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Boozer, Fisher carry Jazz past Warriors for 3-1 series lead

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Utah Jazz sure knew how to close a great show.

When the Golden State Warriors wanted to run their pell-mell offense Sunday night, the Jazz patiently slowed the tempo. When Baron Davis attempted his usual magic tricks, Utah pulled back the curtain with dogged defense.

And when a tight game came down to the final minutes, Derek Fisher upstaged the Warriors with a shooting show of his own that put the businesslike Jazz on the edge of an unlikely stage: the Western Conference finals.

Carlos Boozer had 34 points and 12 rebounds and the Jazz handed the eighth-seeded Warriors their first home loss of the postseason, 115-101 on Sunday to put Utah up 3-1 in their second-round playoff series.

Fisher scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for the surprising Jazz, who hadn't been to the playoffs since the Stockton-to-Malone era ended in 2003. Utah won the Northwest Division title this season, but is learning the playoff game on the fly.

The Warriors had another golden mass of fans -- but the Jazz had more brass.

"That was a big step in the growth process for us as a team," said Fisher, who missed the series opener and dramatically returned during Game 2 after tending to his daughter's serious health problem.

"It was like we knew what to expect. It was a great atmosphere to play in, but we handled it like pros."

With a poised, gritty performance that should have made the former Jazz greats proud, Utah earned the chance to clinch its first trip to the conference finals since 1998 with a victory at home in Game 5 on Tuesday night, ending the Warriors' improbable run of playoff excitement.

Deron Williams had 20 points and 13 assists as the Jazz finally solved the riddle of Oracle Arena, where the underdog Warriors won their first four playoff home games with uptempo offense and fan support that dazzled the nation.

But with a Jerry Sloan game plan that hearkened back to those bruising days when Karl Malone and John Stockton ruled the West, Utah simply bullied Golden State.

"We're doing better staying with what they're trying to take away from us," Sloan said. "Our team hasn't had to make these adjustments, but our guys are getting better and better."

Al Harrington scored 24 points before fouling out, but Baron Davis had just 15 points and seven assists. The Warriors were a dissonant mess through most of their first home loss in 10 games dating to the regular season -- yet they still held a lead in the final minutes before Utah's superior poise won it again.

Sleepy Floyd had his 51-point playoff game for the Warriors against the Los Angeles Lakers on Mother's Day 20 years ago, but Davis had no such heroics left. The Warriors' leader went 6-for-16, including 2-of-8 on 3-pointers.

"I just didn't find it," Davis said. "It's all on me. It's not on my teammates. It starts on me and ends on me. I have to assume the responsibility for this. ... It's my job to get that motor running and get us to playing the right basketball we need to be playing."

Fisher's 3-pointer put Utah ahead for good with 5:57 left, and the veteran guard -- traded by Golden State to the Jazz last summer -- hit a long jumper and another 3-pointer in the final minutes to silence the Oakland din.

"This is an environment a lot of our guys hadn't been in before, and I'm glad I was able to use some of my experience to help us tonight," Fisher said.

Fisher dropped to the floor in a heap after a scary collision with Davis with 1:37 left, but eventually got up to finish the game.

Jason Richardson then was ejected for clotheslining Mehmet Okur on a drive to the basket with 37 seconds left, prompting angry shouts by both players. Okur added one last dig at the Warriors, hitting a 3-pointer when Utah had a 13-point lead and 10 seconds to play.

Afterward, both Fisher and Okur said the incidents were no cause for anger or concern. Okur said he "overreacted."

Utah finished the game on a 22-10 run, including a 10-2 push in less than 2 minutes after Richardson's 3-pointer with 3:47 left pulled Golden State to 93-91.

"I don't think we had the same bounce that we had the other night," Harrington said. "It wasn't for lack of effort, but we never really hit that gear where we separated from the other team. We've just got to find a way to play at the speed we want to play at."

Poor free-throw shooting -- the Warriors' undoing in Game 2 -- hurt them again in Game 4. Golden State was 21-of-34 from the line, including back-to-back misses by Davis with 4:39 to play.

Stephen Jackson scored 24 points but committed six turnovers and took a spate of foolish shots, while Richardson went nearly 42 minutes between baskets on the way to seven points.

Game notes
Actress Jessica Alba and boyfriend Cash Warren were back at courtside in Oakland, wearing yellow "We Believe" T-shirts. Warren and Davis played high-school basketball together in Santa Monica. ... Utah G Dee Brown, who sprained his neck in Game 2, sat out again.