Playoffs roundup: Lakers finish off Jazz

Hawks take down Heat to even series 2-2
Hawks 81 at Heat 71

That notion suggesting the Atlanta Hawks cannot win on the road at playoff time? Forget it. var pollWidth=250; The Hawks put that one to rest – saving their season as well. Zaza Pachulia – with a black right eye for his trouble – finished with 12 points and 18 rebounds, and Atlanta raced out to a huge first-half lead and frustrated Dwyane Wade endlessly in beating the Miami Heat 81-71 Monday night, tying the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at two games apiece.

Nuggets tie playoff mark in Game 4 rout of Hornets, take 3-1 lead
Nuggets 121 at Hornets 63

George Karl scanned two decades of NBA coaching memories and failed to find an instance when one of his teams played as well, from start to finish, as his Denver Nuggets did in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against New Orleans. But then, no one has seen a playoff whipping as bad as the Nuggets put on the Hornets in more than half a century. Carmelo Anthony scored all of his 26 points in the first three quarters, and Denver thoroughly dismantled New Orleans 121-63 on Monday night to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Lakers finish off Jazz in Game 5
Jazz 96 at Lakers 107

The 3-pointers, slam dunks and Kobe Bryant’s fadeaway jumper as he fell on his backside were all impressive. The Los Angeles Lakers letting the Utah Jazz shave a 22-point lead all the way down to six wasn’t quite as cool. Bryant and the Lakers are moving on in the NBA playoffs – as if that was really in doubt. It’s just that even as they ran away from the Jazz 107-96 on Monday night, they still left some questions about their defense. With Bryant scoring 31 points and Lamar Odom adding 26 points and 15 rebounds, the Lakers finished the opening-round series in five games to earn a few days rest.