San Antonio 95, L.A. Lakers 85
SAN ANTONIO, May 5 (Ticker) -- Tony Parker
is on fast forward,
zipping past the Los Angeles Lakers and into superstardom.
Parker scored a playoff career-high 30 points to lead the San
Antonio Spurs to a 95-85 victory over the Lakers and a 2-0 lead
in the Western Conference semifinals.
What was viewed as an epic matchup pitting superstar Tim Duncan
and the NBA champion Spurs against the four future Hall of
Famers of the Lakers is being dominated by Parker, a 6-2 guard
from France whose unstoppable quickness quickly is turning this
series into a rout.
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Manu Ginobili diced through L.A. for 15 points and six assists.
D. Clarke Evans
Parker had 20 points and nine assists in Sunday's opener,
repeatedly blowing past Gary Payton
and the rest of the Lakers'
defense as if they were standing still. In this one, the
21-year-old took the RPMs to another level.
"I was just trying to be aggressive; that's the main thing,"
said Parker, who added five assists and three steals. "I was in
attack mode and just tried to get shots for me and my teammates.
I have a lot of confidence and want to keep playing
"He is such a quick, speedy player," Lakers guard
Again making Payton look helpless, Parker raced to 16 points in
the first quarter as San Antonio grabbed a 33-17 lead. But his
true stamp of stardom came in the final period, when the
reliable Duncan did not score.
The Spurs were clinging to an 83-80 lead when Parker's
penetration led to two free throws for himself and another for
. On the next possession, he used a crossover
dribble that had Devean George
swiping at air before lofting a
runner over 7-1 Shaquille O'Neal
that splashed through for an
88-80 bulge with 3:38 left.
"We have to make him do something else," O'Neal said. "We have
to trap him and make him get the ball to someone else. He's
getting to the lane and doing what he wants."
Parker, who made
13-of-23 shots, added the coup de grace with an 18-footer for a
92-83 lead with 1:02 to play.
"P.J. (Spurs assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo) elbows me five times a
game and says, 'He's 21, shut up and watch the game,'" said
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
, who almost never yells at Parker
anymore. "That's all I should do. He does a great job of
leadership. ... I'm blessed to have such a young, talented kid."
After a rough stretch in the second half, San Antonio got its
defense in order and held Los Angeles without a basket over the
final 5½ minutes. The Lakers missed their last seven shots.
"It looked to me like we ran out of gas again tonight getting
back into the ballgame, and didn't have enough left for the last
four minutes of the game," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant
Game 3 is Sunday at Los Angeles. Of 170 teams that have
lost the first two games of a best-of-seven series, only seven
have come back to win.
"It's tough to get one, much less two (to tie it)," Fisher said.
Duncan scored 24 points and Manu Ginobili
added 15 off the bench
for the Spurs, who have won 17 straight games since March 23.
O'Neal had 32 points and 15 rebounds as the Lakers did a much
better job of getting him the ball in the low post. But Bryant
was held to 15 on 7-of-17 shooting as he was taken out of the
Game 2 followed a script similar to Game 1. Parker set an
early tone with his speed as the Spurs took control before the
Lakers battled back with a strong third quarter.
After a 3-pointer by Bruce Bowen
, Parker set up easy baskets by
Ginobili with lob and behind-the-back passes, making it 61-43
late in the first half. But O'Neal made 12-of-13 shots during
one stretch, rallying L.A. within 76-72 with 9:04 to play.
"It was the same as Game 1," said Nesterovic, who scored nine
points. "Our intensity dropped in the third quarter. We have
to take better care not to let that happen again."
A corner jumper by Bryant made it 80-78 before Hedo Turkoglu
3-pointer gave San Antonio some breathing room. Bryant sank
another jumper for the Lakers' last basket and Parker took over.
"He played his butt off tonight," Lakers forward Karl Malone