Lakers give Bryant support

L.A. takes 3-2 series advantage

The Associated PressMay 28, 2009 

Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, Lamar Odom had 19 points and 14 rebounds and Pau Gasol added 14 points and 10 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 103-94 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference finals on Wednesday night.

The Lakers lead the series 3-2 and Game 6 is Friday in Denver, where the Lakers lost Game 4 by 19 points.

Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, hitting 12 of 13 free throws, and Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups added 12 points each for the Nuggets.

The score was tied after the first, second and third quarters for just the fourth time in NBA playoff history.

The Lakers opened the fourth with an 11-0 run and never trailed again.

Howard's technical rescinded: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard had his technical foul from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals rescinded by the NBA.

The NBA announced it was rescinding the foul Wednesday. Under league rules, Howard would have been automatically suspended for one game if he received a seventh technical during the playoffs.

The Magic leads the Cavaliers 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is tonight in Cleveland.

Howard and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy were baffled by the technical Tuesday, saying after the game that Orlando's center had simply made a big basket and was enthusiastic in the moment.

"I wasn't taunting Varejao or anything," Howard said after the game. "My thing, it was a tough play. He grabbed me around the neck and I made the shot."

Howard already was suspended one game in the Magic's first-round series for his elbow on 76ers center Samuel Dalembert. Howard had joked after receiving his fifth technical foul of the playoffs that he was going to start wearing thick elbow pads and duct tape his mouth.

"I might have to get some duct tape for real," Howard said after Game 4.

Jackson still talking about fine: Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson was unrepentant about being fined $25,000 by the NBA for his criticism of the referees following Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

"I didn't think very good of it at all," he said before the Lakers and Denver Nuggets met Wednesday night in Game 5. "I thought I was very conciliatory, tried to soft-pedal my comments, but that's the league for you. They'll come back and hammer you."

The Lakers organization was also fined $25,000 Tuesday.

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