San Antonio 110, L.A. Lakers 82
LOS ANGELES, May 15 (Ticker) --
A steady diet of Tim Duncan
recipe the San Antonio Spurs used to end the reign of the Los
NBA TV highlights from|
Play of the Day:
Dunk of the Night:
Speed Stick Never Quits Highlight:
Duncan collected 37 points and 16 rebounds as the Spurs never
trailed after the game's first minute and cruised to a 110-82
rout, ending the run of the three-time defending champion
San Antonio won the series in six games and advanced to the
Western Conference Finals for the second time in three years.
The Spurs will face Dallas or Sacramento.
"Tim Duncan is a fantastic competitor, as we all know," San
Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "But I thought in Game 5
and Game 6, he was astounding in his focus. He pulled everyone
along these last two games."
San Antonio was the last team to defeat the Lakers in the
postseason, sweeping them in the semifinals in the Spurs' 1999
championship season. The win also snapped Los Angeles' run of 13
straight playoff series triumphs.
"I thought, for the most part of the series, we really
controlled the tempo, we did a lot of good things," Spurs center
said. "They just showed a lot of heart. They
fought us tooth and nail. We've just been playing so well
lately, even on the road."
Los Angeles, which needed just nine games to eliminate San
Antonio in the last two postseasons, was thoroughly outplayed
down the stretch. Shaquille O'Neal
went to the bench with 4:34
remaining and the Lakers trailing, 98-76. It was an ignominious
end for a team seeking to become the first to win four straight
titles since the Boston Celtics won eight straight from
"The Spurs were better," O'Neal said. "We beat them the past two
years. We knew what they were capable of. The Spurs were the
team this year."
Duncan demonstrated why he earned his second straight Most
Valuable Player award with a virtuoso performance. He made
16-of-25 shots, setting the tone in the first quarter by making
7-of-8 shots for 15 points.
"Coming into this series, they (the Lakers) decided to let me do
what I had to do and shut everybody else down," Duncan said.
"It kind of came hard early on, because my shots didn't feel
great early on."
"The guys that thought maybe Tim Duncan didn't deserve the MVP
have changed their minds," Spurs rookie Emanuel Ginobili
"In the clutch of important games and you play like that, you
are the best."
A 10-0 tear that featured eight points from Duncan established
San Antonio's first double-digit lead at 76-64 with just over
one minute left in the third quarter. Tony Parker
, who finished
with 27 points, went coast-to-coast for a layup and a 78-69
advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Parker's basket came immediately after a three-pointer by Kobe
cut the Lakers' deficit to seven.
"After Kobe hit that three, I wanted to stop their run," Parker
said. "I saw that opening and just went for it. That basket hurt
Instead of Los Angeles making a last stand, San Antonio put an
exclamation point on the victory with a dominant display. The
Spurs scored 10 of the first 14 points, shot 60 percent
(12-of-20) in the period and limited the Lakers to just six
"They played a great second half against us that really took the
air out of the building and out of the game," Lakers coach Phil
Jackson said. "They left no doubt about the fact that they were
the better team in the series."
O'Neal finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds and Bryant netted
20 points for the Lakers, which did not get enough
contributions from the rest of the team.
It was a surreal ending for the Lakers, who had rookies Jannero
and Kareem Rush
on the floor in the final moments as the
Spurs stretched out the lead. Popovich actually called a
timeout with 2:26 left to instruct his team not to celebrate
"I didn't think we were going to win the way we did," Spurs
forward Malik Rose
said. "We fully intended to come here and get
it done. It was nice to have that seventh game in our hip
Those words were unnecessary for the soft-spoken Duncan, who
once again did his talking with his performance. Duncan had no
trouble in his matchup with Robert Horry
using an assortment of moves to exploit the smaller Horry.
Jackson saw his NBA record of 25 straight playoff series
triumphs end, suffering his first loss since his Chicago Bulls
lost to the Orlando Magic in six games in the 1995 Eastern
Conference semifinals. Jackson, who underwent an angioplasty
and missed Game 4, was non-committal about his future.
"Whether I coach them or not, they'll be fine," Jackson said of
the Lakers. "When you make correct decisions and do things
correctly, your expectations are fulfilled, especially when you
put the effort in. This year we couldn't do that, we couldn't
make the correct steps."
Parker had been outplayed by Stephon Marbury
in San Antonio's
first-round series victory over Phoenix and was aired out by
Popovich after an ill-advised shot early in the game. The
second-year guard showed remarkable poise -- a quality lacking in
San Antonio in stretches of this series -- and made 9-of-19
shots in outplaying Derek Fisher
"You have to give coach Pop a lot of credit," Parker said. "He
gave me a lot of freedom. And they (the coaches) called plays to
create an opportunity for me to penetrate. At times, he wanted
to pull out his hair out because we were doing crazy things."
San Antonio shot 65 percent (13-of-20) in building a 29-25 lead
after one quarter thanks to Duncan's early strong play. The
Spurs led by as many as nine points in the second period before
settling for a 54-50 edge.
A driving layup by Ginobili gave San Antonio an 84-70 lead early
in the fourth quarter, prompting a timeout by Jackson. Slava
responded with a layup, but Parker made a free throw
and 40-year-old Kevin Willis
outhustled a pair of Lakers for a
tip-in that triggered a 15-4 run.
"Kevin Willis was at 41 running as hard as he could," Rose said.
"(He was) rebounding, never quitting."
After a basket by O'Neal cut the deficit to 88-74, Ginobili and
nailed a 3-pointer and Willis scored on a follow
slam with 5:59 remaining, forcing Jackson to burn another
timeout as the STAPLES Center began to empty. A foul shot by
Ginobili made it 99-76 with 4:34 remaining.
Los Angeles shot 85 free throws in winning Games 3 and 4,
but Thursday's game was a huge departure. The Lakers were just
6-of-13 from the foul line and did not have a single foul shot
in the final 10 minutes.
"I'm ready to get right in the gym tonight and start getting
ready for next year," Bryant said. "I don't like this feeling. I
really don't. And I don't want to have this feeling ever
Horry epitomized the struggles of the Lakers role players by
managing only two points on 1-of-6 shooting. Horry, whose
potential game-winning three-point attempt in Game 5 rimmed out,
missed all three from beyond the arc on Thursday and was
0-for-18 on 3-pointers in the series.
Led by Duncan, the Spurs enjoyed a 44-32 edge on the glass and
scored 23 points off 14 turnovers by the Lakers. Ginobili came
off the bench for 10 points for San Antonio, which made 6-of-9
shots from beyond the arc.
"What a great feeling," Rose said. "We've been working the past
three seasons just to get with these guys. They had three
championships, the two best players in the world and they still
do. But we worked every day to get where they are."