Kobe, Lakers Advance to Western Finals
By Mike Buss,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2008 3:38 AM CDT
Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko (47) keeps Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, from interfering with Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer (5) on Friday, May 16, 2008, in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
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(Newser) – The Los Angeles Lakers reached the NBA's Western Conference finals for the first time in four years by beating the Utah Jazz 108-105 on Friday. Kobe Bryant scored 34 points for LA, which held off a furious rally by the Jazz to clinch the series 4-2. Los Angeles plays the winner of the San Antonio-New Orleans series to be decided Monday.

The Jazz trailed by 19 points at halftime and 16 at the end of the third quarter, but hit a flurry of 3-pointers to get within two points in the final minute. The Jazz had a chance to tie it at the end, but Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds.