San Antonio 103, L.A. Lakers 95
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant
joined some elite
company. The San Antonio Spurs have gone where no team has.
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had 28 points and 20 rebounds to help overcome
another big effort by Bryant as the Spurs extended their winning
streak to seven games with a 103-95 triumph over the Los
After dropping the first game of a nine-game road trip, the
Spurs have reeled off seven victories. They became the first
team in NBA history to win seven in a row on the same trip,
which concludes Sunday in Sacramento.
"We knew coming into this road trip how long it was, and this
has been a great time for our team to get a personality," Duncan
said. "I think that we really have grown and shown a lot of
"The road experience, I think, is more important than the home
experience because you've got to really focus to do some things
well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich added. "I'm happy that we are
on the road and I think this trip has been great for our team."
Duncan was a major reason why the Spurs continued their winning
ways and beat the Lakers for the third time in as many tries
this season. The NBA's reigning MVP dominated the interior all
night and helped get Shaquille O' Neal
into early foul trouble.
While the Spurs accomplished a first, Bryant became the fourth
player in NBA history to score at least 35 points in eight
straight games. The superstar guard actually reached 40 points
for the fourth consecutive contest and the 12th time this
season, totaling 44.
Bryant forced the issue as he hoisted up 41 shots, making 19. He
also committed seven of the Lakers' 11 turnovers.
"I have been able to find the line before tonight as far as
scoring that many points," said Bryant, who made 4-of-6 free
throws. "I was able to do it on several occasions at the
beginning of the season. I am not going to concern myself too
much with our offensive production. We really win games on the
defensive end. I think offensively, just being able to get guys
more rhythm shots and we will be better off.
"We looked like a one-man team tonight in some regard, and that
made it a little bit over the edge in some ways," Lakers coach
Phil Jackson said. "Kobe lost the ball a couple times just
trying to come up the court, and those were very costly errors
Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and future Hall of
Famer Michael Jordan
are the others to score at least 35 points
in eight straight games.
O'Neal collected 21 points and Robert Horry
pulled down 15
rebounds for the Lakers, who had a seven-game winning streak
stopped. Los Angeles remained one-half game behind Houston for
the final Western Conference playoff berth.
"We met a team right now that I think is better than us," Lakers
forward Rick Fox
said. "There's not very many teams out there
right now that are playing better than us, but that is one of
Holding a one-point lead at halftime, the Spurs opened the third
quarter with a 15-6 spurt. Duncan netted eight points in the
surge, capping it with two free throws for a 57-47 lead.
and Stephen Jackson
added 3-pointers in the run.
Parker and Jackson were big all night, finishing with 24 and 16
Jackson, who scored 28 points in a victory over Lakers on
November 20, went 4-of-4 from 3-point range.
San Antonio shot 43 percent (36-of-83) and held a 48-46 edge on
A jumper by Duncan gave the Spurs their biggest lead of the
contest at 68-55 with 3:09 left in the third quarter. The
Lakers reeled off six straight points but still trailed, 72-63,
entering the final period.
"We had a poor third quarter," O'Neal said. "They just came out
and really played well and we didn't at all. But we will get
back on track."
When the Spurs took control in the third quarter, defensive
stopper Bruce Bowen
did an excellent job on Bryant, who made
just 3-of-11 shots in the period.
"The guy is a Hall of Fame player," Popovich said. "It is as
simple as that and you're not going to stop him. But I think
Bruce Bowen worked him and worked every shot. He had a lot of
tough shots. I think Bruce did a heck of a job."
"Bruce did a great job on him," Stephen Jackson added. "He
still shot a great percentage. Kobe is a tough player to
handle. If I had to pick somebody, I would have to say Kobe is
my MVP, the way he is playing right now. Bruce did a great job
on him, made him take a lot of tough shots and just stayed with
him and took the challenge."
Bryant didn't have to contend with just Bowen. He had a tough
timing finishing around the basket with the presence of the
Jackson drilled a pair of 3-pointers around a jumper by Bryant
to start the fourth quarter, keeping the Spurs in control.
The Lakers were unable to make a comeback in the fourth quarter,
despite getting the Spurs into the penalty less than four
minutes into the period. Los Angeles went to the line 11 times
in the fourth quarter after getting there just nine times in the
first three periods.
A pair of foul shots by Devean George
with 4:15 remaining helped
the Lakers close to 85-80.
Duncan and O'Neal traded baskets before Bowen drilled a
3-pointer from the right corner, making it 90-82 with 2:59 to
go. The Lakers got as close as five points in the waning
After scoring an NBA season-high 51 points in Wednesday's
victory at Denver, Bryant picked up where he left off, scoring
11 of his club's first 15 points.
Bryant had 24 points by intermission - more than of his team's
total. But Los Angeles trailed, 42-41. Duncan and Parker each
had eight points at halftime.