The Lakers won a closely contested battled in Game 5, 111-104, behind a gutsy effort by Kobe Bryant and a balanced scoring attack from the rest of the Lakers starters.
With L.A. clinging to a slim lead for the entire fourth quarter, Lamar Odom (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Pau Gasol (21 points, eight assists) shared the role of finisher, with the versatile forward emphatically throwing down two dunks in the final minutes of the game and the Spanish center hammering home a dunk in the final minute of the game to seal the narrow victory for the purple and gold.
“We couldn’t get over the hump,” said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan whose team trailed the entire 48 minutes. “We were right there, but we never did get there. As I recall, we never could get over the hump and put the pressure on them.”
After the game, Coach Jackson said that he was not particularly happy with the team’s overall effort, but did credit the team for coming out and sustaining a high energy level throughout the game.
Jackson said, “I thought we were a little bit excited and didn’t have the kind of poise I wanted to see.”
The Lakers coach said that he thought Kobe was effective at allowing the game to come to him, even though the MVP only took a total of 10 shots. Of the 10, Jackson said that he thought seven of them were high-percentage attempts, but did notice that Bryant didn’t have his usual elevation on his shot.
Jackson also praised the all-around effort of Lamar Odom, who came through with several momentum-changing dunks in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers maintain their lead.
“We liked Lamar, what he did out there,” said Jackson. “He gave us some big game…”
With the win, the home team has won 19 of 20 home games in the Second Round–an astonishing statistic that Jackson says is due to parody and an evening out of talent level amongst the remaining playoff teams.