San Antonio 87, L.A. Lakers 82
SAN ANTONIO, May 5 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
showed why he deserved the
Most Valuable Player award, despite the best efforts of Kobe
Duncan collected 28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and
three blocks and got plenty of help as the San Antonio Spurs
held on for an 87-82 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game
One of their Western Conference semifinal series.
After being named NBA MVP for the second consecutive season,
Duncan lived up to the title. But his performance was nearly
undone by Bryant, who finished third in MVP voting and scored 13
of his 37 points in the fourth quarter.
Bryant's three-point play brought the Lakers within 72-71 with
5:47 remaining. But the Spurs reeled off the next seven points
and took a 79-71 lead on a pair of free throws by David
, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Lakers superstar Shaquille O'Neal
fouled out in the playoffs for
the first time with 3:26 remaining. Bryant took over
thereafter, scoring eight of Los Angeles' final 11 points.
Bryant's 3-pointer with 68 seconds left made it 85-82. After
Robinson was called for an offensive foul, Bryant stepped out of
bounds while attempting a 3-pointer from the corner.
Duncan made an errant pass at the other end, but Bryant missed
another jumper. Robinson secured the rebound and was fouled
before being hit in the groin by Robert Horry
, who received a
"I didn't try to hit him, I was just trying to get the ball,"
Horry said. "I didn't mean to hit him after the whistle. I
didn't even hear it."
made the technical free throw and Robinson split two
from the line. The Spurs made 14-of-19 free throws in the
fourth quarter and 21-of-35 overall.
The officiating clearly frustrated the three-time defending
champions, who attempted just 12 free throws.
"The difference was foul shots," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
"They had 35 attempts to our 12. That's ridiculous in a
ballgame this hotly contested."
"From our standpoint as players, it's important to play through
it," Bryant added. "You can go to the refs and plead your case,
but you just have to play through it."
San Antonio held on for just its second victory in the last 10
postseason meetings with Los Angeles.
"Tonight was a good stepping stone for us," Spurs forward Malik
said. "We just had a lot of guys step up and we just have
to keep moving forward and build upon the success of this game."
The Spurs have won all five games with the Lakers this season.
"It's not a trend," O'Neal said. "We feel good about the
position we are in because we were not at our best and the team
over there played the best they play. We wanted to come down
here and get two. Now we can just get one, but we can still get
the home-court advantage."
Rookie Emanuel Ginobili
scored 15 points off the bench and made
3-of-3 3-pointers for San Antonio, whose reserves outscored
their Lakers' counterparts, 28-4.
"I really was able to get into a rhythm tonight and felt like
the game came to me as time went on," Ginobili said. "I was
able to contribute and help my teammates any way that I can."
"He was huge," Duncan said. "He hit big shots down the stretch.
He was a boost when we needed it. We need him to do that the
rest of the series."
O'Neal collected 24 points and 21 rebounds before fouling out
and Derek Fisher
scored 10 points for the Lakers, who lost
forward Devean George
to a severely sprained left ankle early in
the fourth quarter.
Horry grabbed 14 rebounds and reserve Brian Shaw
had nine for
the Lakers, who had a commanding 57-45 rebounding advantage but
committed 19 turnovers leading to 21 points for the Spurs.
Game Two is Tuesday at the SBC Center.
Ginobili buried two 3-pointers in the third quarter, the second
of which gave the Spurs a 60-49 cushion with 1:52 remaining.
The rookie's reverse dunk two minutes into the final period gave
San Antonio a 66-56 edge.
But O'Neal had six points and an assist as the Lakers scored 11
of the next 12 points. His turnaround jumper over Duncan got
Los Angeles within 67-66 with 7:28 to play.