Kobe Leads Laker Rally to Take Game 3
What a game!
The Western Conference Finals match-up between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets has been producing exciting games and Game Three was no exception: down by eight points entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers mounted a rally and, like Game Two, it came down the last 30 seconds.
Kobe Bryant played the role of Captain Clutch for the Lakers, scoring 41 points in the game and eight points in the final minute, but it was the Trevor Ariza‘s steal on the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony with 36 seconds left that turned the tide completely in the Lakers’ favor. (In Game One, Ariza stole an inbound pass late in the game to seal the Lakers’ win.) Prior to Ariza’s key play, Kobe hit a dagger three-ball to have the Lakers up by one point.
The Nuggets seemed to be poised for a big run of their own after Chauncey Billups hit a four-point play with four minutes to go, but Pau Gasol successfully made a couple of post-up baskets to counter. Nuggets guard J.R. Smith hit a jumper over Derek Fisher and that set-up Kobe’s clutch three-pointer over Smith.
Apart from the late-game key plays, the Lakers played adequate defense on the Nuggets on the final quarter. The Nuggets scored 79 points after three quarters, but were held to only 18 in the fourth, and they did not score on a basket until Kenyon Martin’s dunk with six minutes to go. Good thing the Lakers kept their composure, as they survived brutally bad production from started Andrew Bynum and Fisher. (Both of them combined for 4-for-12 shooting and 3-for-8 FT shooting.)
The Los Angeles Lakers have home-court advantage again, thanks to Kobe Bryant’s clutch performance.
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