After the Lakers were down by as many as 15, Kobe Bryant (43 points) nearly staged the craziest game-winning shooting exhibition of his career. First, he made a triple with a little over two minutes left to cut it to four. Just a few possessions later, Bryant hit another one from the same exact spot to cut it to three. Then he splashed an impossible triple in the corner with Danilo Gallinari all over him. After some more Denver free throws, with the Lakers down three, with still enough time to go inside for a quick two, Kobe said f— it and pulled up almost immediately on touching it. The shot was off by inches. Eventually, the Nuggets did just enough to survive 102-99 even as the Lakers (Bryant and Ramon Sessions) had two great looks to send it to overtime … The Nuggets’ bench was sensational. Andre Miller (24 points, eight assists) was so good he had Chuck comparing him to Tim Hardaway of all people after the game, and JaVale McGee (21 points, 14 rebounds) dominated Andrew Bynum (16 points, 11 rebounds) for long stretches throughout the game … And Philadelphia spent 48 minutes shooting blanks in Chicago, finishing Game 5 at barely above 32 percent from the floor. Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer combined to score 43 points (with 21 rebounds) as The Walking Dead won 77-69, while Philly’s leading scorer (Jrue Holiday) took 17 shots to score 16 points. The Bulls were smart. After three straight games where they flamed out in the second half, Chicago went to the only two guys they could. Boozer took 20 shots. Deng had 19. The rest of the team had only 43. They might not win the series – in fact, we’re betting it ends in Game 6 in Pennsylvania. But at least this way, with less air balls and ugly turnovers, we can stomach a little more of their offense … We’re out like Orlando.
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