The Los Angeles Lakers trailed for just about all of game five against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, eventually falling by a score of 102-99. The Lakers mounted a furious comeback attempt late, but missed 3-pointers from Kobe Bryant and Ramon Sessions in the final seconds forced a sixth game in what has been a thrilling series thus far.
Bryant went off for 43 points, needing 34 shot attempts to do so. Andrew Bynum was invisible for most of the contest, but came up big in the fourth quarter on his way to a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Matt Barnes came off the bench to score 11 points. Pau Gasol struggled for most of the game, finishing with only nine points and 10 boards.
The star of the game was Nuggets center JaVale McGee. Not only did come up with huge baskets down the stretch, but his presence was felt all night on the defensive end. The box score may say he only had two blocks, but if felt like many, many more to the Lakers. The lanky big man scored 21 points and brought down 14 rebounds.
Andre Miller led Denver with 24 points and also dished out eight assists. Aaron Afflalo scored 19, Kenneth Faried added 10 and nine rebounds and Ty Lawson distributed eight assists.
Now facing a road game in Denver, the Lakers will look to regroup and get back on track.
If there is a positive side to all of this, it does mean that Metta World Peace will be available to play beginning in either game seven of this series or the start of the Thunder series should L.A. advance.
For more news and notes on the Lakers or this first round playoff series against Denver, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.