Notebook: Spurs 103, Lakers 82



Posted Apr 28, 2013 10:56 PM

By Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The San Antonio Spurs showed no mercy Sunday afternoon. They took the court in Game 4 of the Western Conference first-round series against a team they hardly recognized and treated those Los Angeles Lakers as if they were still stacked with All Stars, instead of the patchwork group they really were. San Antonio seized an early lead and never let it slip from their grasp, slowly expanding it to a 103-82 victory at Staples Center. The win completed their series sweep and sent the Lakers limping into an offseason of uncertainty.

QUOTABLE: "Obviously, it wasn't a fair fight. When you're a competitor, you want to compete even-Steven, and the Lakers weren't able to do that."

--Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

THE STAT: The Lakers were swept in a first-round series for the second time since 1967, and fell to 0-7 when trailing 3-0 in a series.

THE STAT II: The Game 4 defeat marked the first time in Lakers history that L.A. lost consecutive home playoff games by 20 or more points.

TURNING POINT: The Lakers likely lost any hope of winning a first-round series when Kobe Bryant went down with a torn Achilles' tendon the third-to-last game of the regular season. They managed to win that game and the last two to slip into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the West and draw a somewhat favorable matchup against the Spurs. But when the Lakers lost guards Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks to injury while dropping the first two games of the series in San Antonio, it was clear they were in deep trouble. Throw in the lingering knee injury that kept starting forward Metta World Peace out of Game 4 and the Lakers faced long odds Sunday. When the Spurs went on a 10-2 run midway through the third quarter to take a 40-26 lead, the Lakers lost what little fight they had left.

HOT: Spurs point guard Tony Parker only seemed to get better as the series rolled along. After shooting 17-for-41 in the first two games in San Antonio, he shot 18-for-30 in the two wins in L.A. Most impressive from Sunday's win was his zero turnovers after giving the ball away five times in Game 3. Lakers forward Pau Gasol didn't record a triple-double as he did in Game 3, but he did finish with 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks and received a standing ovation when he left the game late in the fourth quarter. Whether he can exist in the same offense as Lakers center Dwight Howard is one of the team's many questions heading into the offseason.

QUOTABLE II: "There's a sense that's a possibility."

--Pau Gasol, when asked if he expected to leave the Lakers in the offseason

NOT: Howard wasn't around to get a standing ovation at end of the game, not that he would have anyway. He was ejected in the third quarter after receiving his second technical foul -- and fourth of the series -- and finished with seven points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. Howard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and where he chooses to play next season is the boldest question on the list. It was a season he'd rather forget.

QUOTABLE III: "This is like a nightmare, a bad dream, and you couldn't wake out of it."

--Lakers center Dwight Howard on the overall season

GOOD MOVE: Just after Howard was ejected, Bryant came hobbling out of the locker room on crutches, giving the home crowd something to cheer about. Bryant was demonstrative as he shouted out instructions to players from behind the bench and even stuck his head in the huddle during timeouts. Some speculated that Bryant came out because he didn't want to be in the locker room with Howard, but Howard said they never crossed paths.

BAD MOVE: If the Lakers hoped to steal a game and send the series back to San Antonio, they sure didn't play like it from the start. They had eight of their 21 turnovers in the first quarter, resulting in nine points for San Antonio. The quarter ended with the Lakers having a foul to give but still allowing Manu Ginobili to drive to the basket and dunk on Howard.

QUOTABLE IV: "They fought as hard as they could fight and that's all you can ask as a coach."

--Mike D'Antoni

NOTABLE: Spurs forward Tracy McGrady, who played 15 years in the NBA before he was signed by the Spurs shortly before the playoffs, played the final five minutes and advanced out of the first round for the first time in his career. ... Gasol is 0-16 in playoff games without Bryant. ... D'Antoni has lost 15 of his last 16 playoff games.

UP NEXT: For the Spurs, second round, TBD.