Salt Lake City Kobe Bryant scored 34 points, and Los Angeles held off a furious rally by the Utah Jazz for a 108-105 victory Friday night, putting the Lakers in the Western Conference finals for the first time in four years.
The Jazz trailed by 19 at halftime and 16 at the end of the third quarter, but hit a flurry of three-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 three-pointers in the closing seconds, and Utah's season was over.
It was the only victory by the visiting team in the series and kept the Lakers from having to serve as host for Game 7 on Monday, instead giving Bryant a chance to rest his ailing back. The Lakers made 11 of 13 foul shots in the fourth quarter while barely holding off Utah's rally.
Bryant also had eight points and six assists. Pau Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, who get to sit back and wait for the winner of the San Antonio-New Orleans series.
Williams led Utah with 21 points and 14 assists.
Mehmet Okur hit two three-pointers in the fourth quarter during Utah's comeback. The Jazz were 5-for-8 from beyond the arc in the final period, but could not quite overcome the huge lead the Lakers had built through the first three quarters.