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"Everything is OK," Nash said. "We can't knock a great effort. Maybe we deserved this game, maybe we didn't. They held home court. We'll go back and do the same, and we'll come back here for Game 7."
Stoudemire scored 19 points for the Suns, who had three looks at a 3-point shot in the final seconds. Nash and Richardson both missed, but Richardson then missed so badly that he banked it in from a long step behind the line.
"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.
Derek Fisher scored 22 points and Gasol had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who rebounded from consecutive losses in Phoenix with their best defensive performance of the series, forcing 15 turnovers and holding Phoenix to mediocre shooting -- yet the Suns still came agonizingly close to handing Los Angeles its first home loss of the postseason.
The Lakers improved to 8-0 at Staples Center, where they'll play Game 7 on Monday night if the Suns hold serve in a series featuring five wins for the home team.
After dominating Game 4 while Phoenix evened the series, the Suns' bench outscored the Lakers just 31-24 in Game 5, while Los Angeles reasserted its size advantage against the Suns' zone defense with a 49-40 rebounding edge. The Lakers surged to a 16-point lead in the first half with a 21-4 run led by Bryant, who hit three consecutive 3-pointers in less than a minute.
Gentry vomited into a trash can while sitting on the bench in the first half after apparently eating something that disagreed with him. Gentry, who reportedly received intravenous fluids at halftime, also didn't care for the officiating, earning a technical foul midway through the Lakers' big run.
Los Angeles jumped ahead 74-56 in the third quarter, but Phoenix made a 16-4 rally including a four-point play by Jared Dudley to trim the lead to six points heading into the fourth.
NOTES: The Lakers have won Game 5 the last nine straight times they've reached it in a playoff series, including last season's title clincher over Orlando. Los Angeles also is the only team that hasn't trailed in a series this spring. ... Nash was a 91 percent free throw shooter in the playoffs (61 for 67) before missing two in the first quarter of Game 5. ... Lakers G Sasha Vujacic's 3-pointer in the fourth quarter was his first since April 13.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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