Bryant shot a three-pointer from the side while falling out of bounds with two seconds left, but the shot was short and Artest grabbed the ball and quickly shot it while turning toward the backboard.

The Lakers passed the Phoenix Suns 103-101 on Thursday night at the Staples Center to take a 3-2 series lead.

“I thought Kobe got fouled on the shot, so I figured it was going to be short,” Artest said. “You’ve just got to continue the play.”

“It means a lot for him,” Bryant said. “I think for him emotionally, it’s a big boost. … Once I released the ball, I saw Ron sneaking in. I was just hoping that he got it off in time.”

Pau Gasol added 21 points and Lamar Odom led the Lakers with 13 rebounds.

Steve Nash had 29 points and 11 assists in a stirring second-half effort for the Suns, who hacked away at Los Angeles’ lead throughout the fourth quarter.

The Lakers will now travel to Phoenix for Game 6..GOOOOO LAKERS



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