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Nuggets avoid elimination, hold off Lakers 102-99
Nuggets avoid 1st-round elimination, surviving Kobe's 43-point game for 102-99 win in Game 5
By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) ' Andre Miller scored 24 points, including two free throws with 12.8 seconds left, and the Denver Nuggets survived Kobe Bryant's late scoring barrage in a 43-point performance, avoiding playoff elimination with a 102-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 on Tuesday night.

JaVale McGee had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Nuggets, who trimmed the Lakers' series lead to 3-2, but only after a hair-raising finish.

Denver had a 15-point lead midway through the fourth quarter against the lifeless Lakers, but Bryant engineered a stunning comeback before his final three shots missed. Bryant scored 12 points in the final 4:47, hitting four 3-pointers that trimmed the Nuggets' lead to 98-96 with 59 seconds left.



After Bryant missed two late tying attempts, Los Angeles had two more chances to tie near the buzzer, but Bryant and Ramon Sessions missed 3-pointers.

Game 6 is Thursday night in Denver.


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