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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score San Antonio Spurs 30 25 30 35 120
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 18 26 19 26 89
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Spurs vs. Lakers
Press Pass: Pau Gasol
Postgame: Mike D'Antoni
Press Pass: Mike D'Antoni
Howard's Big Slam
Pau's Beautiful Pass
Block Party

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Duncan leads Spurs' rout, pushing Lakers to brink

By GREG BEACHAM

Posted Apr 27 2013 1:10AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) After 16 seasons, Tim Duncan knows the NBA postseason is no time for mercy. Particularly when an opponent is down and seemingly ready to go out.

In the opening minutes of Game 3, Duncan made three consecutive baskets and blocked Dwight Howard's shot, dominating with his usual ruthless grace.

He put the San Antonio Spurs ahead to stay, and they ended up handing the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers their biggest home playoff loss in franchise history.

After a 120-89 victory Friday night, all that's left is the finish - something Duncan and the Spurs also know how to do pretty well.

Duncan had 26 points and nine rebounds, and Tony Parker had 20 points and seven assists in a largely silent Staples Center as San Antonio pushed the Lakers to the brink of first-round playoff elimination for the first time since 2007.

"We respect these guys, and we're not trying to give them any momentum whatsoever," Duncan said.

The short-handed Lakers played without their top four guards due to injury, and the Spurs posted their biggest win of a series thoroughly controlled by coach Gregg Popovich's playoff-tested club.

San Antonio led throughout the final 44 minutes, going up by 18 in the first half and 25 early in the fourth quarter with its smooth, flexible offense.

"I think we're playing fairly well," Popovich said. "Whether the team you're playing is whole, or banged up like the Lakers are ... we have to bring the energy and the professionalism to play."

They've had little trouble doing it so far, and the Spurs can close it out in Game 4 on Sunday night.

Tiago Splitter limped to the Spurs' locker room late in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle, but not much else went poorly for San Antonio while silencing the Lakers' enthusiastic crowd.

Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added his first career playoff triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Spurs were far too much for a team without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

Andrew Goudelock scored a career-high 20 points in his first playoff start, and fellow starter Darius Morris scored 12 of his 24 points in the blowout fourth quarter.

With Bryant and Nash joined by Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake on the injured list, the Lakers started Goudelock and Morris, using a starting five that had never started together for the second time in three games. The young guards didn't play poorly, but they weren't enough to overcome Duncan's dominance and Parker's continued move back to top form.

"It's been a very tough year, but we're not going to make any excuses, and we're not going to quit," Howard said.

The Lakers exceeded their 29-point home loss to Portland on May 22, 2000, the previous worst home defeat for the 16-time NBA champion franchise. Staples Center's lower bowl was half empty in the final minutes, an unfamiliar sight in an arena used to celebrating championships.

"The first half, we gave everything we had, and it obviously wasn't enough," Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I thought our guys played as hard as they can play."

After finishing the regular season with a loss at Staples Center among their seven defeats in their final 10 games, the Spurs took control of the series with two methodical wins in San Antonio.

Nash was largely ineffective after missing the final eight regular-season games, and the Spurs' veteran chemistry was more than enough to finish off the Lakers.

The first half of Game 3 had the same theme. San Antonio jumped to an 18-point lead late in the second quarter with steady offense from 10 scorers, while the Lakers had an understandable lack of chemistry.

The Lakers' tumultuous season appears to be drawing to a merciful end, since they're nearly out of healthy players after beginning the season with a star-studded roster and championship aspirations.

Nine of the Lakers' 15 players were on their injury report for Game 3, and Metta World Peace played despite getting fluid drained from a cyst behind his surgically repaired left knee. After the game, World Peace said he'll probably sit out Game 4.

Bryant attended the game, hobbling through the Lakers' locker room before the game with crutches and a large walking boot on his immobilized ankle, but didn't join Nash, Blake and Meeks watching in suits at courtside.

The Lakers were forced to rely on Goudelock, their second-round draft pick from two years ago who spent this season in the D-League until Los Angeles signed him 12 days ago, and Morris, another second-year pro who barely left the Lakers' bench for long stretches this season.

Goudelock, the MVP of the NBA's D-League this season, put up plenty of points with ample opportunity to shoot, but Parker largely matched him while Duncan thoroughly outplayed Howard and Gasol down low with his timeless game as the Spurs pulled away.

Goudelock started slowly, but scored 10 points in a 2:25 burst late in the second quarter to trim San Antonio's halftime lead to 55-44.

NOTES: Gasol is the seventh player to post a playoff triple-double in Lakers history. ... F Boris Diaw, the Spurs' only player with a significant injury, is running on a treadmill and shooting in his comeback from the removal of a cyst from his spine. He's likely to play 2-on-2 with contact next week. ... World Peace ran with obvious discomfort in his knee. Before the game, he considered sitting out, but didn't feel he could miss a game with the Lakers' injury woes. ... Ashton Kutcher, David Arquette, Jon Heder and "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner watched from 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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View More Photos
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Points Duncan (SAS), 26
Rebounds Gasol, 13
Assists Gasol, 10
Steals Goudelock and Ginobli (SAS), 3
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D’Antoni:

On tonight’s play:
“I thought the first half we stayed in and obviously [Tony] Parker and [Tim] Duncan understood the importance of coming in and having a so-so game, they had great games. Duncan was phenomenal. I thought our guys played as hard as they could play but they ran out of gas toward the end. For thirty minutes they played and it just wasn’t enough.”

On fans being disappointed in team effort:
“I can understand the frustration but they gave everything they have. Metta got taken out and drained so he could play, he wants to play. He played as hard as he could before he drained his leg. He couldn’t play the second half and we couldn’t put him in. Goudelock was cramping up in the second half. Times are tough right now. Pau and Dwight played as hard as they could play. They were trying the best that they could do. Nobody likes it and nobody’s happy but I don’t fault the effort of the guys or the will that they want to do it.”

On if tonight’s game was worse than expected:
“You don’t expect anything you just hope for the better. Can San Antonio play that well? Yeah. Can we play like we did? Yeah. It happens. We’ll try to get some energy on Sunday and play as hard as we can and hope it will work out a little bit better.”




Andrew Goudelock:

On playing well individually but losing the team losing:
“I’m definitely disappointed that we lost, it was definitely a little bit embarrassing. I don’t like to lose like that on any type of level, even though I haven’t been here that long, just to lose like that is not something that I hang my hat on, I’m not as used to losing like that. In the same breath I think I showed a little bit of something I can do and moving forward maybe it’ll give a little confidence in me.”

On the Lakers’ defense tonight:
“Man those guys hit some tough shots and we didn’t do anything to stop them from being so comfortable. I mean Tony Parker coming off wide open, once those guys get in a rhythm, it’s going to be tough. Most of those guys shoot the ball so well, once they get into a rhythm you might as well kiss it goodnight.”

On his emotions tonight:
“Like I said before the game, it’s just basketball. I know I can play, so there’s no reason to be nervous. You know you can play the game, you’re here for a reason, so just go out and play and have gun. I think I did a pretty good job of that, I just wish the score was a little bit closer. In the first half I think we did a pretty good job, it just got away from us a little bit.”




Darius Morris:

On Tony Parker and Tim Duncan:
“They were really on today. Shots they’ve been shooting all series that they missed at their place, today, they were knocking them down. Tony [Parker] had his mid-range going and so did Tim Duncan, which kind of opened up the rest of it for them. We have to make it tougher, get a hand up and try to stop the pace.”

On playing well individually but losing the team losing:
“It doesn’t feel good. You just go out there, especially in the playoffs, and you want to win. You’re fighting for your life right now and that’s what we’re going to focus towards on Sunday. It’s not really about individual performances, it’s about getting a win.”

On what cliqued with him and Andrew Goudelock tonight:
“I think just going out there and just playing with nothing to lose. A lot of people doubted us so that’s kind of how it’s been all our lives. We just took on that underdog mentality. But I mainly just credit our veterans for having confidence and giving us encouraging words, even me throughout the season, Pau [Gasol] and Kobe [Bryant] so I really credit my teammates.”




Pau Gasol:

On going into the game shorthanded:
“It is difficult because we have lineups out there that we’re not accustomed to and it’s hard to get on the same page right away so as much as everybody is trying, tonight there was too many breakdowns, especially on the defensive end, they just got too many great looks and they shot really well. It’s definitely a challenge.”

On how much fight this team has left in it:
“It’s hard to determine. We’ll see Sunday how much fight we have in us in order to give ourselves a chance and not have a 30 point loss at home. So I’d like to see the team bounce back and regroup and come in with a positive mindset on Sunday at 4pm, which will be a weird time, and just compete, whatever we have left.”

On the team’s defensive:
“It’s going to take a collective effort, we have three consecutive losses to a team that’s feeling more confident and more comfortable and will try to put us away Sunday and close the series and move on, it’s just the way it works. So again, our backs are against the wall. We’re extremely short-handed. We’ve been murdered by injuries and it’s tough to overcome that.”




Dwight Howard:

On what the team’s offense looked like with the many new faces seeing minutes:
“We were running some plays. They did a good job of making sure we didn’t get into the sets we wanted to run and they made it tough for our guards to make post-entry passes and it’s something we’ve got to get better at.”

On the year as a whole:
“It’s been a very tough year, but we’re not going to make any excuses, we’re not going to hold our heads down because the things that have happened this season. We’re not going to quit.”

On the maintaining team defense with new players:
“These guys are learning, but they got to learn on the fly, but I think Darius [Morris] and Andrew [Goudelock] came in and played real well and they got into a good rhythm for the next game so hopefully they can keep that going and we can get a win.”




Greg Popovich:

On Spurs focus::
“Well he really gave us a huge boost. He sort of played a team game in the first half. He moved the ball and didn’t really get involved all that much. I was actually a little concerned. We always need him to be aggressive and he knew that. He’s been around long enough to know what was going on and that we needed to score. We needed to establish some momentum offensively and he really did a great job in that third quarter. He got us going.”

On what he likes best about teams play in this series::
“I thought we played two pretty good games on the defensive end of the court back-to-back. That was our goal at the beginning of the season and we did it for most of the year, as I said, until maybe the last three weeks of the season it dissipated. We got it back for these two games. We’ll see if we can continue to play good defense both individually and team wise when we get out to L.A.”

On Spurs guards and wings chipping in on boards::
“Matty’s a tough minded individual. He’s a heck of a competitor and a great team guy. He’ll do whatever we ask him to do. I think his family worries about him and the things we ask him to do out there. He did everything he could. Obviously he’s outmatched physically, but he never stopped working. That’s for sure. He was a big part of what we did tonight.”

On how team is playing:
“Steve’s one of the all-time great competitors and he’s going to give everything he’s got. If he’s not whole, whatever is there, he’s going to give. That’s just who he is. He won’t stop competing.”




Tim Duncan:

On his performance tonight:
“I’m feeling healthy, I’m feeling good, and I got a rhythm going early. I had not played that well coming into the third quarter, and I really tried to get some shots to fall early on there, and I got a rhythm going there. The whole night turned out well for me.”

On if it was hard to stay focused with such a big lead:
“It’s not a challenge to stay focused here in the playoffs; we respect these guys. When you respect your opponent and you understand what they can do. We’re not trying to give them any momentum what-so-ever. We try to play the whole 48, and try to play it the right way. One, we don’t build their confidence, and two, they don’t get their rhythm or see something that they really want to exploit.”

On how he was so successful against Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard:
“I’m just trying to stay away from their length more than anything. I got a good rhythm early, and I made some shots. If I’m able to stay out of the paint, and stay away from their size and athletic ability and make some shots, that’s where I’m being most effective.”




Manu Ginobili:

On the game:
“We played a very good game. The second half was great. We saw the opportunity because of their injuries and the lack of length of the bench and the depth of the bench. We really punished them. Tim Duncan was amazing. He has been most of the season. We were just good. So good. I am very happy to see the team do it like that.”

“We have a deep team and they don’t now. They are lacking 5-6 players, so it is hard to maintain regularity and aggressiveness for 48 minutes when you have so many players out. So it is good that we could punish them in that regard. And we moved the bench a lot and we had a good game.”

“I think we did very good. We were a little shaky in the second quarter. We kind of let them get away with many points. I think the scored 27-28. But, we talked about it at half time and we came back strong. So great to see that.”




Danny Green:

On the game:
“We are going to focus on the next game, and if we win the next game, then the next round. But, regardless, we are going to need everybody to get in tune. We know it is impossible to get everyone clicking at one time. So, we would like to have a good amount of guys clicking at once, and hopefully, some young guys can step up and help. But, tonight it seemed like everybody was clicking.

“It all starts with Pop keeping us focused and in the game. He made sure we weren’t on the sideline joking around and made sure we were focused. Keep your head in the game. Treat this like it is your last game. Every possession, go out there and out your life on the line pretty much. You never know when your last game will be. So, we went out there and stayed focused and continued to do the thing we wanted to do and get better.”




Kawhi Leonard:

On the game:
“We just took it possession by possession, trying to get defensive stops, and create pace on offence so we could get open looks.”

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SPURS-LAKERS PREVIEW

By GREG BEACHAM

Posted Apr 25 2013 7:07PM

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Steve Nash needed three injections for pain relief on the Los Angeles Lakers' day off. He's still more likely to play in Game 3 on Friday night than Steve Blake or Jodie Meeks.

And just in case anybody forgot, Kobe Bryant is at home in a walking boot, his season over.

Late in a season featuring just about every tribulation imaginable, the Lakers have almost no healthy guards - never mind anybody who could keep up with Tony Parker.

If they can't cover the gaping holes in their backcourt and figure out how to slow the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers' tumultuous season probably won't extend past the weekend.

Los Angeles still has two star big men, but even Dwight Howard realizes this patchwork roster is getting awfully flimsy. He won't use it as an excuse for whatever happens after the Spurs took firm control of the series in Texas.

"We have total confidence that we can come back and win this series," Howard said after a light practice at the Lakers' training complex. "We believe in each other. We worked too hard to get to the playoffs. We had to fight to get in. We're not just going to give up because we're down and we have a lot of guys that are injured."

But the Lakers realize they're in a tight spot heading back to Staples Center. Nash and Meeks, who has a sprained left ankle, are doubtful for Game 3 when the Lakers attempt to get started on just the third comeback from an 0-2 playoff series deficit in franchise history.

Coach Mike D'Antoni said Blake is definitely out with a strained right hamstring. Nash attempted to remain optimistic after getting two epidural injections and a cortisone injection - his third pain-relieving injections in a week - on his sore back and hamstrings.

"Fingers crossed that it helps at all, and second, that it helps that quickly," Nash said. "I have been called a doctor of chemistry by certain people in the media, but I couldn't make a prediction. ... I'm still in a lot of discomfort, not only from last night, but from getting a bunch of darts stuck in me."

If none of the Lakers' top four guards can play in Game 3, D'Antoni will choose a starting backcourt from the remainders: Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock and Chris Duhon. Morris and Duhon were buried on the end of D'Antoni's bench all season, while Goudelock was busy winning the NBA D-League's MVP award.

Although the Lakers are down to third-string guards, they've still got high-caliber big men in Howard and Pau Gasol. D'Antoni is counting on a big game in the low post from Howard and another do-everything performance by Gasol, who had two triple-doubles in the Lakers' final three games of the regular season.

"Knock on wood that nothing else happens, because it's hard to lose teammates, and teammates that are playing their hearts out," said Gasol, who had a concussion and a serious foot injury earlier this season. "We've fought so hard to be here, and it's hard not to have the players that we can have at this point to have a better chance against a really good San Antonio team."

Howard's foul trouble helped doom the Lakers in Game 2, when Parker took advantage of the shot-blocking center's absence with a series of slashing drives past the Lakers' overmatched guards to the unprotected rim, tipping the game decisively in San Antonio's favor. The veteran, tested Spurs aren't getting excited about two solid wins.

"It's going to change," Tim Duncan said. "The energy is going to be in their building. They're going to continue to attack. They believe they're due a win, they're due more calls, they're due all kinds of different things, and they're going to come out even harder than they played before. We're going to be ready for that, and we've got to start building a personality on the road."

The Lakers fell apart physically while San Antonio steadily kept control of Game 2 - never running away, but never allowing much of a threat from Los Angeles. Nash aggravated his right hamstring in the first half, while Blake needed help to the locker room after getting hurt in the fourth quarter - and Meeks didn't even play.

D'Antoni laughs at many Lakers' fans notion that his shortened rotations late in the season are the reason for their injuries now, including Bryant's torn Achilles tendon at the close of a minutes-heavy season. Los Angeles finished the regular season on a 28-12 surge, rallying from seven games below .500 in late January to the seventh seed in the West.

"We were trying to get in the playoffs, and we went short (because) we had injuries," D'Antoni said. "Some guys had to play heavier minutes than normal. Most of the year, we played 10 guys. I don't know how many guys people want us to play. Matter of fact, when we were (losing), we were playing a lot of guys. We shortened it up to get to the playoffs. Take your pick: We can have everybody rested and be at the beach right now, or we can be in the playoffs."


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    
  #15 World Peace SF #2 Leonard  
  #16 GasolPF #21 Duncan  
  #12 Howard C #22 Splitter  
  #1 Morris SG #20 Green  
  #10 Nash PG #9 Parker  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(strained right hamstring) is out.
Kobe Bryant
(torn left Achilles tendon) is out.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(left hip surgery) is probable.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
Antawn Jamison
(sprained right wrist) is probable.
Jodie Meeks
(sprained left ankle) is doubtful.
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.
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REGULAR SEASON MATCHUPS
11/13 - SAS 84 @ LAL 82
01/09 - LAL 105 @ SAS 108
04/14 - SAS 86 @ LAL 91

PLAYOFF MATCHUPS
4/21 - LAL 79 @ SAS 91
4/21 - LAL 91 @ SAS 102
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