Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lakers Pull Ahead. Now Up 3-2

Last night's Game 5 match-up in the Western Conference Finals was a critical game for both teams. If the Nuggets stole one in L.A., then they could wrap the series up on their home court in Game 6. The Lakers needed to avenge their 19 point loss in Game 4 and retake the momentum of the series. Los Angeles overcame the Nuggets with a big 4th quarter to win 103-94. 

The Lakers performance in the final frame was the difference, because heading into the 4th quarter, the Nuggets and Lakers were tied 76-76. The teams were so evenly matched, that they each put up the same number of points in the first and second quarters as well. This game shouldn't be too surprising as this entire series has been crazy. In five games Denver has trailed only twice entering the 4th quarter. Each of those times the Nuggets were just down a single point. Despite having a good opportunity to win entering the 4th quarter of each game, the Nuggets remain down 3-2 in the series. Overall Denver has outscored the Lakers 520-515, but in the 4th quarter the Lakers are up 147-132. The Lakers have scored almost 29% of their points in that deciding quarter. With the exception of Game 4, Denver has not been able to put the Lakers away when they have them on the ropes. In Games 1 and 3 the Nuggets were in a prime position to win the game in the 4th, but couldn't put the nail in the coffin. If Denver is going to come back and win this series they will need to elevate their play in the 4th quarter to match the Lakers. This one should be decided in seven games but the way this series is going I wouldn't be surprised to see the Lakers win out in Denver.

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