Nuggets 102, Lakers 99: Closeout Games Are Maybe Not That Easy

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 08: Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot between Andre Miller #24 and JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2012 at Staples Center 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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Lakers are heading back to Denver. Everything was set up for them to bounce the Nuggets out of the playoffs with a win at Staples tonight, but they failed to show up until it was too late, falling to the Nugs 102 to 99. Kobe Bryant scored 43 points and nearly dragged his team to a heart-stopping win with some late threes, but he got scarcely any help from his fellow superstars Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Drew was a statue on defense, while Pau scored only nine points on 4-for-11 shooting. Led by Andre Miller (24 points on 8-for-11 shooting, 8 assists) and JaVale McGee (21 points, 14 boards and a late, game-saving block of a Gasol dunk attempt), the Nugs played with energy and smarts.

Game Six will be Thursday evening. Game Seven, now an all too plausible thought, would be Saturday.

More to come later tonight. This is your postgame thread.

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