SALT LAKE CITY &
The Utah Jazz were pushed, pulled, knocked down and impeded in just about every way possible. However, the Golden State Warriors never quite found a way to actually stop the Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Jazz beat the Warriors 100-87 on Tuesday night and clinched the playoff series in five games, advancing to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1998.
The Jazz turned the ball over 25 times, were shooting just 50 percent from the foul line in the fourth quarter and didn't have a field goal after Derek Fisher's 3-pointer with 5 minutes and 45 seconds remaining.
But Utah got almost every rebound, holding a 59-35 advantage over Golden State.
"We really went the boards, just crashed the boards for offensive rebounds. That was our key to win the game," said Andrei Kirilenko, who had 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Kirilenko was one of three Utah players to finish with a double-double in the series clincher. Carlos Boozer also scored 21 and had 14 boards and Mehmet Okur finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Rookie Paul Millsap just missed with 12 rebounds and nine points.
That helped compensate for the turnovers.
"If we hadn't rebounded the ball, we would have really been in trouble," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Jazz will play either Phoenix or San Antonio for the conference title starting next week. They'll get a chance to rest and recover after having to run with the Warriors for five games.
In the other playoff game, Chicago beat Detroit 108-92 to cut the Pistons' lead to 3-2.
On Wednesday, Cleveland can eliminate New Jersey on its home floor in Game 5, while Phoenix will be without the suspended Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw when it hosts San Antonio in a series tied at two games apiece.
Golden State, the No. 8 seed that upset top-seeded Dallas in the opener, ran out of energy and composure Tuesday.
Stephen Jackson was called for a flagrant foul and technical late in the third quarter after knocking down Utah rookie Dee Brown, who had missed the last two games with a sprained neck.
Matt Barnes got a technical at the end of the third quarter when he and Boozer tussled under the basket. About a minute earlier, Barnes caught Matt Harpring with a forearm to the head as Harpring drove for a layup.
The Warriors' frustration eventually cost them at the end when the Jazz scored their final 12 points from the foul line.
"We were three wins away from going to the Western Conference finals," Baron Davis said. "We can't regress. We have to use this opportunity and this platform."
Utah ended Golden State's surprising run through the playoffs and got the Jazz back to where they haven't been since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone, whose numbers now hang from the rafters at the EnergySolutions Arena.
Stockton and Malone were still in their prime the last time the Jazz made it this far in the playoffs, when they won back-to-back Western Conference titles in 1997 and 1998. With Stockton's No. 12 and The Mailman's No. 32 hanging above them, the new Jazz improved to 6-0 at home in the playoffs.
Utah held Golden State to 14 points in the fourth quarter and unraveled the Warriors, who were badly outmatched in much of this series. Still, the Warriors were in it until the Jazz started making their free throws in the final minutes.
"We were there the last four or five minutes of the game and had a shot. And that's where they showed their dominance," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "I thought they were just fantastic in this series."
Davis led Golden State with 21 points and eight assists. The Warriors needed a stellar run through March and April just to make it to the playoffs, then as the No. 8 seed had one of the biggest upsets in postseason history by knocking off the Mavericks.
Kirilenko broke the last tie of the game on a tip-in with 6:04 remaining, then Fisher added a 3-pointer 19 seconds later to put Utah up 88-83. It was Utah's last field goal.
Davis made two free throws and Jason Richardson added a jumper with 3:39 left to pull the Warriors within 88-87, then Golden State didn't score again and the Jazz sealed it from the line.
Jackson had 16 points and five assists, and Richardson had 13 points and eight rebounds for Golden State, which couldn't keep up the galloping pace that carried the Warriors through the first round and pushed the Jazz in the first four games of the series.
Bulls 108, Pistons 92
At Auburn Hills, Mich., suddenly, it's a series.
Ben Gordon scored 28 points and the hot-shooting Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 108-92 Tuesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, pulling to 3-2 in the series.
Detroit opened the second round with two routs and made a big comeback in the third game, leading some to predict it would end with a sweep &
or in five games at the most.
Obviously, the Bulls had other plans.
Game 6 is Thursday night in Chicago and if Game 7 is necessary, it would be Monday night back on the Pistons' home court.
The Bulls started the game Tuesday night with a sense of urgency and didn't let up in a game they never trailed.
Chicago only missed one of its first seven shots while holding Detroit to 3-of-9 shooting and each starter scored to help build a 14-6 lead.
The Bulls made 72.2 percent of their shots in the first half &
falling just short of an NBA record &
but only led by eight at halftime.
They outscored Detroit 33-20 to take a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Unlike the two previous games, the Pistons didn't rally at all and were frustrated against a team that looked much like the one that swept the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in the first round.
Gordon made shots early and often and had plenty of help.
Luol Deng scored 20, Kirk Hinrich had 17 and P.J. Brown scored a playoff-high 15.
The Pistons, meanwhile, didn't have a one consistently effective player on offense and allowed the Bulls to do whatever they wanted at the other end of the court.
Chauncey Billups scored 17, Richard Hamilton had 16 points and Rasheed Wallace added 15, but the trio combined to shoot just 16-of-42.
The Pistons fell to 12-3 when they have a chance to win a series, with the rare losses coming in the last two games and in Game 7 of the 2005 NBA finals against San Antonio.
Midway through the fourth quarter, a sellout crowd gave up on a possible rally as the aisles filled with fans leaving and the Bulls leading 101-81.
Detroit reserve Antonio McDyess scored 12, Tayshaun Prince had 11 and Chris Webber added nine points and eight rebounds.
Tyrus Thomas gave the Bulls a lift off the bench with 10 points, six rebounds, five steals and a block. Reserve Chris Duhon scored eight points and made two of Chicago's 10 3-pointers.
Chicago finished shooting 57 percent after coming close in the first half to the NBA record the Los Angeles Lakers set by making 74.2 percent of their shots against Seattle during the 1998 playoffs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Bulls made more shots (28) in the first half and scored just 10 fewer points than they did in all of Game 1.
They broke a franchise playoff record with just 23 field goals in the series opener, leading to a franchise postseason-low 69 points.
Jazz wins, eliminates Warriors
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