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Kobe, Lakers finish opening-round series in five games

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are moving on in the NBA playoffs -- as if that was really in doubt.

With Bryant making everything from 3-pointers to a fadeaway jumper while falling on his backside, the Lakers ran away from the Utah Jazz on Monday night, 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.

The Lakers didn't want to have to go back to Salt Lake City, the site of their Game 3 collapse and their Game 4 bounceback.

"I think we had a first-round opponent that was much tougher this year than we did last year," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I'm not discounting the present Denver team when I talk about last year's Denver team, but we were able to kind of do what we wanted to do with them and were able to sweep them 4-0.

"I think it will prep us for what we have to do as we go along. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves."

It was a disappointing end for a Jazz team that had high expectations.

"Injuries kind of affected us and we really weren't able to ever get into a rhythm," Utah's Deron Williams said. "We kind of headed downhill toward the playoffs and we just really didn't get the type of effort we needed to win a series."

Although it wasn't the most artistic game at times, the Lakers got the shots to fall when they needed them most.

If there was any question that this was going to be the Lakers' night on their home court, Bryant answered that in the closing seconds of the first half.

He drove the lane and passed to Pau Gasol. The ball was batted loose and Bryant grabbed it, turned and sank a fadeaway jumper as he fell on his rear end, giving the Lakers a 56-43 halftime lead.

By late in the third quarter, the Lakers were toying with the Jazz. Bryant made a layup, hit a 3-pointer and fed Gasol for a slam dunk. Odom added a bucket and just like that it was 80-58.

The crowd spent the ensuing timeout cheering the celebrities shown on the big screen at Staples Center -- John McEnroe, Dustin Hoffman, Glenn Frey and, of course, Jack Nicholson.

The Jazz cut the lead to 93-86 with 4:37 left but Bryant hit a turnaround jumper and Odom finished a fast break with a slam dunk to fend off Utah's late run.

"We're happy that we got the win but, but I don't think we're happy about how we won so we have to pay attention and stay focused on closing games out," Lakers forward Trevor Ariza said.

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

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

The Lakers weren't particularly sharp in the first quarter, and the Jazz held on for a 26-all tie.

But when the Jazz took out Williams starting the second quarter, the Lakers went on an 8-0 that put them ahead for good. Odom and Bryant each hit a 3-pointer and Bryant made two free throws for a 34-26 lead.

Game notes
Ariza started for the Lakers and didn't appear bothered by the ankle he sprained during warmups before Game 4 on Saturday night. The news isn't so good about Luke Walton -- he's out for at least one week with a partial ligament tear in his left ankle. ... This was the final game for Jazz broadcaster "Hot" Rod Hundley, who is retiring after his long career. Hundley has been broadcasting Jazz games since they were an expansion team playing in New Orleans in 1974. He made the move to Utah with the rest of the club in 1979. A former star at West Virginia, the 74-year-old Hundley played six NBA seasons for the Lakers before he retired in 1963. Hundley was acknowledged by the PA announcer during a timeout in the fourth quarter and received a nice ovation from the crowd.