It was a fitting ending to a game that seemed to lack clarity. Ron Artest plucked Kobe Bryant’s airball out of the hands of the Phoenix Suns and dropped the ball into the basket at the final buzzer, providing the Lakers with a jaw-dropping victory in Game 5 tonight. Artest scored only four points on 2-for-9 shooting to help the Lakers take a 3-2 series lead. Game 6 is in Phoenix on Saturday. The Lakers let an 18-point lead slip away. Jason Richardson tied the score at 101-all with a 3-point that banked in with 3.5 seconds left. Bryant missed a 3 at the other end, but Artest brushed past Richardson to get the rebound and put the ball back in the basket at the buzzer.
“Just gotta continue to play,” Artest said. “I was kind of not playing my game from the beginning of the game. And it kind of carried over. So, in the second half, I was finding my way a little bit. I made some good passes and good steals and got some rebounds. So, I guess that aggressive play can carry over into that last possession.”