LOS ANGELES, April 30 (Ticker) -- Steve Nash gave Kobe Bryant a chance to be the hero.

Nash had a critical turnover in the final seconds of regulation and another gaffe in the waning moments of overtime before Bryant drained a jumper as time expired, giving the Los Angeles Lakers a thrilling 99-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns and a commanding 3-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

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With the Suns holding a 98-97 lead and with three timeouts at their disposal, Nash was tied up along the sideline by Luke Walton with 6.1 seconds remaining in overtime.

The 6-8 Walton won the tip from the 6-3 Nash at center court and the Lakers got the ball to Bryant, who dribbled up court and sank the winning shot from the right elbow over the outstretched arms of Raja Bell and Boris Diaw, sending the crowd at Staples Center into a frenzy.

"I have been in a lot of game situations where in that type of scenario I have failed," Bryant said. "Trying to get to the basket and do too much. So I called back on some of my experience so that when I got the ball I tried not to rush it. I tried to turn and see what was going on and I took it from there."

"It was amazing," Nash said of Bryant's heroics. "He had two opportunities and he made two great shots. I guess it wasn't meant to be for us."

Bryant pounded his chest at the crowd amid chants of "MVP, MVP" as the seventh-seeded Lakers pushed the second-seeded Suns to the brink of elimination. Teams holding a 3-1 series lead are 153-7 all-time.

Nash, the reigning MVP who reportedly will win the award for a second straight year, also had the major mistake in regulation that allowed the Lakers to get to overtime.

With the Suns holding a 90-88 lead with just under eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Nash had the ball knocked away by Smush Parker along the left sideline - nearly the same point where he got tied up by Walton. Again, the Lakers got the ball to Bryant, who hit a one-handed floating layup with seven-tenths of a second left to tie the game.

Diaw, who had his best game of the series, split a pair of free throws with 12.6 seconds left to give the Suns a seemingly safe 90-85 lead.

But Parker, who missed 10 of his first 11 shots, drilled a 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds left to pull the Lakers within 90-88.

"All that was going through my mind the whole game was to stay in it," Parker said. "It was all about the defense and how I guard Steve Nash. That was what kept me level headed. This was one of the biggest games of my life. No game playing in New York City when I was growing up could compare with this game today."

Giving more responsibility to his teammates throughout the series, Bryant played the last five-plus minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime with five fouls and finished with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

"It was a hard-fought game," Bryant said. "I am sure they will be playing that shot over and over but people must understand is that shot would not have even been possible if it was not for Smush Parker's great play defensively."

"Kobe made some unbelievable plays toward the end of the game," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It was a great shot in a great game. We just have to know we can beat these guys and we can do it now."

Lamar Odom had another strong game for the Lakers, collecting 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists. His three-point play with 76 seconds left in overtime tied the game at 95-95.

"I was just trying to get the ball as close to the basket as possible and attack from there," Odom said. " As the small forward I have a size advantage usually over other small forwards. If it's not weight it's height. I just try to draw the defense to me and take my time and make plays."

Nash registered 22 points and 11 assists and Diaw 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Phoenix, which will try to stay alive in the series at home in Game Five on Tuesday night.

"There were some costly plays down the stretch that didn't go our way," said Nash, who made 2-of-11 shots after halftime. "We did every thing we could do to win the game. Our backs are totally against the wall. We don't have much to lose."

However, the Suns will head home clearly knowing that they let this game get away from them.

"This one really hurt," Bell said. "I've never been involved in a game that ended like that. It was a tough one. That's what the playoffs are all about I guess."

A baseline jumper by Shawn Marion with 5:43 left in the fourth quarter gave the Suns an 81-73 lead.

Bryant made two free throws and Odom scored five straight points, pulling the Lakers within 81-80 with 2:37 to go.

Marion, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds, fouled out at the 2:37 mark.

"I think we had a chance to win this game," Marion said. "It was disappointing. I thought it was over. But it's not over till the buzzer sounds and when it sounded, we didn't win."

The Suns maintained the lead and moved ahead, 89-85, with 40 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Tim Thomas, who scored 12 points.

Thomas was replaced in the starting lineup by James Jones due to a sprained left knee but ended up playing over 25 minutes.