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Lakers force a Game 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The NBA Finals are going back to Boston. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers made sure of that.

Bryant scored 25 points and made a key steal and decisive dunk in the final minute and the Lakers beat Boston 103-98 and deny the Celtics their 17th NBA title -- at least for now.

Lamar Odom added 20 points and 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol chipped in 19 points and 13 boards. The Celtics lead the series 3-2. The Lakers are trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals to win a title.

Paul Pierce was huge for Boston with 38 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds.

The Lakers, who blew a 24-point lead in losing last Thursday night, nearly squandered a 19-point lead in this game. But the Lakers regrouped to extend their season.

The Lakers have to win on the Celtics' parquet floor Tuesday night to force a winner-take-all Game 7. The Celtics are 12-and-1 at home this postseason.


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