The Lakers never trailed in the first two games of the series, but they never led in Game 5 after their very first basket made it 2-0. Denver enforced its preferred speedy tempo on the walk-it-up Lakers for long stretches, repeatedly beating the Lakers back with fast breaks and sharp passes.
"They were daring us to take outside shots," Lakers coach Mike Brown said. "We were getting shots we couldn't make. But to me, that's not the difference in the game. There were so many things we could have done to win this ballgame. ... I'm more disappointed in our defense and our lack of protecting the paint."
Pau Gasol had just nine points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, while Matt Barnes scored 11 points.
The Lakers failed to complete their first playoff series victory under Brown exactly one year after Dallas swept the Lakers in the second round of last year's postseason, ending 11-time NBA champion coach Jackson's career — for now, anyway.
Los Angeles' loss means starting forward Metta World Peace will finish his seven-game suspension during the first round. World Peace was banned for viciously elbowing Oklahoma City's James Harden in the Lakers' penultimate regular-season game.
Notes: Before the game, Brown chuckled mirthlessly at the conspiracy theory suggesting the Lakers might tank Game 5 to burn off World Peace's suspension before facing Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. ... Miller was hit with a technical foul in the second quarter after a hard foul on Bynum, who got a T of his own in the third quarter for shoving Faried after a basket. ... Afflalo finally awoke offensively after averaging just nine points in the first four games of the series. ... Fans near courtside included Larry David, British boxer Amir Khan and comedian Harland Williams.
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