The AP reports: Kobe Bryant, celebrating what’s expected to be his first NBA MVP award, converted six of his franchise playoff-record 21 foul shots in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Utah Jazz 109-98 Sunday to begin the second round of the playoffs. Bryant finished with 38 points, six rebounds and seven assists, and the Lakers made it five straight victories to begin the postseason after winning eight of their last nine regular-season games to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference… The Lakers shot 38-of-46 from the foul line, while the Jazz went 22-of-30. The teams spent most of the final period going from one foul line to the other, with Los Angeles going 14-of-19 from the line and Utah 10-of-12. Twenty-four of the 60 personal fouls were called in the last 12 minutes… There were some other unexpected numbers. For one, the Jazz outrebounded the Lakers 58-41, with 25 of their rebounds at the offensive end. For another, Utah attempted 95 shots to match its regular-season high, but converted only 36 (37.9 percent).
InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Lakers hit 5-of-10 threes, the Jazz just 4-of-19. Utah did dominate the glass, getting 58 rebounds to LA’s 41. Assists, turnovers and blocks were close.
For the Lakers, aside from Bryant, Pau Gasol (8-of-13) had 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Lamar Odom (5-of-12) had 16 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Sasha Vujacic on just 6 shots had 15 points and 4 rebounds off the bench. Vladimir Radmanovic scored 10.
For the Jazz, Mehmet Okur on 19 shots and 0-of-5 threes had 21 points, 19 rebounds and 3 assists. Carlos Boozer on 14 shots had 15 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists but 7 turnovers. Deron Williams shot just 5-of-18 for 14 points but he did rack up 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Ronnie Brewer, Andrei Kirilenko and Kyle Korver each scored 11.