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Kobe becomes supporting cast mate for Lakers' Game 5 escape

Originally Published: May 15, 2008
By J.A. Adande | ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- It was almost like a scientific experiment, a two-part test designed to see if home court really is the only difference-maker in the conference semifinals.

Step 1: Reduce the sport's best player to a set-up man, the equivalent of asking Mariano Rivera to pitch middle relief.

Step 2: Send out some of the least reliable players on the team for the most critical stretch of the season to date.

Somehow the test produced the desired results for the Lakers, ...

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