An onslaught of late-game 3-pointers one from Deron Williams, two from Mehmet Okur, two from Andrei Kirilenko and two failed trey tries in the waning seconds sure did make things interesting.
But for a second straight year, the lure of rest and relaxation ultimately trumped the task at hand and a Jazz season ended in disappointment tinged with controversy.
One night after Kirilenko skipped practice and traveled to San Francisco to tend to family vacation-related visa issues, the Jazz on Friday fell 108-105 to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference semifinal series.
The Lakers beat Utah 4-2 in the best-of-seven playoff series, leaving all members of coach Jerry Sloan's club free now to pursue their fancy.
All the ritz and glitz the south of France Kirilenko's preferred destination has to offer.
"It looked like if we could just get a little run, I thought we could get back in the ballgame," Sloan said. "But we couldn't settle down. We were fighting against ourselves a little bit."
Until, that is, the very end.
Before all was done, the Jazz did throw something of a fit, with not everyone, apparently, quite ready to part ways for the summer.
Down by 19 at halftime, and by 11 with fewer than three minutes to go, Williams who after Utah's Western Conference finals loss to San Antonio last May criticized unnamed teammates for having made early vacation plans hit the first of Utah's late five treys.
Kirilenko who had Sloan's permission to tend to personal matters Thursday, though apparently not the blessing of unhappy teammates made the last two, including one with 16.3 seconds remaining to make it 105-103 Lakers.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant who scored a game-high 34 points, his fifth 33-plus-point game of the series answered with two free throws, and a Kyle Korver-fed dunk by Paul Millsap left the Jazz down 107-105 with 13.1 seconds left.
Ex-Jazz guard Derek Fisher of the Lakers made the first but missed the second of two freebies with 12.7 seconds to go, giving the Jazz one last chance to force a potential overtime and perhaps extend the series to a Game 7 on Monday in Los Angeles.
That, though, is when the Jazz's trey-try luck dried up.
Korver, close enough to the long-distance line that his attempt might have been ruled a 2, passed back to Okur, who missed the mark.
Okur's rebound went to Williams, but his deep 3 failed to fall as well. Okur got that board, but by the time he passed back to Korver behind the line time, and a season, had expired.
"We got down so much, but we fought back and got back into the game," Jazz shooting guard Ronnie Brewer said. "We showed a lot of heart from our team. We've just got to find a better way to start the game."
"It was tough," Williams added. "It was the same thing that hurt us the first two games in L.A. it was our starts, and it hurt us again."
Indeed, an opening half that began terribly for the Jazz early 7-0 Lakers lead ended even worse.
Fisher, the beneficiary of an arguably generous continuation call that went against reserve swingman C.J. Miles midway through the second quarter, hit a 3-pointer to make it 59-43 Lakers with a minute-and-a-half to go before the break.
Two Jazz turnovers later (one by Miles, one by Williams), Jazz All-Star Carlos Boozer who fouled out with more than four minutes to go in the fourth, 14 rebounds but just 12 points to his credit had a basket taken away for driving into Lakers big man Lamar Odom.
And about 12 seconds later, with 0.9 seconds to go before the break, Williams was tagged for fouling Fisher on the left arm. Fisher was behind the 3-point line on the play, and his three free throws sent L.A. into halftime up 62-43.
The Jazz used eight points from Okur to help outscore the Lakers 27-24 in the third, but they still trailed by 16 heading into the fourth.
All five Laker starters scored in double figures as L.A. led from wire-to-wire. All five Jazz starters did as well, with Williams finishing with a team-high 21 points.
Williams (who also had a game-high 14 assists), Okur (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Boozer all posted double-doubles leaving the Jazz with hope for the future.
"We pretty much have everybody coming back," Williams said. "A great coaching staff, a great nucleus. We think we can win a championship."MISC.: Bryant had 16 points at halftime; Fisher, who finished with 16, had 13. No one with the Jazz scored in double digits before the break. ... Lakers big man Pau Gasol had 11 of his 13 rebounds in the first two quarters. ... The Lakers shot 50 percent from the field (35-of-70); the Jazz, 38.1 percent (37-of-97).
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