THE FACTS: Spurs guard Danny Green made a 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left Tuesday night and the Spurs then clamped down on defense on the final possession by the Lakers. Pau Gasol was forced to shoot a desperation 3-pointer that missed, allowing San Antonio to escape with an 84-82 victory at Staples Center.
QUOTABLE: "We executed the play very well. Of course, you still have to knock it down and Danny did. Timmy [Duncan] set a great screen. It worked out for us."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
THE STAT: San Antonio came into the game 23rd in the league in turnovers at 16.6, but committed only eight against the Lakers while forcing 17. The Lakers came into the game last in the league in giveaways at 18.1.
TURNING POINT: Gasol and Kobe Bryant executed a perfect pick-and-roll that resulted in Gasol's spot-up 17-footer for an 82-79 lead with 1:02 left in the game. Duncan cut the deficit to one with a jump hook that banked in with 40 seconds left, and Lakers center Dwight Howard was then called for a push off while rebounding Metta World Peace's missed 3-pointer with 19 seconds on the game clock. San Antonio called timeout and Popovich drew up a play for Green to hit his game-winning basket from the wing. After the Lakers called timeout, World Peace inbounded the ball to Gasol near the 3-point line in front of the L.A. bench. He looked for Bryant, but Bryant wasn't able to break free of the suffocating defense and Gasol opted for a 3-pointer that banged off the rim with two seconds left.
HOT: Bryant continues to enjoy one of the hottest shooting starts of his 17-year career. He shot 12-for-19 from the field and scored a game-high 28 points. He also led the team with eight assists. Bryant, a career 45.3 percent shooter coming into the game, is shooting 53.6 percent through the first eight games. He's never shot better than 47 percent for a season.
NOT: The Lakers were without their top two point guards, Steve Nash (lower leg injury) and Steve Blake (strained abdominal muscle), and it showed. Darius Morris made his first career start but the second-year player seemed to press under the spotlight. He missed all five of his field-goal attempts and finished with one point and one assist in 21 minutes. Chris Duhon wasn't much better as a replacement, so Bryant made the unusual move of playing the point down the stretch.
GOOD MOVE: The Spurs usually have Manu Ginobili on the floor late in close games but the 11th-year guard was struggling with back spasms and was 1-for-8 shooting while playing 18 minutes. Popovich elected to keep Green on the floor down the stretch and he came up with the big basket.
BAD MOVE: They Lakers didn't look like the league's top rebounding team down the stretch. Howard had a defensive rebound bounce off his knee and out of bounds with 4:28 left and the Lakers clinging to a two-point lead. Kawhi Leonard took advantage of the extra possession and sank a 15-foot jumper. On the next possession, Gasol grabbed a rebound but Green snuck in behind and stole the ball, leading to a basket by Parker. On the third straight trip down the floor, Green swooped in a grabbed an offensive rebound after Duncan missed in close. Parker took a shot that missed but slid in front of Gasol and rebounded his own miss, then laid it back in for a two-point lead with 2:29 remaining.
QUOTABLE II: "If I can quote Shakespeare, the problem lies not within the stars, it lies within ourselves."
-- Lakers coach Bernie Bickerstaff
NOTABLE: World Peace had 12 points on his 33rd birthday, but shot 4-for-14 from the field, including the key miss with 19.9 seconds left in the game. ... The Lakers haven't scored fewer than 80 points in 147 games against the Spurs.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. Phoenix, Sunday vs. Houston, Tuesday vs. Brooklyn. For the Spurs, Thursday vs. New York, Saturday vs. Denver, Monday vs. L.A. Clippers.