Ron Artest Buzzer-Beater Helps Lakers Sink Suns to Gain 3-2 Lead

Louie LongoriaCorrespondent IMay 28, 2010


Tonight's finish was truly a Hollywood ending.

Scoring only four points, but his last two perhaps the most important in this series, Ron Artest's last-second put back helped lift the Lakers to a 103-101 win in Game 5 of their Western Conference Finals Series to give L.A. a 3-2 series lead.

Being in the right position was Artest who caught a Kobe airball, after Bryant was double-teamed by Grant Hill and Steve Nash, and scored as time expired to the eruption of the crowd at the Staples Center.

Just before that sequence, Jason Richardson hit a three-pointer, his only three of the game, with 3.5 seconds left to tie the game at 101.

Phoenix trailed by as much as 18 points in the game, trailing 74-56 late in the third quarter, before storming back to tie the game after Richardson's 3-pointer.

Kobe Bryant led 4 Lakers in double figures, nearly posting his first career postseason triple-double, with 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

But Los Angeles was able to improve drastically in one category, and that was the production of its supporting cast.

Derek Fisher had a series-high 22 points, and Lamar Odom posted a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

L.A.'s bench was only outscored by seven points tonight, as opposed to the 34 point bench differential in favor of Phoenix in Game 4.

The Lakers were also the aggressors, out rebounding Phoenix by a 49-40 margin.

L.A. also put pressure on the Suns, forcing Phoenix into 15 turnovers, while only committing 10 themselves. One category they need to continue to win, if they want to advance to their third straight NBA Finals and play for their 16th NBA Championship.

Steve Nash put forth a valiant effort, leading 6 Suns in double figures with 29 points and 11 assists.

Channing Frye also posted a double-double for the Suns, scoring 14 points and adding 10 rebounds.

The Lakers are now 8-2 in the 2010 playoffs when scoring over 100+ points.

Game 6 will be in Phoenix on Saturday night, where the Suns look to keep their season alive and force a Game 7.