In the third game of the Western Conference semifinal between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, things once again came right down to the wire. The Lakers were looking to avoid going down 3-0 in the first game of the series at the Staples Center. The Lakers were able to take a late lead and hang on in a 99-96 win. The Thunder now lead the series 2-1.
The Lakers fell behind early and fought hard for the entire game to keep things close, led once again by Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers finally went back ahead with just over a minute left to play as Bryant drew a fortunate foul call off the ball and nailed both free throws to put Los Angeles up 93-92. After the Thunder reclaimed the lead, Bryant drew another foul and again nailed both free throws to give the Lakers a one-point lead. The Thunder missed their shot with under 20 seconds left and fouled Metta World Peace, who sank both free throws to give Los Angeles a 97-94 lead. The Thunder scored a lightning-quick bucket to cut it to one and fouled Bryant again with 9.8 seconds left, who once again knocked in both free throws to finish 18-for-18 from the line. The last Thunder shot would not go and the Lakers picked up the victory.
Bryant had 36 points in the victory, leading all scorers. Kevin Durant had 31 points for the Thunder in the loss.