Lakers Inch Closer To Finals; Nips Nuggets 103-94

John Louie RamosSenior Writer IMay 28, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 27:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts alongside teammate Pau Gasol #16 in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 27, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

I'll lay it out simple—Phil Jackson must have been drunk when he wrote the book, "L.A. Lakers: A team in search of it's soul."

Maybe yes, maybe no.

However, soul searching wasn't the case Wednesday night as the Los Angeles Lakers displayed commendable cohesiveness and contagious defense en route to a 103-94 victory over the dangerous Denver Nuggets.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers scoring parade with 22 points but no star shined brighter than Lamar Odom who exploded for the first time in the series.

After a sub-par performance in the first four games of the Western Conference Finals, Odom finally stamped his mark, registering 19 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, a ton of hustle, and a lot of heart in the series' tie-breaker.

The Lakers also had big boosts from Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza, Luke Walton, and Shannon Brown.

Fisher and Bynum jumped off to a quick start and finished the game with 12 and nine points apiece. Walton sustained the energy in the second quarter, while Ariza and Gasol, the usual suspects, starred in timely plays.

Conversely, Brown also had a big impact, especially in piloting a 21-5 run that started with a vivacious dunk right in the face of the Nuggets' Chris Andersen.

On the Nuggets' side, Anthony led the charge with 31 points.

Chauncey Billups added 12 points but sat out the majority of the first half due to foul trouble.

With the win, the Lakers jump off to a 3-2 series lead and are one win away from advancing to the NBA finals for the second consecutive year.