LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant
scored 27 points and Shaquille O'Neal
had 25 and 15 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers won their sixth straight meeting with the San Antonio Spurs, 94-91.
The win ended the Lakers two-game slide and since the arrival of coach Phil Jackson prior to the 1999-2000 season, Los Angeles has yet to record a three-game losing streak.
"You never want to lose three straight," Bryant said. "So it was a big win for us."
O'Neal hit the second of two free throws with six seconds left to push the Lakers' advantage to 94-91. Following a timeout, San Antonio's Terry Porter
missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer from and Los Angeles' Robert Horry
gathered the rebound.
NBA.comTV highlights from Spurs-Lakers:
Shaquille O'Neal had it all working in the first half, making nine of 12 shots, for 18 points.
He didn't shoot many during the game. So, I was concerned whether he was in rhythm," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of his career 53 percent free-throw shooting center. "But his first one was right there and his second one was good, so that was big."
The Lakers defeated the Spurs for the second time in seven days. On Saturday, Bryant scored 17 of his 28 points in the second half as the defending NBA champions overcame O'Neal's absence to rout San Antonio, 98-81.
On its way to winning a second straight NBA title in June, Los Angeles swept San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals.
"It's still a loss. It's great that we played a little closer, but it's still not a victory," Spurs forward Tim Duncan
said. "We need to turn that corner and maybe it's a step in that direction."
Duncan had 24 points and 11 boards, but the Spurs lost for the first time in 26 games this season when outshooting their opponents.
The 1999 NBA Finals' MVP when San Antonio won the title, Duncan scored at least 20 points for the 23rd consecutive game, dating to December 12 against Toronto.
The Lakers led by 10 with under 30 seconds left in the third quarter. But the Spurs chipped away and Duncan finally tied it, 84-84, when he finished a layup with 4:21 left.
The clubs alternated baskets. David Robinson
, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, scored on a driving dunk with 2:42 to go to knot the contest, 88-88.
"In the second half, I thought we did a better job of just cutting it down to one shot," Robinson said. "Our offense executed a little bit better, Tim kind of got on track a little bit and that helped us."
Bryant answered for Los Angeles, putting home an alley-oop slam off a pass from Horry.
Spurs guard Antonio Daniels
then was whistled for a technical foul after complaining about a seemingly obvious push-off by Bryant on his way to the rim.
Bryant converted the ensuing free throw as Los Angeles opened a three-point cushion, 91-88.
As the Lakers' defense focused on Duncan and Robinson, rookie Tony Parker
drove the lane and was fouled by Rick Fox
as he put home the layup. The Spurs guard converted the three-point play to tie it for the fourth time down the stretch.
"I thought he played great," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He hasn't played in about two or three weeks. ... He's a young kid. Sitting out that long, he hasn't even practiced. Coming in, he's got a fire in the belly. He's a (heck) of a competitor."
The Spurs on Friday activated Parker from the injured list after the 19-year-old missed the last five games with a sprained right ankle.
Los Angeles has held its opponents to a league-low 41.9 percent and, with the Spurs looking to take the lead, the Lakers forced a shot-clock violation with 1:22 remaining.
Following a timeout, veteran forward Fox hit a tough 14-foot jumper with 1:09 left to put Los Angeles ahead for good, 93-91.
"I thought it was a well-played fourth quarter," Jackson said. "We were able to come up with some key plays in the fourth quarter. ... (We) had to search to find some scoring at the end. Rick came up with a big basket for us."