Notebook: Spurs 91, Lakers 79

Posted Apr 21, 2013 8:06 PM

Tim Price, for

THE FACTS: Tony Parker returned to form for San Antonio after late-season injuries by scoring 18 points with eight assists, and so did Manu Ginobili, whose 18 points off the bench on 3-for-5 shooting on 3-pointers elevated the Spurs past the Los Angeles Lakers for a 91-79 Game 1 victory Sunday in the Western Conference first round at AT&T Center.

Ginobili played in one of the Spurs' last 10 regular-season games after a hamstring injury, yet his 18 points came in 18 minutes for the game. Parker (ankle and neck injuries) played in 10 of the team's last 22 games yet saw 37 minutes in Game 1.

L.A., entering these playoffs without the injured Kobe Bryant, will try to even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday. Steve Nash is back after missing the last eight regular-season games (strained hamstring), yet he played 29 ½ minutes and had three assists to go along with 6-for-15 shooting (16 points).

The Lakers actually outshot San Antonio 41 percent to 37 percent, but they committed twice as many turnovers and saw the Spurs build a nine-point advantage in points scored off mistakes. Big men Dwight Howard scored 20 points and had 15 rebounds and Pau Gasol added 16 points and 16 rebounds.

QUOTABLE: "It was great to have Manu back. He makes big shots, he creates problems for the opponent, and he's got a great will, a great desire. I'll worry all night about how he'll feel in the morning. If he says he feels great, that will be a good sign for our team."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

THE STAT: When's the last time a Mike D'Antoni-coached team was limited to two fastbreak points -- more significantly only got out on the fastbreak two times -- during a game? It magnifies how one-dimensional the Lakers are right now. San Antonio outscored the Lakers 17-2 on the fastbreak.

TURNING POINT: With the Lakers' limitations on offense, they couldn't give away anything and allow the Spurs much space on the scoreboard, particularly going into the fourth quarter. But that's what happened when L.A. trailed only by four with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter. The Lakers sent the Spurs to the free-throw line eight times -- San Antonio made all of them -- and the Spurs scored 12 of the final 19 points in the quarter. Ginobili got loose and scored eight of those, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute. L.A. only got the lead to less than 10 points once the rest of the way.

QUOTABLE II: "Throughout the game we had costly turnovers. A couple of times I went to make a pass and I just lost it. I don't know if we are going to adjust too many things. Those are the things that aren't adjustments. Those are just things we have to clean up."
-- Lakers guard Steve Blake.

HOT: Ginobili's 6-for-13 shooting may not look like it's game-breaker stuff, but he threatened to shoot 50 percent from the floor for the first time since March 6 -- 12 games ago. During his previous nine games Ginobili shot less than 30 percent (21-for-73, 28.8 percent).

NOT: Neither of these teams shoot well when pared against one another. In Game 1 today the Lakers shot .411 (30-for-73) and the Spurs went 32-for-85 (.376). Both LA (.417 percentage) and San Antonio (.414) shot less than 42 percent in the three-game regular-season series.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: In the three games since Bryant suffered his season-ending Achilles' tendon injury, Howard has averaged 20.7 points and 16.7 rebounds per game. His season averages are 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.

INSIDE THE ARENA: Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Maziel of Texas A&M took in another NBA game. Manziel played high school ball in Kerrville, less than a 1 ½-hour drive from San Antonio.

GOOD MOVE: The Spurs did enough defensively to put the Lakers in some crucial dry spells. There was a stretch in the first quarter where the Lakes went 0-for-7 and San Antonio turned a five-point lead into a 12-point advantage. Late in the first half the Lakers were trailing by four, then committed as many turnovers as they did made shots (four) in the final five minutes of the first half to watch a four-point deficit turn into eight by halftime.

BAD MOVE: With the Spurs shooting 33 percent in the third quarter, and trailing only by eight coming out after halftime, the game was for the taking. But the Lakers got away from the one thing that was working on offense for them in the first half. Gasol had six assists in the first half, yet the Lakers attacked differently with Blake driving with the ball. L.A. had a 14-13 advantage in shots made in the second half yet had three less assists. Gasol had none of them.

ROOKIE WATCH: Nando De Colo was the backup point guard for San Antonio through much of the season, yet he played one minute in garbage time to end the game. The first point guard off the bench for San Antonio was second-year player Cory Joseph, who was in the D-League primarily until Parker was injured on March 1. Joseph played almost 11 minutes and his 2-for-4 from the field and was the defensive assignment on Blake. S.A. outscored the Lakers 40-10 from the bench.

NOTABLE: Tracy McGrady was inactive for the second-straight Spurs game. He was signed by the team last week. ... Predictably, the Spurs tried the "hack-a-Howard," intentionally fouling Howard away from the ball to get him to the free-throw line. They did it at the end of the first half when little-used rookie Aron Baynes came off the bench and grabbed Howard, who went to the line and made both shots.

UP NEXT: Game 2, Tuesday @ San Antonio (9:30 p.m., EDT), Game 3, Friday @ Los Angeles (10:30 p.m., EDT), Game 4, Sunday @ Los Angeles (7 p.m., EDT).