San Antonio 87, L.A. Lakers 82
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29 (Ticker) --
The San Antonio Spurs saw their last
two seasons end on the floor of the Staples Center. This season
began in the same place, with much better results.
Taking advantage of the absence of superstar Shaquille O'Neal
the Spurs spoiled the championship ring ceremony of the Los
Angeles Lakers and emerged with an 87-82 victory in a lethargic
season opener for both teams.
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The Spurs were swept by the Lakers in the 2001 Western
Conference finals and lost in five games in last season's
conference finals. Both series ended in Los Angeles, which has
become an unpleasant trip for San Antonio.
Tim Duncan and the Spurs had the upper hand on Robert Horry's Lakers on opening night in L.A.|
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
"It was nice to get the season started off on a right note and
to win here," Spurs forward Malik Rose
said. "With or without
Shaq, I'll take this one. We needed it."
"We (also) won here in the playoffs last year (in Game 2),"
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich recalled. "It was the only game we
With O'Neal sidelined with a toe injury and forward Rick Fox
suspended, the only time the Lakers looked like the three-time
defending champions was before the game, when they received
their rings from NBA commissioner David Stern.
It was a moving ceremony that paid tribute to long-time
broadcaster Chick Hearn, who died during the offseason. But the
emotion left the building shortly thereafter as the Lakers got
off to a slow start and never really recovered.
"I hope that was as enjoyable to watch as it was for me to
coach, that's all I can say," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
"It was not easy to digest that game. As bad as it is, it's
probably better to win ugly than it is to lose ugly."
The Spurs won despite poor games from superstar Tim Duncan
made just 3-of-14 shots, and point guard Tony Parker
, who was
0-of-10. They got a lift from Speedy Claxton
, who scored 13
points, and fellow newcomer Emanuel Ginobili
, who provided a
spark in the fourth quarter.
"We did not play very well tonight," Duncan said. "Luckily, it
is the first of 82."
"Speedy and Gino gave us some great energy," Spurs center David
scored 27 points on just 9-of-29 shooting for the
Lakers, who shot less than 32 percent (27-of-85) and had a
10-game season-opener winning streak snapped.
"I thought he looked to go 1-on-1 almost every time he went down
(the court)," Jackson said.
"I shoudn't be shooting the ball like that," Bryant admitted.
"I should get more guys involved."
Rose had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Duncan added 14 and 10 and
Robinson 13 and 10 for the Spurs, who shot just 39 percent
(26-of-71). But for once, they had more weapons than the
A 3-pointer by Robert Horry
gave LA its last lead at 66-65 early
in the final period. Danny Ferry
answered with a 3-pointer,
Rose and Duncan sank free throws and Ginobili dunked to finish a
fast break and give San Antonio a 72-66 lead with 9:07 to go.
With Bryant going scoreless for nearly 10 minutes, the Lakers
got no closer than four points thereafter. Ginobili took a
handoff from a double-teamed Duncan and soared for a reverse
layup that made it 77-72. Claxton added a free throw and Duncan
two for a 10-point bulge with 3:38 left.
The Lakers got two baskets from Slava Medvedenko
and had a
chance to get closer, but Ginobili poked the ball away from
Bryant, which led to a layup by Claxton and an 84-76 lead with
"I thought Speedy Claxton and Ginobili won the game for us,"
Popovich said. "Without them, we don't win."
Ginobili had seven points, four steals and three assists in 20
minutes off the bench. The 2000 second-round pick led Argentina
to a stunning upset of Team USA and the silver medal at the
World Championships this summer.
added 12 points for the Spurs, who shot 46 free
throws, making 32.
Bryant didn't get much help. Medvedenko scored 11 points and
added 10 for the Lakers, who saw big men
Horry and Samaki Walker
After getting his ring, O'Neal took a seat and watched his
teammates quickly fall behind by nine points in the first
quarter. But the Spurs got sloppy and allowed the Lakers to
pull into a 41-41 halftime tie.