AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
It wasn’t easy but in the end the Lakers won Game 5, and took a 3-2 lead over the Denver Nuggets, led by Kobe Bryant of course. But it wasn’t just his scoring that made the difference.
Kobe only took 13 shots in the game, and spent the 4th quarter dishing the ball to his open teammates leading the team in assist, with 8. Most of those assist went to Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.
Kobe said after the game that he took a gamble making himself the decoy in order to draw double teams so that he could get his team mates involved, which worked out with several of his assist coming from double teams. The Lakers got off to an 11-0 run, which gave them their first lead of the second half.
Combined the three scored all but 7 of the Lakers 4th quarter points. Odom took advantage of the opportunity scoring 19 points while grabbing 14 rebounds, and Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Shannon Brown hit a 22 footer with the shot clock expiring, which injected even more energy to the Staples Center, which was capped off by 2 free throws made by Derek Fisher.
Plus the Lakers made some defensive adjustments that helped them grab the victory, and the major one was double-teaming Chauncey Billups, something they haven’t done through this entire series. The Lakers also had four big blocks down the stretch to energize their defense and take them over the top.
Despite Carmelo Anthony going for 31 points, the Nuggets only scored 5 points in the first 7 minutes of the 4th quarter, versus the Lakers’ 13 points. JR Smith was 1-10 from the 3-point line, 3-13 over all. Kenyon Martin and Billups only scored 12 points a piece, as the Nuggets just didn’t have enough in them to finish the game.
The final score Los Angeles 103 Denver 94. Game 6 takes place Friday from the Pepsi Center in Denver where the nuggets have only lost once in the post season, unfortunately it was to the Lakers.