NBA.com: PLAYOFFS 2003
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San Antonio 87, L.A. Lakers 82
Spurs Stop Lakers, Win Game 1

Manu Ginobili tallied 15 points off the bench for San Antonio.
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

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SAN ANTONIO, May 5 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan showed why he deserved the Most Valuable Player award, despite the best efforts of Kobe Bryant.

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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 Robinson, 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 technical foul.

"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."

Tony Parker 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 Rose 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.



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