Chauncey Billups was off to a good start by making all three of his shots and scoring nine points. Kobe Bryant took just two shots. The physical play that has defined the series has marked this game, too. Denver outrebounded the Lakes, 14-9.
Lakers 25, Nuggets 25
The Lakers bench was solid as it made 5 of 12 shots. Bryant took just two shots again. Carmelo Anthony scored 10 points, but the Nuggets had just two offensive rebounds. Sasha Vujacic made a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to tie the game.
Lakers 56, Nuggets 56
Shannon Brown made two consecutive baskets, including an unbelievable one-handed dunk over Chris Anderson. Lamar Odom, who played extensively at point guard, followed the dunk with a 3-pointer. The Nuggets squandered a six-point lead. Pau Gasol took and made just one shot.
Lakers 76, Nuggets 76
The Lakers dunked over the Nuggets at will and won the physical battle. Kobe Bryant was whacked in the face by Carmelo Anthony, then calmly made both free throws. The Nuggets made just four field goals in this span.
Lakers 103, Nuggets 94
Odom had a double-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and four blocks. Odom was in a groove. The highlight of the night was Odom’s dunk over Chris Anderson to give the Lakers an 81-76 lead. Odom even showed his versatility by playing a little point guard in the second half.
The Nuggets coach said before Wednesday’s game that it’s difficult for the team that loses Game 5 to overcome it. Asked what his team would think if they lost and heard he said that, Karl stammered that his players don’t know what he says in the pre-game chats. Hellllo, George! There’s this thing called the Internet.
The number of shots Kobe Bryant took in the first half. Bryant had two in the first quarter and two in the second. This was a good thing in that the bench was more involved and made 5 of 12 shots in the second quarter. And Bryant did his thing in the third quarter, making two shots in the first three minutes.
“Somewhere over the last six weeks, we’ve become the bad boys of the NBA … I think we want to play aggressive basketball. What was Phil’s term? Unsportsmanlike? I don’t think we’re unsportsmanlike.”
— Nuggets coach George Karl on the physical nature of his team