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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score San Antonio Spurs 23 20 18 25 86
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 22 21 18 30 91
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Spurs vs. Lakers
Dunk of the Night
Arena Link: Dwight Howard
World Peace Throws Down
Howard Works on Duncan
Arena Link: Kobe's Achilles Injury

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Lakers win without Kobe, rallying past Spurs 91-86

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Apr 15 2013 12:02AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Dwight Howard had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers staged a dramatic rally in the fourth quarter to win their first game since losing Kobe Bryant for the season, beating the San Antonio Spurs 91-86 Sunday night to stay in position for a playoff berth.

Steve Blake scored 23 points for the Lakers (44-37), who lead Utah (42-38) by 1 1/2 games for the eighth postseason spot in the Western Conference after their seventh win in eight games - even with Bryant watching from home. Bryant limped off the Staples Center floor with a torn Achilles tendon Friday night.

Tim Duncan had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who have lost six straight road games. San Antonio (58-22) is likely to finish second in the West behind Oklahoma City (59-21), which holds the tiebreaker.

The Lakers all shared Bryant's playmaking and defensive duties, working together imperfectly but effectively. Blake filled in for injured point guard Steve Nash and provided an unexpected scoring punch along with top reserve Antawn Jamison, who scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles blew open a tied game with a 15-4 run midway through the fourth. Bryant's starting replacement, Jodie Meeks, hit two 3-pointers during the rally, and Blake added three free throws in the final seconds.

Pau Gasol missed 12 of his first 13 shots before finishing with seven points and 16 rebounds.

The Jazz visit Minnesota on Monday before finishing the season against Memphis, while the Lakers have the next two days off before their finale at home against Houston.

Tony Parker scored just four points on 1-of-10 shooting while playing for just the fourth time in April, possibly slowed by his injured shin in the Spurs' first game since waiving disenchanted forward Stephen Jackson. San Antonio is headed into another postseason as a top-two seed, but the Spurs have lost five of eight after failing to complete a season sweep of the Lakers.

Bryant had surgery Saturday to repair his completely torn tendon, and he'll be largely immobile for the next few weeks. Before the game, Bryant tweeted his plan to watch the game on television and then call in at halftime with adjustments for his teammates, prompting coach Mike D'Antoni to joke that he'll turn off his phone.

The Lakers' biggest offensive surprise turned out to be their backup point guard.

Blake scored 14 points in the second quarter and hit four 3-pointers, fearlessly stepping up to create shots while Nash missed his seventh straight game with a right hamstring injury. The two-time MVP point guard still can't sprint, but Los Angeles remains hopeful he'll return for Wednesday's season finale against the Rockets.

The Lakers missed their first six shots and committed nine turnovers in the first 14 minutes, clearly working to find new chemistry after Bryant controlled the ball for so much of the season. Howard immediately got the ball down low more often, and he responded with 10 points and five rebounds in the first quarter.

Blake kept the Lakers competitive in the second quarter, hitting six of his first seven shots and outscoring Parker 18-2 in the first half.

Gregg Popovich ordered his players to intentionally foul Howard repeatedly late in the third quarter, and the All-Star center went 4 for 10 at the line.

NOTES: The Lakers signed G Andrew Goudelock in time for the second-year pro to be in uniform. Goudelock was Los Angeles' second-round pick in 2011, and he showed enough scoring promise in 40 games of action last season to earn the nickname "Mini Mamba" from Lakers fans. He was waived in training camp last fall and spent this season with two NBA D-League teams. Goudelock would be eligible for the postseason if the Lakers make it. ... San Antonio played its third straight game without F Boris Diaw, who had surgery Friday to remove a cyst on his lower back. He won't be ready for the start of the playoffs. ... Charlize Theron, Edward James Olmos and Andy Garcia watched near courtside.

Copyright 2013 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



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Points Howard, 26
Rebounds Howard, 17
Assists Parker (SAS), 8
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D’Antoni:

On best part of the win:
“Just how hard we played, I thought, and different guys stepping up. [Steve] Blake obviously carried the blunt of the work. At different times everybody had a moment. Antwan [Jamison] came in and hit a shot in the second half, Metta had a good layup, just different guys. Jodie Meeks hit a couple threes and you have to have that but I thought overall our intensity on defense and how well we played defensively was good.”

On team being mentally messed up because of Kobe:
“We’re not mentally messed up. We know the job at hand and they’re looking forward to the challenge. Dwight stepped way up. It’s a good locker room in the sense of they know it is going to be tough. They know how hard it is and we’ve done half the work. We have one more to go with Houston and then we’ll see what happens.”

On play of Steve Blake:
“First half was phenomenal. Pau [Gasol] struggled with the shot today. I thought he played well overall but he struggled with the shot. Steve Blake was just going crazy and defensively was all over it. Darius Morris gave us good minutes defensively. Guys came in and played hard, it was good.”

On what’s behind the attitude of stepping up:
“There are probably a thousand different reasons but like I told you before, one of our biggest problems earlier was that everybody wanted to lead, everybody wanted to be an alpha dog and everybody wanted the ball. We had to get through that and we got through it pretty well. It took a while, obviously, but they’re ready to go. They’re thinking, ‘oh okay I’m back in the driver’s seat’ and they look forward to that. It’s great. It was good before. I thought we were doing well since the Memphis game and we’ve had a good winning percentage. Now these guys are more than capable and we’re ready to step up to the challenge.”




Dwight Howard:

On the game:
“We just played hard. We trusted each other and we dominated.”

On the team’s defense play:
“We just played hard. We rotated, we communicated and we got a good win, that’s the biggest thing.”

On how the Lakers responded without Kobe Bryant:
“We all know how to play basketball and we’re doing what we can do.”

On the teams overall performance:
“Doesn’t matter if you struggle on offense as long as you go out there and play good defense and play hard we’ll be fine.”

On the upcoming game against the Rockets and working toward the playoffs:
“We can’t look at anybody else for help. We got to go out there and get this game and we need everybody behind us pushing us and we’re going to go out there and play as hard as we can and we believe that we can win.”




Steve Blake:

On his play tonight:
“I just tried to play with confidence. With Kobe out there’s going to be a lot more shots and more time for people, so I just tried to step up and do my part.”

On Dwight Howard:
“I think he knows we’re going to have to go through him with the offense so I think that gave him confidence. He knows I’m going to try and give him the ball as much as possible and I think when he knows that, mentally he can just have a more aggressive attitude and be ready to go.”

On the key to the team’s defense success tonight:
“[It was] Everybody understanding the rotations where we wanted to force the ball to go to. We played the tendencies of their team well and we did it as a team.”




Pau Gasol:

On the game:
“Hustle. We worked really hard defensively. We were just very active on the defensive end and we just figured out things offensively enough to win the game. We just made big plays I think defensively and we got really good stretches also offensively. Dwight was really affective, Antwan hit big shots, Jodie hit big shots, Steve hit big shots, we just wanted to make big plays, winning plays, and that is what we need.

“Well I think we defended so well and contested so many shots that they missed quite a bit of shots. So that gives you a lot of rebounding opportunities for both bigs. We both almost played forty minutes so, that would give you a lot of opportunities to get rebounds. It was a good effort. It is exactly what we needed against a very good team. They were laying and fighting to be the number one in the West so, they weren’t relaxed or comfortable.”

On his performance:
“It is frustrating when the ball doesn’t go in like it usually does but, you have to keep playing. You have to shake it off and affect the game in which ever way you can defensively. Getting rebounds, just making plays for others and still being aggressive. I still tried to continue to be aggressive with the ball, just wouldn’t sit. Luckily, my teammates made some shots and were much sharper and more affect than I was offensively.”




Antawn Jamison:

On the game:
“The first half was trying to figure things out and the second half we did a great job, especially in the fourth quarter.”

“I order for us to do anything, in order for us to win tonight, in order for us to win on Wednesday or in the playoffs, we have to play defense for 48 minutes. We can’t do it for three quarters. We can’t spot a team thirty something points and then expect to get things in the last three quarters. We have to have the mindset to start the game out. Nobody can score 25 points a quarter. I think when we have that mindset, we make it easier on ourselves. Instead of trying to outscore teams, we allow our defense to slow things down a little bit and make our opponents play defense as well.”

“This is exactly what we want to take away. We want to take away Tony Parker. We want to get into the paint making easy shots. We want to take the threes away from Bonner, Neal and the rest of those guys. Our guys did a great job as far as having second efforts and things like that. But, we were on a stream. When somebody drove we helped, we pealed back and those are things you have to do when you are playing a team like San Antonio.”




Jodie Meeks:

On the game:
“It was exciting. Obviously they are a good team so, we knew we had to get this win to get into the playoffs, but we still have one more to go.”




Greg Popovich:

On what he was disappointed about tonight:
“We didn’t match their energy at all. I just thought we sort of floated through the game. Timmy Duncan was great, as usual. Timmy’s a pro; he doesn’t care what the situation is or what’s going on, he’s going to play the way he did tonight. He’s really the only guy on the team that played like somebody who wanted to win a championship. I thought other than that the group was in float most of night. Again, a lot of that was because the Lakers’ energy. It started out with [Steve] Blake and it just permeated their whole group. I thought they were wonderful in that sense.”

On if Tony Parker sitting down the stretch was due to injury:
“No, he’s totally healthy. It wasn’t because he was resting, he was playing awful.”

On how impressed he was with the Lakers tonight:
“I think they did a fine job under the circumstances. They pulled together, they played together, they were unselfish, committed and physical defensively, and they did a fine job.” qws




Tony Parker:

On tonight’s game:
“Obviously, the Lakers play with a lot of energy, they played great. We had a hard time to match the energy and give them credit, good win for them.”

“The Lakers play with a lot of energy obviously for a lot of different reasons and tonight we didn’t match that.”

“They made big 3s. Jodie Meeks made some big 3s and that was the game.”

“They played well tonight. You have to give them credit; they played with a lot of energy, made shots. Dwight [Howard] was great, Pau [Gasol] was great, and Steve Blake made a lot of 3s so they played great tonight.”




Tim Duncan:

On tonight’s game:
“Obviously we both struggled offensively for a long time. That broke it open with them hitting some 3s, hitting some shots, opening the score up a little bit. But all in all just our focus wasn’t right, our energy wasn’t right, we didn’t play well for a long time. We dug ourselves a hole.”

On expecting the Lakers to come out strong without Kobe Bryant:
“Yeah, you expect that. You expect them backed into a corner and then bring it as they did, trying to find their new identity without him [Kobe Bryant], and they got some really good play from Steve [Blake], and Antawn [Jamison] made some big shots for them. There a much different team with their post team, with Pau [Gasol] and Dwight [Howard] but all in all we didn’t play well. We give credit to people and we give credit to the game that they played but we didn’t play well.”

On Tony Parker’s abilities:
“His speed and his ability to get by people but his intelligence level. He knows what shots to take and when to take them. He keeps you off balance, he has a floater that he can let go from 10 to 15 feet or if he feels you’re going to defend that, he’ll up-fake and go right by you. So just his off speed stuff, he’s really good at doing that.”

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SPURS-LAKERS PREVIEW

By JORDAN GARRETSON

Posted Apr 13 2013 10:06PM

Kobe Bryant seemed to be the one constant during a tumultuous season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, they'll have to conclude their chase for a playoff spot without him.

In its first game since Bryant suffered a devastating injury, Los Angeles seeks another crucial victory Sunday night as it hosts the San Antonio Spurs in a possible first-round playoff preview.

"We know he's out, but we can't put our heads down like it's over with," Lakers center Dwight Howard said. "We have to go out there and play. We have a lot of talented guys on this team. I think we can accomplish something great, with or without Kobe."

Bryant's initial fear - that he sustained a torn Achilles tendon in Friday's 118-116 home win over Golden State - was confirmed after the game, and he underwent season-ending surgery Saturday.

The 34-year-old superstar is in for an arduous rehab process, but said he is aiming to be ready for the start of next season even though recovery time is expected to be six to nine months. That still leaves the Lakers (43-37) without one of the game's best players for the final two games of their schedule, which concludes at home against Houston on Wednesday.

They own a one-game advantage over Utah for the Western Conference's final playoff spot but lost that head-to-head tiebreaker, so the Lakers must finish at least a game better than the Jazz to make the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Wins in each of their final two games would secure a postseason berth, while a loss in either would see them anxiously awaiting how the Jazz finish with games at Minnesota on Monday and Memphis on Wednesday.

Bryant's injury is the latest and most devastating in a dysfunctional Lakers season that has also seen prolonged absences by Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, who has missed six in a row with a hamstring injury and is listed as doubtful for Sunday.

"We're fueled by these injuries," said Gasol, who had his first triple-double of the season Friday with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. "We want to take on the challenge and prove we're a good team even without our best player."

Without Bryant and his averages of 27.3 points, 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds, Jodie Meeks will assume the starting shooting guard role. Meeks has averaged 7.5 points and shot 33.3 percent in eight starts.

If Los Angeles does grab the West's No. 8 seed, it could begin the playoffs against San Antonio, which is a half-game behind Oklahoma City for the conference's best record but has a game in hand.

The Spurs (58-21) guaranteed they would finish no lower than the second seed with Friday's 108-101 win over the Kings coupled with Denver's loss to Dallas.

But San Antonio's frontcourt will also be slightly short-handed moving forward as the club decided to waive Stephen Jackson on Friday, and Boris Diaw is expected to miss three to four weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst from his lumbar spine. Manu Ginobili (strained hamstring) has sat out the last seven games and will miss the final three of the regular season.

"We probably look a little thin, but life goes on," coach Gregg Popovich said.

Friday did see Tony Parker return after missing two straight games and three of four with a sore neck. He had 22 points and 10 assists for his 17th double-double of the season, two more than his previous career best.

Parker is averaging 23.0 points while shooting 58.8 percent in the last four meetings with the Lakers - all San Antonio wins. Two of those came this season - before the All-Star break - as Gasol and Howard missed one and combined for just 23 points in the other.

Gasol and Howard will be tasked with slowing down Tim Duncan, who is averaging 22.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks over his last 13 games.

"Timmy shows up and does his job. Tony shows up and does his job. There's not a lot of gossiping about the situation," Spurs guard Gary Neal said of Jackson's departure. "It is what it is and we try to prepare ourselves to win games."


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.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #6 Clark SF #2 Leonard  
  #16 GasolPF #21 Duncan  
  #12 Howard C #22 Splitter  
  #20 Meeks SG #20 Green  
  #5 Blake PG #9 Parker  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(torn left Achilles tendon) is out.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(left hip surgery) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
Antawn Jamison
(sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(strained right hamstring) is doubtful.
Metta World Peace
(lateral meniscus tear, left knee) is probable.
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Jazz Boris Diaw
(synovial cyst excision, lumbar spine) is out.
Manu Ginobili
(strained right hamstring) is out.
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11/13 - SAS 84 @ LAL 82
01/09 - LAL 105 @ SAS 108
04/14 - SAC @ LAL
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