THE FACTS: The Spurs were too quick, too experienced and ultimately too healthy for the Lakers on Friday night. Down their top four guards in Game 3 of the Western Conference first-round series, the Lakers were at the mercy of San Antonio's veteran lineup, which teased them through part of the first quarter before methodically picking them apart the rest way of the 120-89 victory at Staples Center, giving them a commanding 3-0 series lead.
THE STAT: The 31-point loss represented the worst home playoff defeat in franchise history.
QUOTABLE: "It's been a very tough year but we're not going to make any excuses and we're not going to quit."
-- Lakers center Dwight Howard
TURNING POINT: The Spurs outscored the Lakers 11-4 over the final 2:35 of the first quarter to take 30-18 lead and they never looked back. The Lakers cut the deficit to nine in the first two minutes of the second half, but a 10-2 run shortly afterward put San Antonio ahead by 18 points and the Lakers never got back within 16 the rest of the way.
HOT: With their depleted backcourt, the one area the Lakers figured to still have an advantage was down low. Spurs center Tim Duncan had other thoughts. He finished with a team-high 26 points on 12-for-16 shooting, while also grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Spurs point guard Tony Parker also continues to put a poor Game 1 showing in the rear-view mirror, scoring 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting and distributing seven assists. The Spurs shot 61.2 percent as a team. Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock made the most of his opportunity. Inserted into the starting lineup because of injuries to Kobe Bryant (Achilles' tendon), Steve Nash (back/hamstring), Steve Blake (hamstring) and Jodie Meeks (ankle), Goudelock scored a career-high 20 points, showing signs of the player who scored 42 in an NBA D-League game earlier this season.
NOT: Lakers forward Metta World Peace returned less than two weeks after undergoing knee surgery last month and then had fluid drained from his knee earlier Friday. He gave it a try but didn't contribute much more than the sidelined players. He went scoreless in 18 minutes while shooting 0-for-6 from the floor and failing to grab a rebound. Afterward, he said he would sit out Game 4 as well, but hoped to be back for a Game 5.
QUOTABLE II: "We've been murdered by injuries."
-- Lakers forward Pau Gasol
GOOD MOVE: The Spurs didn't give the Lakers or their crowd any chance to find a comfort zone with their patchwork starting lineup. They swooped in behind Duncan and Parker and played a crisp first quarter, then followed up with three more solid quarters, shooting 57.1 percent or better in each 12-minute segments.
BAD MOVE: The night didn't go completely well for the Spurs. Starting center Tiago Splitter limped to the locker room with a sprained ankle late in the third quarter and didn't return. Early reports from the trainer's room suggest Splitter could be out a week to 10 days.
QUOTABLE III: "It's an ankle sprain. They looked at it, it isn't broken."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Splitter's injury
NOTABLE: Lakers guard Darius Morris, who was also pressed into a starting role due to injuries, scored a career-high 24 points, 14 more than his previous career best. ... Lakers forward Pau Gasol recorded his third triple-double in the last six games, finishing with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. ... San Antonio forward DeJuan Blair made all six of his field-goal attempts and scored 13 points off the bench.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Sunday vs. San Antonio, Tuesday @ San Antonio (if necessary), Thursday vs. San Antonio (if necessary). For the Spurs, Sunday @ L.A. Lakers, Tuesday vs. L.A. Lakers (if necessary), Thursday @ L.A. Lakers (if necessary).