Lakers Take 3-2 Lead

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The Los Angeles Lakers are one victory away from their second straight trip to the NBA Finals.

Kobe Bryant scored 22 points and the Lakers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals by dominating the fourth quarter of a 103-94 triumph over the Denver Nuggets in Los Angeles.

The score was tied after each of the first three quarters, the fourth time that's happened in an NBA playoff game. But the Lakers controlled the final period, opening on an 11-0 run for their first lead of the second half. Bryant, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol (pow gah-SAHL') scored all but seven of the Lakers' 27 fourth-quarter points.

Odom and Gasol each finished with double-doubles to help the Lakers overcome Carmelo Anthony's game-high 31 points. Odom contributed 19 points and 14 rebounds while Gasol chipped in 14 points and 10 boards.

Game 6 is Friday in Denver, where the teams split games 3 and 4 of the series.