San Antonio 100, L.A. Lakers 83
SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 4 (Ticker) --
The San Antonio Spurs got by their
one-time rivals despite a rare sub-par performance by
scored 13 of his career-high 24 points in the first
half and Brent Barry
added 14 as the Spurs coasted to a 100-83
victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
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Bowen, who scored 27 against the Lakers in the 2003 Western
Conference semifinals, made 9-of-19 shots, including 5-of-11
from the arc.
"He had some open shots, they left him alone a little bit," San
Antonio coach Gregg Popovich
said. "He took pride in shooting
those shots. More than his offense, I thought he did a real
good job defensively and set a tone for us.
Duncan managed just 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting in 28 minutes,
but his teammates picked up the slack as San Antonio shot 58
percent (23-of-40) through two quarters en route to its sixth
win in seven games.
"Against a good team like this one you just have to try to take
some things away from them and we did," Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich
said. "But they had an answer in someone else
The Spurs led for most of the game and pulled away at the end of
the first quarter. After Kobe Bryant
's jumper cut the Lakers'
deficit to 19-13 with 3½ minutes left, Barry found rookie
for an easy layup on the other end to ignite a 10-2
"We didn't call a lot of plays tonight," Bowen said. "The
coaches get giddy when that happens. We were getting most of
our shots out of our motion offense. We were shooting and
making wide-open shots."
Barry added a basket before hitting a pair of 3-pointers around
a layup by Bryant, making it 29-15 with 56 seconds left. Bowen
tacked on a shot from the arc at the buzzer to give the Spurs a
32-18 advantage after 12 minutes.
"It was a good win for us," Popovich said. "We obviously got off
to a good start, made a lot of shots and they had a tough time
shooting in the first half and we took advantage of it. Some
nights it happens that way. We got a lead, and I thought we did
a good job keeping the lead and maintaining our focus."
The duo combined to hit nine of the Spurs' 15 3-pointers on 30
"We just had some open guys," Popovich said. "But I hate
3-pointers. I hate taking 30 3-pointers but the guys were open
and they were knocking them down."
Bowen and Barry scored the first five points of the second
period and Manu Ginobili
scored seven of his 13 in the quarter
as San Antonio pushed its lead to 29 and took a 56-32 edge into
In addition to his offensive outburst, Bowen held Bryant to 17
points. Seeking his fourth consecutive 40-point performance,
Bryant made just 5-of-16 shots for Los Angeles, which shot 41
"It's always a challenge with Kobe," Bowen said. "I enjoy the
opportunity to play against a guy of his caliber. He's done a
lot for this league, rightfully so with his ability. It's
always a great pleasure for me to play against Kobe."
"More than his offense, I thought (Bowen) did a real good job
defensively and set a tone for us," Popovich said.
The teams have posted the two best records in the NBA over the
last eight seasons and have combined to win the last six Western
Conference championships. They have met in the postseason five
times during that stretch.
San Antonio has won both meetings this season with Los Angeles,
which overhauled its roster in the offseason.
"Our fans get real excited about our rivalry with the Lakers and
that gets us going for games like this," Ginobili said. "The
Lakers have a lot of talent and potential, but it isn't the same
as the past couple years, though."
Bryant came away impressed with the Spurs.
"This Spurs team is the same as always, they are just better,"
Bryant said. "Manu, Tony (Parker) and Rasho (Nesterovic) all
have another year of experience and all fit in the system here
so well. They are the same as always, just better."