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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Utah Sends Youthful Lakers Packing

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Karl Malone scored six of his 32 points in overtime and grabbed 20 rebounds to lead the Utah Jazz into the Western Conference finals with a tough 98-93 win over the young Los Angeles Lakers.


"It was a hard fought victory," said Malone.


"They played their butts off. They gave us all we could handle."


The Jazz's 4-1 victory Monday in the best-of-7 series put Utah in the conference finals for the fourth time in six years. The Jazz will play the winner of the other West semifinal between Houston and Seattle.


In Monday's other NBA playoff game, the New York Knicks went up 3-1 over the Miami Heat with an 89-76 victory sparked by 21 points from John Starks and 20 from Patrick Ewing.


But in Salt Lake City, the Lakers showed their youth with a flurry of choke shots at crunch time. These included an air ball from 25-year-old Nick Van Exel, who led Los Angeles with 26 points, and 18-year-old Kobe Bryant -- who had an air ball on a potential game-winner at the end of regulation.


John Stockton had 24 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field and 10 assists, and Bryon Russell added 22 points for the Jazz.


Malone had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the first half, when the Jazz built a 53-45 lead.


Utah opened its biggest lead at 66-53, but the Lakers scored the last eight points of the third quarter and eight of the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to take a 69-68 lead.


In New York, Starks, who hit just 5 of 24 shots from the field in the first three games of the series, converted 9 of 12 this time.


New York could close out the series by winning Game 5 Wednesday night at Miami. The Knicks, who are 6-1 in the postseason, have won three of four games at Miami this season.


Allan Houston scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half when the Knicks built a 15-point lead. Houston had 10 points and Starks eight in a decisive 21-5 second-quarter run.


Miami hit just 3 of 13 shots from the field and missed 7 of 15 free throws in the second quarter when they were outscored 28-14. The Knicks shot 60 percent from the field (9 of 15) in the quarter.