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Crawford helps Hawks eliminate Bucks

Playoff rookie Jamal Crawford scored 22 points, Al Horford put up a double-double and the Atlanta Hawks pulled away for a 95-74 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday and a 4-3 triumph in the tougher-than-expected series.

Third-seeded Atlanta advanced to face No. 2 Orlando in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Magic, which beat the Hawks in three out of four regular-season meetings and have been resting since a sweep of Charlotte last Monday, will host the first two games of the series beginning Tuesday night.

The Bucks made less than a third of their shots (28-for-86), were blocked eight times and, clearly rattled, threw up at least three air balls.

They simply didn't have enough weapons to cope with an Atlanta team that was fired up and ready to give its best. Rookie Brandon Jennings led the way with just 15 points.

Crawford hit 8 of 16 shots, including a pair of three-pointers. Horford worked hard at both ends of the court, finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Mike Bibby scored 15 points and hit several big shots, including an off-balance, one-handed fling from 20 feet that just beat the shot clock. Smith also had 15 despite early foul trouble, and Atlanta romped, even though Joe Johnson, its best player, was held to eight points and 4-for-14 shooting.

Lakers 104, Jazz 99Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his 31 points in the final four minutes, and the host Los Angeles Lakers blew a fourth-quarter lead before rallying in their second-round series opener.

Pau Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the top-seeded Lakers, who played a dismal final period before Bryant seized control.

Last season's NBA Finals MVP coolly scored seven consecutive points to erase Utah's four-point lead, followed by a dynamic slice through the lane for a layup with 22.6 seconds left.

The clubs are meeting in the postseason for the third consecutive year after the Lakers ended Utah's last two seasons, including a first-round victory in 2009.

Deron Williams scored 24 points for fifth-seeded Utah, which managed just one more field goal after taking a 93-89 lead with 4:10 to play. Utah has lost 15 straight to the Lakers at Staples Center, including seven playoff games.

Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Utah. Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles contributed 16 points apiece, including several difficult baskets in the fourth quarter while the Jazz surged ahead with a 12-1 run.

- AP

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