San Antonio 95, L.A. Lakers 94
SAN ANTONIO, April 2 (Ticker) --
As they have so many times this season,
things went awry for Kobe Bryant
and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant missed a jumper at the buzzer as the Lakers fell to the
San Antonio Spurs, 95-94.
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The Lakers, who appear likely to miss the playoffs for the first
time since the 1993-94 season, trailed, 93-90, after Tony Parker
's fadeaway jumper capped a 6-0 Spurs run with 1:32 left.
But Los Angeles forward Brian Grant
nailed a jumper and teammate
stole the ball from San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili
and made a reverse layup over Spurs center Rasho Nesterovic
for a 94-93 edge with 14.3 seconds remaining.
"I knew Ginobili would try to go to his left hand and I waited,"
Butler said. "I read it. I'm glad they did not call me for a
foul because (Ginobili) flops a lot. I then went full court and
Following a timeout, San Antonio's Brent Barry
ball to Nesterovic and cut toward the hoop. Nesterovic handed
the ball to Barry, who plowed into Butler before sinking a bank
shot with 6.7 seconds left. But the referees did not call a
foul, allowing the basket to count.
"I got the ball and was looking for others," Barry said. "When
(Butler) went down I put it up."
"It was a questionable call and it could have gone either way,"
Butler said. "You sometimes don't get that call at the end of
the game. I tried to get there and make him change his shot."
Interim Lakers coach Frank Hamblen
was not so diplomatic.
"I thought it was a charge but they didn't call it," Hamblen
Bryant had a chance to win it for the Lakers, but his jumper
over long-limbed Spurs forward and former teammate Robert Horry
from the right elbow hit the rim and bounced away harmlessly,
sealing the Lakers' 10th loss in 11 games.
Hamblen wanted Bryant to do something else with the ball.
"I wanted Kobe to drive to the basket, especially when Robert
Horry came out to cover him," Hamblen said. "I wanted him to
take it to the basket instead of settling. But when you put the
ball in a great player's hands, it is his decision to make."
Bryant did not have a problem with his shot selection.
"I rose up and got a great look and didn't make it," he said.
"Ten times out of 10 I will take that shot."
Barry scored 20 points and Parker added 17 for the Spurs
(54-19), who are 1˝ games behind Phoenix (55-17) for the best
record in the Western Conference.
Butler scored 27 points for the Lakers (33-39), who were swept
by the Spurs for the second time in three seasons. Bryant
scored 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
With 10 games remaining, the Lakers are 7˝ games behind
eighth-place Memphis (40-31) in the West.
The Lakers scored the first 11 points of the game but were
outscored, 26-12, over the final nine minutes of the opening
quarter. Los Angeles held a 48-46 lead at the break and a 76-75
edge entering the fourth quarter.