GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score San Antonio Spurs 27 36 28 21 112
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 28 19 23 21 91




Spurs rout Lakers, improve spot atop West

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Apr 17 2012 10:12PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Tony Parker had 29 points and 13 assists, Tim Duncan had 19 points and eight rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs handed the Los Angeles Lakers their worst loss of the season, 112-91 on Tuesday night.

Manu Ginobili scored 15 points as the Spurs improved their spot atop the Western Conference with their fourth straight win. They also snapped Los Angeles' four-game winning streak while dominating a meeting of division leaders - albeit with Kobe Bryant sitting out his sixth straight game to rest his bruised shin.

Andrew Bynum had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers, whose Pacific Division lead over the Clippers dwindled to a half-game, although the Lakers hold the tiebreaker. Matt Barnes and Pau Gasol scored 16 points apiece, but with Bryant watching from the bench in a sharp suit, Los Angeles couldn't match the depth of the Spurs, who got at least four points from 10 players.

Just six days after the Kobe-less Lakers jumped to a 26-point lead during a comfortable victory at San Antonio, the Spurs answered by scoring 18 consecutive points during an impressive second-quarter spree.

San Antonio, which had lost three straight to the Lakers, stretched its lead to 23 points in the third quarter - making 30 of 43 shots in the middle quarters - and hung on comfortably for its 15th win in 17 games. Parker particularly decimated Los Angeles' defense, going 14 of 20 against point guards Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake.

The Spurs (44-16) have a half-game lead over Oklahoma City (44-17) for the No. 1 seed in the West.

The two perennial West powers will meet yet again for a rubber match Friday in San Antonio.

Although Bryant says he would be healthy enough to play if the Lakers were in the playoffs now, coach Mike Brown thinks Bryant is unlikely to play Wednesday at Golden State. The NBA scoring leader already has played through several lesser injuries this season, and Brown seems content to allow Bryant to heal for the postseason, even if his absence costs the Lakers a spot in playoff seeding.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich agreed with his former assistant's strategy, saying he would choose health over playoff position. Popovich has rested his veteran core down the stretch, but everybody was active against the Lakers - and everybody contributed to a blowout win.

Bryant's absence had inspired strong performances from the Lakers over the past week, but the Spurs had little trouble with Los Angeles' reconfigured lineup. San Antonio took control with a 24-4 run in the second quarter, blowing open a tight game with opportunistic defense and relentless fast breaks.

Six players scored during the 18-0 portion of the run, with Danny Green hitting consecutive 3-pointers along the way. The Lakers committed seven turnovers in the second quarter, while the Spurs made 17 of 24 shots to take a 63-47 halftime lead.

NOTES: The Spurs have 19 road wins, matching Oklahoma City for the most in the West. Chicago leads the NBA with 22. ... Devin Ebanks had nine points in his 10th start of the season for Los Angeles, his sixth straight in Bryant's place. The second-year pro has played in just 20 games this season. ... Fans near courtside included Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, Salma Hayek, Kat Dennings and former Angels 3B Doug DeCinces.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited





View More Photos


Points Bynum 21, 8-16 FG
Rebounds Bynum/Gasol 7
Assists Blake 7
Steals World Peace 3
Blocks 3 tied with 1


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown’s opening statement:
“You got to give San Antonio credit. We got a behind kicking tonight. They did a great job at the beginning of the game. Tony Parker came out and he was aggressive in the pick-and-roll game. He came off and knocked down some jump shots he didn’t knock down last game, and they just kind of fed off of that.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on San Antonio’s run to close the first half:
In the second quarter, what they do very well is they close quarters very well. The way they closed that second quarter helped them get the necessary lead to kind of put the game away. In the first half, we had a lot of unforced turnovers. The unforced turnovers just hurt us. At halftime, we had 12 or 13 turnovers and most of them were unforced for 20 points. That was big.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on how the game swung so fast in the Spurs favor:
“When Metta was out, I felt we really lost tempo of the game. The tempo was in their favor. They sped us up and we did not look like we had, nor did we try, to get control of the tempo. We kind of got out of character a bit of the way we’ve been playing lately. You have to give the Spurs credit. They dictated the pace and they dictated the tempo of the game. The way it was, was definitely in their favor and they came and got a win.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on his concern for the amount of turnovers tonight:
“I thought lately we’ve done a decent job of not turning the ball over, but if we did turn it over, we weren’t in a bad position to get back. Our floor balance was ok, so we might have turned it over, but not necessarily gotten hurt with points off turnovers. But I thought tonight, we did both. We had some bad turnovers, but not only did we have bad, unforced turnovers, but our floor balance was also not there which led to easy points for San Antonio.”




Ramon Sessions:

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on the play of Tony Parker:
“It was simple, he was making his mid-range jump shot. The game plan was to do what we did in San Antonio, and he was hitting his shots. It’s tough to guard him when he was hitting those shots like he was.”




Pau Gasol:

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on if Kobe missing games is finally catching up to them:
“I don’t know if it was a matter of him being there or not being there. We’ve been doing pretty well with and without him, but we just had a bad stretch at the end of the second quarter and we paid a big price. They got going and they were a little too comfortable. I think that we needed to be a little more aggressive and put a little more pressure into them because they were too comfortable playing. Parker obviously had a big game. Turnovers killed us in that second quarter and they broke the game open.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on Kobe’s presence on the sideline:
“He’s been very active, talkative, supportive, and just really involved from the sideline. It’s been good for everybody and I think everybody appreciates it a lot.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on the difference between tonight’s game and the game in San Antonio:
“They played a great game tonight. They didn’t play so well in San Antonio. We made a lot of shots down there but we weren’t as sharp tonight. If we didn’t have those turnovers in the second quarter, they wouldn’t have gotten going and made those three’s and easy layups in transition.”




Andrew Bynum:

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on the loss:
“We did a lot of dumb stuff on the court tonight and it cost us. They made one run and we never recovered from it.”

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on what went wrong tonight:
“Just lots and lots and lots of turnovers. And defensive breakdowns.”

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on his rebound total tonight versus last week in San Antonio:
“They didn’t miss any shots, so it’s hard to get defensive boards. Last game I had 22 defensive boards, tonight I hardly any.”




Gregg Popovich:

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Tony Parker:
“He’s shooting the ball better than he ever has and he’s bringing more people into the game more than he ever has before. He probably had double figure assists. He’s playing defense better than he has and his leadership has been off the charts. This is by far his best season.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on why the Spurs played so much better tonight:
“It went just as well for us [tonight] as it went for the [Lakers] in San Antonio five days ago. It was a flip flop of games. If there was an answer to that than some teams would never lose a game. Teams are made up of human beings and the [Lakers] had the kind of night we had back home when they destroyed us. So, we had a good night tonight and we still caught a break. I looked hard but I didn’t see Kobe anywhere. I think that helped us a little bit.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on how the style and pace of tonight’s game benefited the Spurs:
“The pace was better for us. We did a better job inside. Our big guys did a better job in that regard and Tony had a great game. He didn’t have much of a game in San Antonio but that’s the way things go. That’s why you have a whole season and that’s why the playoffs are 7 games not 2.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on whether the team paid extra attention to Bynum following the last game in San Antonio:
“He’s having a great season. He’s really blossoming and he’s a tough cover now. He’s going to score but you have to do as good a job as possible.”




Manu Ginobili:

Spurs’ Manu Ginobili on tonight’s win:
“It feels good because we all were very disappointed, disappointed at that loss. So, we needed to come here and play better, feel good about ourselves and show that we are better than that. We needed to play better so it’s a good feeling.”

Spurs’ Manu Ginobili on the difference between the last two contests:
“Things happen in basketball. Sometimes you start on the wrong foot. In San Antonio they got hot early. Today, we played much better, Tony [Parker] was fantastic and everything started rolling. Confidence wise we were much better. They didn’t make as many threes and we did a much better job on Pau [Gasol] and [Andrew] Bynum. Overall, it was a great game.”




Tony Parker:

Spurs’ Tony Parker on tonight’s win:
“We were very motivated and obviously we were not happy with our performance four or five days ago. They beat us pretty bad at our place so we wanted to get it back.”

Spurs’ Tony Parker on the team’s performance:
“Tonight everyone was focused, ball movement was great, and we played very unselfish. Defensively I thought we did a better job on [Andrew] Bynum and [Pau] Gasol compared to the first time we played them.”

Spurs’ Tony Parker on playing without Kobe Bryant:
“They’re still a very talented team. [Andrew] Bynum is playing very good and you’ve got [Pau] Gasol who is like one of the best inside guys in our league. So, you’re still going to be competitive even if Kobe [Bryant] is not playing.”




Tim Duncan:

Spurs’ Tim Duncan on their last couple games of the season:
“We love our position obviously and we hope to hold on to it. We’re feeling good and I think the main thing that we’ve always said all along is to try to stay healthy, top to bottom. We need to keep all our guys healthy and go in to the playoffs healthy.”

Spurs’ Tim Duncan on the pace of play:
“We are playing at a much faster pace and that’s the way of the NBA, that’s how it’s going. You need to get the ball up the floor and teams are too big and guys are too good defensively. You need to get the ball up the floor and make things happen early.”






Spurs-Lakers Preview

By NOEY KUPCHAN


The Los Angeles Lakers surprisingly haven't missed a beat with Kobe Bryant sidelined. The Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs know first-hand just how formidable Los Angeles can be even without its 14-time All-Star.

With Bryant expected to miss his sixth straight game Tuesday night, the Lakers try for a fourth consecutive win over the visiting Spurs and a fifth straight victory overall as these first-place teams square off for the second time in seven days.

Since falling 125-105 at Phoenix on April 7, Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles (39-22) has won four in a row - including Wednesday's 98-84 victory at San Antonio (43-16). Metta World Peace posted a season-high 26 points in that game while Andrew Bynum added 16 to go along with a career-high 30 rebounds.

"They played great and beat us to death," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "There's nothing else you can say about it." Bynum also came up big during Sunday's 112-108 overtime win over Dallas, finishing with 23 points and 16 boards. Pau Gasol added 20 and 10, respectively, while Ramon Sessions scored 22. "Metta, Andrew, myself, we all feel we have to step up in Kobe's absence," said Gasol, who's averaging 22.0 points in his last five games - well above his season mark of 17.4. "A different guy can do it every game."

While the NBA's leading scorer hasn't been able to suit up due to a bruised left shin, it's safe to say Bryant (28.1 points per game) has made his presence felt from the sidelines. Bryant has been seen drawing up plays for his teammates during timeouts and encouraging them throughout the game.

"That's Coach Bryant now. He's like a coach over there," Sessions said. "He's over there helping everybody out and drawing stuff up on the board. He's pulling for us over on the side and he's helping us out tremendously."

The Lakers have outscored the Spurs by an average of 13.0 points during their three-game winning streak in the series. Los Angeles hasn't taken four straight from San Antonio since a six-game run Nov. 13, 1997-Feb. 19, 1999.

The Spurs posted their 14th win in 16 games and - combined with Oklahoma City's 92-77 loss to the Clippers - moved percentage points ahead of the Thunder for the top spot in the West with Monday's 120-99 rout at Golden State.

San Antonio shot just 39.1 percent from the field but outrebounded the Warriors 55-47. The Spurs are 24-3 when pulling down at least 44 boards.

Popovich's team figures to be relatively fresh for the second leg of its current back-to-back-to-back stretch, as Tim Duncan played just over 11 minutes Monday and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili both played less than 15.

"We understood the situation, we got the comfortable lead and Pop made the call," Duncan said. "It was the right call. Our main focus is to be healthy and have our legs."

"We're in the run for it. We're going to do our best to try to win the West but it's not going to break our hearts if we don't. We want to be healthy more than anything."

Duncan scored 14 points last Wednesday, but is averaging just 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, and shooting 30.0 percent in his last four matchups with the Lakers.

The Spurs visit Sacramento on Wednesday before concluding their season series with the Lakers two nights later at the AT&T Center.

4/15/12
W LAL 112, DAL 108
4/13/12
W LAL 103, DEN 97
4/11/12
W LAL 98, SAS 84
4/09/12
W LAL 93, NOH 91
4/07/12
L PHX 125, LAL 105
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #2 Leonard  
  #16 GasolPF #21 Duncan  
  #17 Bynum C #45 Blair  
  #3 Ebanks SG #4 Green  
  #7 Sessions PG #9 Parker  



Lakers Jordan Hill
(sprained MCL, right knee) is questionable.
Ramon Sessions
(sprained left shoulder - ac joint) is probable.
Kobe Bryant
(tenosynovitis, left shin) is day-to-day.

None


Game 1: 4/11 - W 98-84
Game 2: 4/17 - SAS @ LAL
Game 3: 4/20 - LAL @ SAS


GAME NOTES

SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead the season series with San Antonio 1-0 after splitting each of the last two season series with the Spurs 2-2. In their last 10 overall games, the Lakers are 6-4 against the Spurs. At home, the Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 games against San Antonio in Los Angeles. Overall, the Lakers are 11-12 all-time against the Spurs at STAPLES Center. In San Antonio, the Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 meetings with the Spurs. In 52 career games including 47 starts against San Antonio, Bryant is averaging 24.3 points per game. In their last trip to San Antonio (4/11/12), Andrew Bynum grabbed 30 rebounds on the night, becoming the fifth Laker to do so and first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978. On February 8, 2010, Pau Gasol helped defeat the Spurs with 21 points, 19 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 blocks, marking just the 7th time a player has accomplished that feat (at least those totals in each category in a single game) in league history. Spurs guard Manu Ginobili played for Argentina in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but suffered a foot injury in their August 22, 2008 meeting with Kobe Bryant’s United States team. Bryant scored 12 points as the U.S. defeated defending champion Argentina 101-81 to advance to the gold medal game while Ginobili played just six minutes due to injury. Lakers head coach Mike Brown spent three seasons as an assistant coach for Greg Popovich’s Spurs, helping San Antonio to three straight division titles (2000-03), including the team’s 2003 NBA Championship. Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person played in 222 games as a member of the Spurs (1994-98) averaging 9.7 points over that span. Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder was the head coach of the NBA Development League’s Austin Toros, the Spurs minor league affiliate, for three seasons (2007-10), amassing a 94-56 (.627) record while guiding them to three consecutive playoff appearances and an appearance in the 2008 D-League championship game.


PLAYOFF PICTURE
With a victory over the Denver Nuggets on April 13, the Lakers clinched a playoff spot, becoming the third team in the West to do so (Oklahoma City, San Antonio). The playoff berth marks the Lakers 59th postseason appearance in 64 NBA seasons as well as their 31st playoff berth in 33 seasons since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to the 1979-80 season. Seeding, however, is still yet to be determined. With a 5-game lead over Dallas and Denver in the loss column and five games to play, the Lakers can finish no worse than the #5 seed in the West as they control tie-breakers with both teams. Winning the Pacific Division would mean no worse than a #4 seed in the West. Teams 1 to 4 in each conference are the three division winners and the team with the next best regular-season record, with the seeding of these four teams determined by regular-season record. The playoff-seedings of teams 5 to 8 are based upon regular-season record.


POOR SHOOTING IN THE FRONT COURT? NO PROBLEM…
Playing without Kobe Bryant for the fifth straight game, the Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks on April 15 in overtime despite subpar shooting performances from starting forwards Metta World Peace (7-for-20) and Pau Gasol (6-for-14) and starting center Andrew Bynum (9-for-24). While having all three members of the starting frontcourt struggle from the field would seem to amount to a guaranteed loss, the Lakers have actually won their last six games in which their starting forwards and center each take 12+ shots and miss more than half. The last Lakers’ loss in such a game occurred back on October 19, 1979 against the Portland Trail Blazers (82-99). The frontcourt trio in that game was Jamaal Wilkes, Spencer Haywood and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.*


ANDREW BYNUM EARNS THIRD CAREER WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR; SECOND THIS SEASON
On April 16, the NBA named Andrew Bynum WC Player of the Week for games played Monday, April 9 through Sunday, April 15; his THIRD career WC Player of the Week award and second this season. Bynum led the Lakers to a 4-0 week behind averages of 21.8 points, a league-best 16.3 rebounds and 1.50 blocks (three double-doubles). Only the 5th Laker in franchise history to grab 30 rebounds in a game (4/11 at San Antonio), Bynum followed up that effort with 30 points 4/13 vs. Denver, becoming the first player league-wide to follow a 30-rebound game with a 30-point game since Moses Malone in Feb. of 1982. Bynum’s first career WC Player of the Week award was earned back on January 26, 2009, when Bynum averaged 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.25 blocks in helping lead the Lakers to a 4-0 week from 1/19/09 to 1/25/09. Earlier this season, Bynum earned the honor after leading the Lakers to a 3-1 week from 3/12/12 to 3/18/12 while averaging 27.5 points (.665 FG%) and 14.8 rebounds.


BYNUM ON A ROLL
With 37 points in the Lakers double overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 13th, Andrew Bynum recorded his third career 30+ point game but second in his last five contests. Additionally, by going 15-of-18 from the field (83.3 percent), Bynum’s night marked just the fourth time in Lakers history that a player has scored at least 37 points on better than 83 percent shooting. The last Laker to accomplish this was Shaquille O’Neal, who did so back on November 19, 1999 in a victory over the Bulls.


FISHER SCORES 10,000th CAREER POINT
With a three-pointer at the 5:17 mark of the first quarter March 13 at Memphis, Derek Fisher reached 10,000 points for his career. In doing so, he became the 308th player in NBA history to record at least 10,000 points in his career. Among active players, he became the 47th player to have scored 10,000 or more points, doing so in the closest NBA city to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he grew up and starred collegiality.


LAKERS MAKE IT 18 STRAIGHT AGAINST THE TIMBERWOLVES
Despite trailing by 14 points in the first quarter, the Lakers rallied to defeat the Timberwolves 105-102 on March 9th, extending their win streak against Minnesota to 18 games, the longest active win streak by one NBA team against another. The streak is the longest by the Lakers against another team since they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 19 straight times from 1995-99. The 14-point lead on 3/9/12 was the Timberwolves’ largest in any of their 18-straight losses to the Lakers, with their only other double-digit lead being a 10-point advantage on 3/18/11 at STAPLES Center.*


BRYANT YOUNGEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 29,000 POINTS; 5th EVER TO REACH MILESTONE
With a free throw at the 2:05 mark of the second quarter March 9th at Minnesota, Kobe Bryant reached 29,000 points for his career. In doing so, Bryant became the youngest to 29,000 points in NBA history (33 years, 199 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (34 years, 198 days), who reached the milestone back on March 7, 1971. Michael Jordan (35 years, 45 days), Karl Malone (35 years, 105 days) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (35 years, 298 days) round out the five players in NBA history to score 29,000 points. Additionally, in reaching 29,000 points in 1,143 games, Bryant became the 5th fastest in terms of games. Chamberlain was the fastest to reach 29,000, doing so in 874 games, followed by Jordan (922), Abdul-Jabbar (1,056) and Malone (1,113).

Earlier this season, with a free throw at the 10:43 mark of the 3rd quarter January 1st at Denver, Kobe Bryant reached 28,000 points for his career, becoming the youngest to 28,000 points in NBA history (33 years, 131 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (34 year, 109 days) who reached the milestone back on December 8, 1970. Michael Jordan (34 years, 333 days), the only other guard in NBA history to score 28,000 points, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (34 years, 363 days), Karl Malone (35 years, 212 days), and Shaquille O’Neal (37 years, 319 days) round out the top six. The youngest player in league history to accumulate 19,000 – 20,000 and 23,000 – 29,000 points, Bryant was the 16th fastest to 18,000, 15th fastest to 19,000, 15th fastest to 20,000, 12th fastest to 21,000, 12th fastest to 22,000, 11th fastest to 23,000, 9th fastest to 24,000, 9th fastest to 25,000, 8th fastest to 26,000 points, 5th fastest to 27,000 points and 5th fastest to 28,000 points in terms of games.


LAKERS MAKE IT 18 STRAIGHT AGAINST THE TIMBERWOLVES
Despite trailing by 14 points in the first quarter, the Lakers rallied to defeat the Timberwolves 105-102 on March 9th, extending their win streak against Minnesota to 18 games, the longest active win streak by one NBA team against another. The streak is the longest by the Lakers against another team since they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 19 straight times from 1995-99. The 14-point lead on 3/9/12 was the Timberwolves’ largest in any of their 18-straight losses to the Lakers, with their only other double-digit lead being a 10-point advantage on 3/18/11 at STAPLES Center.*


WORKING OVERTIME
The Lakers 85-88 overtime loss 3/6 at Detroit was the team’s 3rd overtime contest of the season. The Lakers are now 2-1 in overtime games this year, after going a perfect 4-0 in overtime games last season. Prior to their overtime loss 3/6 at Detroit, the Lakers had won six straight overtime contests. During the 2009-10 season, the Lakers finished 4-1 in overtime games, after going 2-1 in three overtime games in the 2008-09 season and 4-0 in four overtime games during the 2007-08 campaign. The Lakers’ 10 overtime contests in the 2006-07 season established a new Los Angeles era record for overtime games in a single season. With their overtime loss at Detroit, the Lakers all-time overtime record is now 137-91 (.601).


BRYANT SETS ALL-TIME RECORD FOR POINTS SCORED AT ONE ARENA
With 38 points in the Lakers 115-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings March 2nd at STAPLES Center, Kobe Bryant set the all-time record for points scored at one arena on the 50th anniversary of fellow Philadelphia native Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. Bryant has now scored 13,788 points at STAPLES Center, passing Hakeem Olajuwon’s mark of 13,783 points tallied at Compaq Center, former home of the Houston Rockets. Olajuwon held the record since taking it from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (12,529 points scored at the Forum) in March 1998.*


*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau






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