The Denver Nuggets thought they had game five of their match-up against the Los Angeles Lakers in the books when veteran guard Andre Miller hit a mid-range jumper giving the visitors an 82-67 advantage with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter Tuesday night at the Staples Center. Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, was not going to let his opponents off the hook that easily however, as the Los Angeles star would bury four three-point shots down the stretch; cutting the visitors lead to 98-96 with 59 seconds left in the game. That would be as close as the home team would get though, as the Nuggets won the game 102-99, extending the series and sending the action back to Denver for game six with the Lakers holding a 3-2 edge.
The “Black Mamba” dropped 43 points in the loss for Los Angeles while Andrew Bynum recorded a double-double with 16 points for the night; they would not get the support that they needed from the rest of the roster to close the series out in five games. Denver’s two top scorers in the game came off the bench as Miller scored 24 points while center JaVale McGee racked up a double-double with 21 points in the victory.
Although Denver stayed ahead for most of the contest; every time they started to pull ahead, the Lakers would put themselves back into the game. The visitors held a seven point advantage with 39 seconds left in the first, but Bynum would hit a shot that was two-feet from the hoop and then hit two shots at the line and Denver would be on top 26-23 at the conclusion of the period.
Matt Barnes would knot up the score at 29-29 with 7:11 to play in the second as he put a three-foot shot through the cylinder. The Nuggets would once again surge ahead going on top 47-37 when rookie Kenneth Faried drove the lane putting the ball up and in with 1:39 remaining. Once again Los Angeles would tighten the game up during the closing seconds of the period as Denver would hold the upper-hand at the half with the score 49-43.
Denver would again jump ahead early in the third but Bryant would put the Lakers right back in their heels as he drained a 27-foot trey with 3:02 in the period making it a 66-63 affair. The Nuggets would take control in the closing minutes and held a 76-65 lead at the end of the quarter. After going ahead by 15 points Denver would watch their advantage shrink to just two points with 59 seconds on the clock. However, the home team could never get over the hump and the Nuggets held on for the win.
The two teams will lace them up on Thursday in Denver with the Lakers holding a 3-2 edge in the series.