After admitting he was in a bit of a slump, Carlos Boozer broke out with a 20-20 game, scoring 27 points and hauling in 20 rebounds. The Lakers struggled sharing the basketball. They had only 14 assists on 32 field goals and had more turnovers (18) than assists.
The Lakers threatened to blow it open early, as they ran out to an 11-3 lead in the first three minutes, scoring on their first five possessions. The Jazz fought through their slow start, though, tying the game at 11 with an 8-0 run. It ended tied at 23. Vladimir Radmanovic led the Lakers with eight points. Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer each had seven to lead the Jazz.
The Jazz hit 12-of-19 shots on their way to a 29-point quarter. The bench came to life, scoring 13 points, with Matt Harpring getting six, Kyle Korver five and Paul Millsap two. Mehmet Okur scored seven to lead Utah. The Lakers, meanwhile, connected on only 5-of-17 shots and scored 20 points. Lamar Odom led Los Angeles with seven points as Utah led 52-43 at halftime.
Kobe Bryant woke up. After having only eight points in the first half, he scored 14 in the quarter to lead Los Angeles to 29 points. Okur hit two big 3-pointers, and Boozer scored six. Both teams had hot-shooting quarters as the Jazz were 10-of-19 and the Lakers went 12-for-18. Williams had six assists in the quarter as Utah led 79-72.
Utah extended its seven-point lead to as many as 12 at 86-74, but also saw the lead shrink to as little as three at 95-92 with 3:22 left. Boozer scored 11 points in the quarter to preserve the Jazz lead, with all the points coming in a four minute span. The Lakers made 14-of-22 free throws in the quarter to keep it close, and Bryant scored 12 of the teams 27 points including 6-of-7 at the free throw line.
Up next: Game 4 in SLC Sunday
Game 4 has traditionally been unkind to the Jazz in a playoff series. They are 17-22 overall with an 8-11 record at home, but 6-6 at EnergySolutions Arena. On the bright side, Utah is 21-3 at ESA overall in the conference semifinals. With the Game 3 win, they now boast a 6-0 playoff record against the Lakers at ESA.