Dismal 2nd quarter dooms Jazz
It started with Ronnie Price dribbling the ball off his foot, and didn't get much better after that.
A miserable second quarter proved to be the Jazz's ultimate downfall during their season-ending 111-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of their NBA playoff series at EnergySolutions Arena on Monday night.
With the season on the line, the Jazz came apart at the seams -- scoring a meager 17 points in the period, committing six turnovers and watching the Lakers build a 22-point lead that assured the first four-game sweep in Jazz history.
It was the Jazz's worst period of the series, by far, and just about everybody was culpable.
There was Kyle Korver, watching the Lakers' Shannon Brown drive past him for a monster dunk.
That was him, helplessly watching Lamar Odom drop in a lay-up right over him. Carlos Boozer lost the ball twice and missed all four shots he took -- "they just outplayed us," he said -- Kyrylo Fesenko had his shot blocked at point-blank range, and even Deron Williams had his pocket picked and missed a free throw.
The Jazz might as well have started cleaning out their lockers at halftime.
"We were just kind of standing around," the Jazz's C.J. Miles said. "We didn't really run our sets, and forced guys to take tough shots. Had to take a lot of jump shots because we didn't run our sets, and had turnovers because guys were out of sync, which led to them getting easy baskets or led to them just getting into the flow of their offense."
The carnage actually started in the final minutes of the first quarter.
The Jazz trailed by just one point with 1:30 left in the period. But Andrei Kirilenko and Williams both missed jumpers while the Lakers' Pau Gasol made one and Shannon Brown drove past Korver for his earth-shaking jam with 1.6 seconds left and a 29-24 lead.
And when Brown soared for another thunderous dunk after Price dribbled off his foot, the rout was on.
The Lakers used a 16-5 run before the quarter was half over to take control en route to a 58-41 halftime lead -- they shot 50 percent before halftime -- and even the Jazz's exhilarating third-quarter rally wasn't enough to overcome it.
"We didn't just lay down," Williams said.
Still, the hole the Jazz dug was just too deep.
Though they cut the lead to five points in the third quarter, it was back up to 13 by the start of the fourth -- it eventually bulged to 20 again -- and the Jazz were back on the road to the offseason.
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