SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from returning to the NBA Finals.
Bryant had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs, 93-91, last night to take a lead of three games to one in the Western Conference finals.
It was the Spurs' first home loss this postseason, and the defending champions face elimination when Game 5 is played in Los Angeles tomorrow.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Reserve Brent Barry had 23 points, and his last-second three-point attempt could have given the Spurs the win. He claimed he was fouled on the play by Derek Fisher, but there was no call.
"If I was an official I wouldn't have called that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
The Lakers led all night after opening a 22-8 lead. The Spurs got within 81-79 in the fourth quarter, but then the Lakers scored seven straight points.
Lamar Odom scored 16 points for Los Angeles, eight in the fourth quarter.
With the Lakers up by 93-86 and 50 seconds to play, Pau Gasol missed two free throws after being fouled by San Antonio's Fabricio Oberto.
Manu Ginobili, who had struggled all night, hit a three-pointer to bring the Spurs within four. After a miss by Bryant, Tony Parker scored on a break when Odom was called for goaltending, bringing the Spurs within 93-91 with 28 seconds to play.
Fisher missed a shot for Los Angeles, but the ball went out of bounds and remained in the Lakers' possession with two seconds on the shot clock.
Bryant missed a jumper, and the Spurs had 2.1 seconds left. When Barry's three missed, Bryant pumped his fists in the air, and the Lakers were headed home with command of the series.
Pistons vs. Celtics.
Doc Rivers wants his players to start listening to Pistons forward Antonio McDyess.
It wouldn't hurt if they started guarding him, too.
McDyess had his best game of the postseason in Detroit's Game 4 victory over Boston, then reminded his teammates that they can't afford to squander an opportunity to win a championship. A day later, Rivers suggested that the Celtics could also learn from his message.
"I think the veterans really get that. I think the young ones always think there's another opportunity," Rivers said after practice yesterday. "The whole thing is to show them how close we are, the sense of urgency they have to have. Because the other team has it."
McDyess had 21 points and 16 rebounds - both playoff highs - to lead the Pistons to a 94-75 victory over the Celtics on Monday night and even the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece. The best-of-seven series returns to Boston tonight for Game 5.