After starting the game on the wrong foot, the Lakers battled a tough 17-point deficit and clutched the Finals ticket over the defending champions San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Lakers main scorer, 2008 Season MVP Kobe Bryant scorched the floor with 39 points, 17 nailed in the fourth period. Though the Spurs attempted a comeback, the Lakers held them off in the final stretch of the game.
Lamar Odom scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, while Pau Gasol chipped in 12 markers, a career playoff-high of 19 rebounds and 5 assists.
Tim Duncan, in a vain effort to bring the series back to San Antonio, delivered 19 points, crashed 15 boards, and dished 10 assists. 2007 Finals MVP Tony parker was the high scorer for the Spurs with 23 points. Michael Finley notched 13, while Brent Barry and Kurt Thomas both had 11 points. Manu Ginobili, who scored 30 points in Game 3, was shut down completely, scoring only 9 points.
The Lakers now advance to the Finals and await the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship between Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons. Celtics will come to Game 6 leading the series 3-2 over the Pistons. Game 6 is on Friday, at the Palace of Auburn Hills.