Robert Horry missed a 3-pointer in the final three seconds on Tuesday as the San Antonio Spurs grabbed a 96-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, pushing the defending champion to the brink of playoff elimination.
One game after overcoming a 16-point deficit, the Lakers nearly erased a 25-point hole before bowing out.
David Robinson got the final rebound, letting the Spurs, who never trailed, take a 3-2 lead in the second-round series. San Antonio ruined the return of Lakers coach Phil Jackson three days after undergoing a heart procedure.
"Tough loss, tough loss," Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal said. "If we do what we're supposed to do, we'll be fine."
The Lakers will have to win the next two games to advance to the Western Conference finals. Otherwise, their postseason will end the same way it did the last time they failed to win it all -- going down to San Antonio in the conference semifinals. That was in 1999, when the Spurs won the title.
"We're a tough team to put out," said Kobe Bryant, who led Los Angeles with 36 points. "It has something to do with luck, something to do with our grit, our fight. Game 6, we're going to give it our all."
Game 6 is tomorrow in Los Angeles, with a possible Game 7 in San Antonio on Saturday. The Lakers are 0-5 this season at the Spurs' new home, the SBC Center.
Mavericks 112, Kings 93
In Dallas, Raja Bell provided a big boost for the suddenly re-energized Texas, outshooting Sacramento in a game-turning third quarter.
Bell had just 13 points, but nine in the decisive period as Dallas took a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
Making his second straight start for the injured Adrian Griffin (sprained right ankle), Bell had four baskets in the third quarter. That was one more than Sacramento managed while being outscored 29-10 in the period.
Steve Nash, held to just six points in the Game 4 loss, scored 25 points. He was just 5-of-12 from the field, but hit 15 of 16 free throws. All five starters, plus Nick Van Exel, scored in double figures for Dallas.
Dirk Nowitzki has 16 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high nine assists, falling just short of the first triple-double in Dallas postseason history.
After playing three games in four nights, the teams are going right back to Sacramento. Game 6 is tomorrow.