Thanks to the steady play of Kobe and a return to form by key role players, the Lakers thwarted San Antonio’s last-minute rally, 93-91, and now stand just one away game from a birth in the NBA Finals. San Antonio nearly had a chance to either tie or win the game with no time remaining in regulation, but the officials ruled no foul on a bump by Derek Fisher on Brent Barry as he was going up for a three point attempt.
“I felt like I left my feet with enough distance to come down,” said Fisher. “I think the contact was more incidental on that part of both players. I would like to think if the guy is just shooting and the defender runs right through him, they would call the foul.”
Foul or no foul, Lamar Odom credited the Spurs’ resilience in the final minute and a half of the fourth quarter after the Lakers had built a nine point lead.
“They made plays…they’re a good team,” said Odom. “It’s a team that’s been there and done that. It showed tonight. They have the hearts of a champion, and they showed it right to the last second.”
Bryant led the Lakers with 28 points followed by a strong comeback game from Odom, who scored several key baskets down the stretch for the Lakers.
“It’s big for us as a team…for us to make plays for each other down the stretch at the end of the game,” said Odom. “We’re in a hostile environment. It was huge for our team.”
With the Lakers heading home with a chance to close out the series, Odom reflected on his team’s growth as a road team during this year’s playoffs.
“Utah was great education for us as a team,” said Odom. “That was a great step. When we got that done we got our confidence level up that we can go on the road and win. We have mature players on the team like Kobe and Derek that have been here before that keep us together.”