LOS ANGELES - Ron Artest stumbled into Los Angeles Lakers playoff lore with a remarkable bank shot to beat the Phoenix Suns.

Artest rambled into the lane and beat the buzzer with a wild shot after rebounding Kobe Bryant's miss, and the Lakers edged the Suns, 103-101, Thursday night in the Western Conference finals.

Los Angeles leads the best-of-seven series, three games to two. Game 6 is Saturday night in Phoenix, where the Lakers can clinch the chance to play for their 16th championship.

Bryant had 30 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists for the Lakers, but the improbable hero of Game 5 was the only new player on the defending NBA champions' roster. Artest's rebound and score completed a 2-for-9 shooting night.

"He has an uncanny knack of doing things, and sometimes it just works out," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He just has a knack for being around crucial plays."

Jason Richardson banked in a straightaway three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left to tie it for the Suns, who clawed back from an 18-point deficit in the second half.

Bryant then missed a difficult shot from the sideline, but Artest collected the rebound and raised to his tiptoes while throwing up a hideous shot that somehow went in. Artest, who missed two open jumpers just a few seconds earlier, grabbed Bryant in a joyous bear hug while the Staples Center crowd went nuts.

Steve Nash had 29 points and 11 assists and sparked a stirring second-half effort for the Suns.

"We just didn't quite finish the game," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "I have no complaints. They played great. We hung in. We did a great job against Kobe on the last shot, just didn't come up with the rebound. To me, it's a great effort by us, and they know we're not going to go away."

The Lakers already won on a last-second layup earlier in the postseason, when Pau Gasol sent home the Oklahoma City Thunder with an offensive rebound and a score in Game 6 of the first round.

Lakers 103, Suns 101

Phoenix 21 24 27 29 – 101

L.A. Lakers 24 29 25 25 – 103

   FG   FT   Reb   

PHOENIX Min   M-A   M-A   O-T   A   PF   Pts   

Hill 30:51   3-7   3-3   1-5   1   2   10

Stoudemire 35:25   7-12   5-7   1-4   0   4   19

Lopez 11:24   0-3   0-0   1-2   0   2   0

Nash 35:23   12-20   3-5   2-3   11   1   29

Richardson 33:16   5-12   1-3   1-5   1   1   12

Frye 31:20   4-10   3-4   3-10   2   3   14

Dudley 20:34   3-5   3-4   1-4   1   0   10

Amundson 13:09   1-1   0-0   2-3   0   1   2

Dragic 12:37   1-5   0-0   0-2   1   4   3

Collins 1:17   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0

Barbosa 14:44   0-2   2-3   0-2   2   3   2

Totals 240:00   36-77   20-29   12-40   19   21   101

Percentages: FG .468, FT .690. 3-Point Goals: 9-27, .333 (Frye 3-8, Nash 2-6, Hill 1-1, Dudley 1-2, Dragic 1-3, Richardson 1-6, Barbosa 0-1). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 15 (23 Pts). Blocked Shots: 8 (Hill 3, Stoudemire 3, Frye, Richardson). Turnovers: 15 (Stoudemire 4, Amundson 2, Dragic 2, Hill 2, Nash 2, Barbosa, Lopez, Richardson). Steals: 7 (Richardson 2, Stoudemire 2, Frye, Hill, Lopez). Technical Fouls: Coach Gentry, 7:33 second; Dragic, 9:43 fourth.

   FG   FT   Reb   

L.A. LAKERS Min   M-A   M-A   O-T   A   PF   Pts   

Artest 31:08   2-9   0-0   2-5   2   4   4

Gasol 40:30   7-14   7-8   4-9   5   4   21

Bynum 18:39   0-5   2-2   5-7   0   5   2

Fisher 35:37   7-12   6-6   0-1   4   4   22

Bryant 42:37   12-27   2-3   3-11   9   3   30

Brown 6:42   1-4   0-0   0-1   0   1   2

Odom 36:51   7-11   3-4   5-13   4   1   17

Walton 3:43   0-3   0-0   0-0   0   0   0

Farmar 12:37   0-2   0-0   0-2   4   2   0

Vujacic 11:36   2-4   0-0   0-0   0   0   5

Totals 240:00   38-91   20-23   19-49   28   24   103

Percentages: FG .418, FT .870. 3-Point Goals: 7-24, .292 (Bryant 4-10, Fisher 2-5, Vujacic 1-3, Brown 0-1, Farmar 0-1, Odom 0-1, Artest 0-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 11 (16 Pts). Blocked Shots: 10 (Bryant 4, Bynum 4, Artest, Gasol). Turnovers: 10 (Artest 2, Bryant 2, Gasol 2, Odom 2, Farmar, Fisher). Steals: 7 (Artest 3, Farmar 2, Fisher, Odom). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 3:42 first; Vujacic, 9:43 fourth; Bryant, 9:25 fourth.

A: 18,997 (18,997). T: 2:38. Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Marc Davis, Bob Delaney.