Notebook: Spurs 108, Lakers 105



Posted Jan 10, 2013 12:33 AM

By Tim Price, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Tony Parker scored 24 points and Manu Ginobili added 19, but the Spurs almost blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead as Earl Clark's 3-pointer hit the front of the rim as time expired to leave San Antonio with a 108-105 win over the Lakers on Wednesday at AT&T Center.

The Lakers (15-20) played their second-straight game without All-Stars Dwight Howard (shoulder), Pau Gasol (concussion) and reserve Jordan Hill (hip, back). But with the way Clark played (22 points, 13 rebounds with 9-for-12 shooting) L.A. might be on to something new despite being dealt their fifth-straight loss.

Gasol will be re-evaluated Thursday, but Howard and Hill won't return till next week at the earliest.

The Spurs (28-10) also got 14 points and 14 rebounds from Tiago Splitter, and the team went 12-for-25 (48 percent) from beyond the 3-point line.

QUOTABLE: "We have lost five games in a row, [so] it is pretty self-explanatory. We played very hard and I think we figured a few things out. [Earl Clark] sits right next to me on plane rides, so I talk to him and he always tells me that he is ready to play. He played phenomenal against a heck of a team, so I was very impressed."

-- Kobe Bryant, who scored 27 points

THE STAT: The Spurs have committed 39 turnovers the past two games. From the 19 times they turned the ball over tonight, five came in the final 6:15 as L.A. closed the game with a 20-7 run.

TURNING POINT: The Spurs were so sloppy with the ball that sometimes it didn't take much pressure to get them to cough it up. San Antonio led 101-85 with 6:15 to go, but within a minute Gary Neal dribbled the ball off his hand and out of bounds as he was setting up a play. Less than three minutes later, the Lakers had cut the lead to five points.

QUOTABLE II: "I thought we were really raggedy on offense, to the point that I didn't know who was out on the court. I didn't recognize that basketball team. Not sharing the ball the way we should. Taking bad shots. No pace. It was really tough to watch."

-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

HOT: Clark has played in only 12 games this season with the Lakers, and has been on three teams in four seasons -- shooting a career 38.7 field-goal percentage. His most memorable times in the league have been as a throw-in for blockbuster trades (the Phoenix-Orlando deal involving Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat in 2010 and the move that brought Howard to L.A. this summer). He was 5-for-17 from the floor this season coming in, yet his 9-for-12 showing tonight was part of a career-high night in points, field goals made and rebounds.

NOT: Tim Duncan was 4-for-13 tonight and has gone 9-for-27 the past two games after the previous nine games where he shot no worse than 50 percent in each contest (69-for-121 overall, 57 percent).

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: After averaging 13 points this season, Metta World Peace has scored 24 points and 23 points the past two nights, respectively, with Howard, Gasol and Hill sidelined. Tonight, he also had eight rebounds and seven of the Lakers' 12 steals.

GOOD MOVE: Even with the Spurs best perimeter defender, Kawhi Leonard, matching Bryant by playing all 12 minutes of the third quarter and guarding Bryant, No. 24 found a way to score. He got the ball off all night and put some fight into the Lakers after they struggled offensively in the first half. He took 13 shots -- half of the Lakers attempts that quarter -- and scored 14 points as the Lakers scored 30 in the third and kept the momentum to score another 30 in the fourth (L.A. outscored the Spurs 60-54 after halftime).

BAD MOVE: Stephen Jackson was 3-for-4 on 3s for San Antonio in the fourth quarter, but then he argued two calls in a span of seven seconds and was ejected for the critical final 3 1/2 minutes of the game.

ROOKIE WATCH: Robert Sacre made his third start this week -- one in the D-League and a pair in the last two nights. He had the primary defensive assignment on Duncan, who had eight points (no trips to the foul line) in his lowest-scoring game since December 15. In his past two nights in the big leagues, Sacre had 10 points at Houston and four tonight.

NOTABLE: The Spurs have won 11 in a row at home, but just two seasons ago they had a team record, 22-straight home winning streak. ... The Lakers have lost five in a row for the first time since 2007. ... This is the fourth-straight win in the series for San Antonio, including both games this season. ... There were five technicals called by the crew of Bill Kennedy, Mark Ayotte and Mark Lindsay in the second half.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. Oklahoma City, Sunday vs. Cleveland, Tuesday vs. Milwaukee. For the Spurs, Friday @ Memphis, Sunday vs. Minnesota, Wednesday vs. Memphis.