San Antonio 114, L.A. Lakers 95
SAN ANTONIO, May 7 (Ticker) -- Bruce Bowen
was supposed to try to
contain Kobe Bryant
. But the Los Angeles Lakers could not
Bowen drilled a team playoff-record seven three-pointers and scored
a career-high 27 points as the Spurs rolled to a 114-95 rout of
the Lakers in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal
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A defensive specialist, Bowen's primary responsibility in this
series is to guard Bryant, who is one of the NBA's top offensive
players. He also is expected to hit an occasional shot.
Bowen did a lot more in this one as the Spurs grabbed a 2-0 lead
over the three-time defending NBA champions. They made a major
statement in Game 2, never trailing and leading by as many as
Taking advantage of good looks at the basket, Bowen went
10-of-12 from the field and made 7-of-8 three-pointers. He sank
five three-pointers in the first half, helping the Spurs open a
60-43 lead. San Antonio extended the advantage to 94-67 after
three quarters, rendering the final 12 minutes meaningless.
"It was a career high, it's the playoffs, so it's amplified,"
said Bowen, whose previous career best was 21 points. "Everyone
is watching because we are the only game going on. It's the
best game I've had as an NBA player."
"Bruce did a phenomenal job of making plays and shooting the
ball from the outside," said Spurs center David Robinson
managed just four points. "He really helped get us going and he
just never cooled off. What a terrific performance, and you
cannot say enough about the effort he gave tonight."
Even though he averaged just 7.1 points per game during the
regular season, Bowen led the league in three-point shooting at 44
"He wants to shoot the basketball," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
said. "I don't know where he finished during the regular
season. I was sort of surprised he couldn't buy one in the
Phoenix series. It was good to see him get it back."
Jaren Jackson held the previous team record for three-pointers in a
playoff game with six during the 1999 conference finals against
Bowen was averaging just 5.6 points in his first seven playoff
games. His previous postseason high was 13 in last season's
conference semifinals against the Lakers.
Rookie Manu Ginobili
, a key factor in Game 1 for San Antonio,
had another big night. The Argentina native had 10 points in
the first quarter and finished with 17 on 5-of-7 shooting.
With the unexpected offensive firepower from Bowen and Ginobili,
NBA Most Valuable Player Tim Duncan
did not have to do much.
Duncan netted 13 points to go with 12 rebounds and seven assists
and sat out the entire fourth quarter.
Things were so bad after three quarters for the Lakers that
superstar center Shaquille O'Neal
watched the final 12 minutes
from the bench and Bryant played sparingly. Both scored 27
"Give the Spurs credit, they did what they had to do on their
home court," O'Neal said. "Going down 0-2, we are in a
dangerous spot, but this team can bounce back and we have to
take care of business in Los Angeles."
"We just have to now come in and take this as an opportunity to
make plays and hold serve on our home court," Bryant said.
"They really cut us up tonight with their penetration, but we
have to take this as an opportunity to come out there and just
The Spurs, seeking revenge after being eliminated by the Lakers
in the playoffs each of the previous two seasons, look to keep
the momemtum going when the series shifts to Los Angeles on
"We have to go in with the same energy," Duncan said. "We did
our part keeping home-court. We have to focus on the first game
and put the pressure on their shoulders."
"This series is not over. They are a championship basketball
team," Bowen added.
Trying to force another game in San Antonio would be an
accomplishment for the Lakers, who have some key injuries and
have lost all six meetings between the teams this season.
Including the postseason, San Antonio has just eight losses
since February 20.
It also is the first time the Lakers have lost the first two
games of a series under coach Phil Jackson, who has won his last
25 playoff series.
"That was a royal kick in the butt by this team," Jackson said.
"We couldn't find a way to slow them down. We made some bad
decisions and they benefited from a lot of them. Their shooting
was terrific, especially Bruce Bowen."
One of the Lakers' key injuries is to forward Devean George
suffered a sprained left ankle in the fourth quarter of Game
1. Brian Shaw
replaced George in the lineup and failed to
make an impact with six points on 3-of-9 shooting. With Shaw
in the lineup, Bryant slid over from shooting guard to small
It did not matter where Bryant played as Ginobili and Bowen
stole the show in the first quarter. Ginobili made his first
four shots and Bowen hit two three-pointers in the opening two
Ginobili's runner with 2:32 left in the quarter gave the Spurs a
26-16 lead. Veteran Danny Ferry
sank a three-pointer in the final
five seconds, making it 31-18.
"I am just happy to keep contributing," Ginobili said. "We just
got into a great rhythm and we just have to keep attacking and
working hard and make plays."
San Antonio shot 67 percent (12-of-18) and held a 13-4
rebounding advantage in the first 12 minutes. It had to be a
surprising offensive outburst for San Antonio, which managed
just 38 points in the first half of Game 1.
The Lakers were within 43-36 with 5:54 left in the half
following a jumper by Bryant, who went 9-of-24 from the field.
He is just 25-of-62 through the first two games while being
hounded by Bowen.
The Spurs closed the half on a 17-7 run, including eight points
from point guard Tony Parker
. He drove to the basket for an
uncontested layup with four seconds left, opening a 60-43 bulge.
San Antonio got plenty of good looks in the first half, when it
shot a blistering 60 percent (24-of-40). The Lakers shot 46
percent (18-of-39) and committed nine turnovers.
Parker finished with 16 points, backup point guard Speedy
had 15 and Stephen Jackson
10 for the Spurs, who shot 56
percent (42-of-75) overall and placed six players in double
"We really shot the ball well tonight," Parker said. "Bruce
especially got it going for us and I think Stephen (Jackson),
myself and Manu just continued to make plays and help out our
O'Neal, who had 15 points in the first half, was one of the few
bright spots for the Lakers as he made 10-of-14 shots and
grabbed 10 rebounds. Los Angeles shot 45 percent (36-of-80)
Bowen stepped inside the arc to drill a jumper with 7:50 left in
the third quarter, triggering a 22-7 surge that turned the game
into a rout. He also hit a pair three-pointers and had 10 points
in the spurt that Kevin Willis
capped with a jumper, giving the
Spurs their biggest lead at 90-57.
"We have battled through adversity all year long," said Lakers
guard Derek Fisher
, who scored five points. "It kinda has been
this team's motto. We have to and will make adjustments before
Friday's game. We will figure things out and come out as a
different team on Friday."