L.A. Lakers 98, San Antonio 90
LOS ANGELES, May 11 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant
's seemingly endless energy
has the Los Angeles Lakers alive and well.
Bryant scored 42 points in another remarkable performance as the
Lakers evened their Western Conference semifinal series at two
games each with a convincing 98-90 victory over the San Antonio
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Kobe Bryant tore through the Spurs for a postseason-high 42 points.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
"I just wanted to come out and leave it all on the floor," said
Bryant, who made 15-of-27 shots without a turnover. "I'll get
plenty of rest tonight and tomorrow and just let it all hang
out. I'm tired. ... I just feel numb right now. Just tired,
just want to get some sleep."
Bryant spent a second straight day in a Colorado courtroom,
after which he flew back to
Los Angeles and arrived at STAPLES Center 2 1/2 hours before
tip-off, grabbing a quick nap.
"I don't see how he does it," superstar teammate Shaquille O'Neal
said. "He's a fabulous player, probably the best player
that ever played the game. Especially with all the stuff he's
been going through."
Showing no signs of fatigue, the superstar guard scored 18
points in the first half. However, his teammates seemed
sluggish and found themselves in a 53-43 halftime hole.
"I felt pretty good at the start of the game," Bryant said.
"(The energy) came in spurts as the game went along."
O'Neal came alive in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his 28
points as the Lakers took the lead for good. Bryant re-assumed
command in the final period, when he scored 15 points on a
variety of shots that seemed to demoralize the Spurs.
"I think what's outstanding is that he's able to be precise in
his shooting and precise in his ballhandling and passing,"
Lakers coach Phil Jackson
"I guess the basket was real big for him tonight because almost
every shot was a tough shot," said Spurs guard Bruce Bowen
has had some success defending Bryant in the past. "And they
went in. And there is nothing you can do about that. When a guy
like Kobe is on like that, it is basically all you can do just
to get a hand up when he shoots."
The Lakers had their epitaphs written after losing the first two
games but found a way to slow down Tim Duncan
and Tony Parker
and have the momentum as the series returns to San Antonio for
Thursday's pivotal fifth game.
In the third quarter, the Lakers outscored the Spurs, 31-16, to
take control. They have won all four third periods by a combined
"We came out with a fury in the second half that we hoped to
exhibit in the first half," Jackson said.
Leading the way this time was O'Neal. His three-point play with
3:45 left capped a 17-6 surge and gave LA a 63-61 lead, its
first since the opening period.
"We knew that if we came and made the same silly mistakes in the
third quarter, we'd be down by 20 points or 25," O'Neal said.
"We made a conscious effort to feed me the ball and a conscious
effort to play good team ball."
San Antonio still was within 76-73 early in the fourth quarter
before O'Neal made a layup and Bryant sank a 3-pointer and a
tough reverse layup, pushing the lead to double digits with 8:10
The Spurs got no closer than six points as they were rebuffed by
Bryant, who scored 10 of his team's last 11 points.
"He was taking some tough shots and making some tough shots,"
O'Neal said. "He amazed me tonight."
"He makes unbelievable shots but he's an unbelievable player,"
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
Duncan had 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists but was very
quiet in the second half, going 13 minutes without a basket.
Parker had 18 points and eight assists but was kept out of
"We were doubling (Duncan) really, really quick and forcing him
pass the ball to his teammates," O'Neal said. "In the first
half, his teammates hit shots for him. In the third quarter, we
had to back off a little, and then double him as soon as he got
The Spurs were sharp in the first quarter, making their first
five 3-pointers as they built a 27-16 lead. Some hot shooting
by Bryant cut the deficit to 41-40 before San Antonio closed the
quarter with a 12-3 run.