryant and Lamar Odom had 16 points each, and Sasha Vujacic 15 points for the Lakers, who won their sixth in a row at home.

Reserve Andrei Kirilenko added 20 points to go with 16 points by Carlos Boozer and 14 by Ronnie Brewer for the Jazz.

The Lakers open the playoffs this weekend against the Jazz, who ended their schedule in the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

"We didn't give them much of a battle and knowing that we're going to have to play them again, it looks pretty bleak," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "Hate to say that, but it's one of those things."

The Lakers improved to 16-3 all-time against Utah at Staples Center, where they've won the last six in a row against the Jazz at home.

"There's a whole new season starting. Everybody's healthy, so we'll get everybody on the same page and see what it's all about," Sloan said.

The Lakers already clinched the top seed in the West to secure home-court advantage through the conference finals. But Cleveland edged them for the league's best record, guaranteeing LeBron James and Co home court through the NBA finals if the Cavaliers get there.

Los Angeles took the game's first double-digit lead, 94-83, on Jordan Farmar's three-pointer to open the fourth quarter. It was part of a 13-2 run that extended the Lakers' lead.

They never looked back.

The Lakers started the third quarter on a 12-4 run, with Bryant assisting on three-pointers by Trevor Ariza and Derek Fisher, to go up 68-59. But the Jazz answered with a 15-7 spurt, including nine in a row, and closed to 75-74. Williams scored six and Brewer added five during the run.

The Lakers responded over the final 2:42, outscoring the Jazz 16-9 to take a 91-83 lead into the fourth. Bryant scored six points and assisted on another three, this one by Shannon Brown.


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