Lakers Gameday | 04/04/10 | Spurs
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Spurs earn playoff berth in 100-81 win over Lakers
By BETH HARRIS
LOS ANGELES(AP) Manu Ginobili scored 32 points, Tim Duncan added 24 and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-81 Sunday to clinch their 13th consecutive playoff berth.
The Spurs had extra incentive since a loss would have increased their chances of facing the defending NBA champions in the first round. Instead, they moved into the No. 7 spot, a half-game ahead of idle Portland.
The Lakers got a season-high 32 points from Pau Gasol and 22 from Kobe Bryant, but failed to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West and heard boos from their fans.
As a result, Cleveland earned home-court advantage through the NBA finals despite losing 117-113 at Boston earlier in the day.
Richard Jefferson added 14 points and Duncan had 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who won their third straight and 15th of 20. They've notched recent wins over four of the NBA's top teams: Cleveland, Boston, Orlando and now the Lakers.
Their latest came after starting guard George Hill left with a sprained right ankle in the second quarter. He scored six points and didn't return.
Lamar Odom had 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, which had its seven-game home winning streak ended.
Ginobili continued the offensive tear he's been on since the All-Star break with his 15th game of 20 or more points. After scoring a point in the third quarter, when the Spurs led by 15, he had 17 in the fourth.
Ginobili was especially lethal after the Lakers closed to 71-69 on Gasol's putback dunk of Bryant's missed jumper. He answered with a 3-pointer and then made two free throws, triggering a game-ending 29-12 run.
San Antonio opened the second half on an 11-4 run, with Duncan scoring six in a row, for its largest lead, 59-44. Gasol scored 13 in the third, when Bryant went scoreless.
The Spurs took an eight-point lead late in the second quarter, when Ginobili scored six straight before Keith Bogans capped the scoring with a 3-pointer that sent San Antonio into halftime leading 48-40.
The final minute of the half included double technicals on Ron Artest and Ginobili, and a technical on Bryant for arguing with referee Bennett Salvatore. Derek Fisher had to pull an animated Bryant away.
Artest sprinted to the sideline in disbelief at his call, the result of he and Ginobili tangling before an inbounds play. Artest then fouled Ginobili, who hit the free throws and dunked off Jefferson's steal of Bryant.
NOTES: Lakers F Luke Walton played for the first time since Feb. 10 after being out with a pinched nerve in his back. ... The season series ended in a 2-2 tie. ... The Lakers clinched their third consecutive and 21st overall Pacific Division title Saturday night with Phoenix's loss at Milwaukee.
Copyright 2010 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
Lakers’ Coach Phil Jackson on today’s game:
“It was a flat game from the middle of the second quarter on. Defensively we had a hard time getting the game where we wanted it to be. We had a pretty good start and the game looked like it was going to swing in our favor, but they got things going their way and it stayed.”
On Lakers bench play today:
“It was unfortunate for us. We couldn’t get them going tonight and we had to mess with our minutes for a while. Things were not going well out there so they could not get a consistent run at times. They played for shorter minutes. Six and five [minutes] so it was a consequence that they didn’t really get in the flow of the game. We had too many things going on out there that were not right.”
On Lakers offensive play today:
“They took away a lot of pass opportunities for us and they did a really good job that way. Our reactive passes and subsequent reactions to that I thought were appropriate. As consequence we got out of rhythm. Pau was terrific all day and I actually probably wore him down a bit more than I wanted to.”
On Ron Artest 3-point shots:
“He has not found a consistent shot. He has not been able to get consistent with that 3-point shot right now. He has been pretty good during the year.”
On possibly facing the Spurs in the playoffs:
“We helped them out today, but I don’t think that will be an end result every time. They played pretty well so we will see.”
On how to run of the offense better in games like today’s:
“It is how you run your offense. A lot of today was standing around like Pau and getting shots in isolation and there are not a whole lot of second chance opportunities from that. Some of the rhythm shots are opportunities but we didn’t make them. We did not make the opportunities for ourselves.”
Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant on what went wrong today:
“We just missed too many opportunities.”
On this game foreshadowing physical play because of the potential postseason matchup:
“It don’t matter. We don’t care who it is, whether it’s San Antonio, Portland or Oklahoma (City). We’re going to play our basketball and it will be chippy in there.”
On how the Spurs were able to pull away and hold the lead throughout today’s game:
“I think they controlled the tempo today. This was their tempo, from the beginning. You know, we can play both styles. But we didn’t make shots tonight. I think, defensively, we did a good job. There were stretches with opportunities to get back in the ball game and we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole.”
On if his injured fingered affected his shooting performance:
“No. I just missed a lot of opportunities and I can live with that. I’m going to get those looks in the playoffs and I’ll take my chances there.”
Lakers’ Forward Pau Gasol on today’s game:
“We lost a little bit of control of the game in the second quarter when it got a little chippy there, a foul, technical… Then we battled hard in the third and couldn’t really catch up. In the third, we got close to them then again a couple key shots, a couple key turnovers and once again after all the battling and fighting you see yourself down ten. So it was a tough game.”
On the Lakers’ play in the post today:
“I think we used the post pretty well tonight. More than usual and I’m happy about it. But again we always have got to try to get that balance and get the ball to move side-to-side. So once the ball moves it might come back, it might not.”
On what the Lakers have to do better if they face the Spurs in the playoffs:
“Just make sure we contain the pick and roll better… I don’t know how many times they ran the pick and roll with (Ginobili) and obviously he’s very good at it. So we’ve got to make sure we stop him from getting in the lane and creating all those plays.”
Lakers’ Forward Luke Walton on what he has to do to contribute more:
“As a bench player you have to find a way to get active in the game besides that but it can be difficult and tough a lot of times just throw the ball down to Kobe and the ball down to Pau and they make plays. You’ve still have to somehow to get in there.”
On his first game back from his back injury:
“It felt good. The back felt good out there. My timing was a little off but that will come, that’s nothing. But it was fun to be back out there.”
Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich on today’s game:
“Good win for us obviously against the best team in the West. Particular satisfaction in that, but it’s just one game. I’m just glad we played well enough to win.”
On Manu Ginobili:
“He’s been playing All-Star caliber basketball for about a month and a half now. He’s taken over the team. He’s done a great job.”
On Manu Ginobili not backing off when the game got a little bit physical:
“Manu never backs off in his life. He’s won NBA championships, and world championships, and Olympic championships. He’s a veteran winner for a long long time so he’s not going to back off from anything.”
On the team playing without any true point guard:
“I give a little bit of credit to Manu. He kept us together. We just switched off between going to him and going to Timmy. They played together well. A little worried about everything that’s coming up now without George. It’s going to be difficult to sustain that and have Manu play the point in all these games coming up. So we’ll have to figure something out.”
On the team’s play this season:
“I think contribute that to the character of the guys. We’ve had a pretty mediocre year up until the last month and a half and they never gave in. They just continued to try to get better. Now they are playing their best basketball. I feel badly for them that the injuries are hitting them this late in the year, but they seem to be able to ignore it and continue to play.”
On Tim Duncan:
“It was great to see him be creative again tonight. He found ways to use the left hand; he used the jump-hook; he shot jumpers. He did a good job of varying his offense. That’s when he’s at his best when he does that.”
San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan on the state of his team:
“A real good stretch for us. Unfortunate with the health problems we’re having right now. Guys are getting banged up and injured right now. All in all just playing good basketball and getting some good wins on the road.”
On the injuries piling up at point guard:
“I’ve been willing to play point guard for about 12 years now. I might finally get my chance.”
On the importance of today’s win:
“It’s huge for us. We’re not even worried about the playoff race. We’re just game to game worrying about the wins, who we’re playing, things like that. Huge win for us to stay where we’re at. As I said we’re just going to continue to build on it.”
San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili on today’s win:
“Unbelievable victory. I would say like two months ago it wasn’t even in our wildest dreams to win a game by 18 against the Lakers. And now we’re doing better. We’re playing hard. Our defense really stepped up. We made the shots we had to make.”
On the Lakers:
“They’re a solid team. They have so many weapons. Today, they missed big shots. They are always coming back. They’re going to keep fighting. They’re going to keep playing. They hustle. They play hard defense too. They are a tough team.”
On whether today’s win would help the Spurs in a potential series against the Lakers in the playoffs:
“I don’t think so. Playoffs is a totally different story. I don’t think it would really count. Actually it would really make them more upset. Playoffs, everybody starts from scratch.”
Lakers vs. Spurs Game Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
The San Antonio Spurs could clinch their spot in the postseason by the time Sunday ends. They could also get a good look at their potential first-round opponent.
The Spurs will try to lock up that berth against the host Los Angeles Lakers, who could be in line to wrap up the Western Conference's best record.
San Antonio needs a win over the Lakers or a Memphis loss to Orlando later in the evening to reach the playoffs for the 13th straight year. The Spurs (46-29) took a step toward that berth as Manu Ginobili scored a season-high 43 points in a 112-100 victory over the visiting Magic on Friday night.
"We couldn't beat anybody the first 40, 50 games of the good (teams)," Ginobili said. "I'm very glad we started doing it. It's better late than not doing it at all."
San Antonio has won 14 of 19 despite not having starting point guard Tony Parker in the lineup for the past 15 games due to a broken ring finger. Ginobili has led San Antonio to 10 wins in Parker's absence, including three over division-leading clubs.
In his last 14 starts, Ginobili has averaged 25.1 points - nearly nine above his season mark - on 51.7 percent shooting.
He scored a team-leading 24 points against the Lakers on March 24, but George Hill was the only other player in double figures with 21 in a 92-83 home loss, the Spurs' fourth in the past five meetings with Los Angeles.
San Antonio has also dropped four in a row at Staples Center, including a 101-89 defeat Feb. 8. Ginobili scored a team-best 21 points in that win while Pau Gasol matched his output for the Lakers, who were without Kobe Bryant due to a sore left ankle.
That losing streak might not end Sunday as the Lakers are riding a seven-game home win streak that includes Friday night's 106-92 victory over Utah.
In its first game at Staples Center since March 21, Los Angeles (55-21) got a season-high 26 points from Lamar Odom, 25 from Bryant - who signed a three-year contract extension earlier in the day - despite a 5-of-23 shooting performance and a near triple-double from Gasol.
The Lakers are closing in on a third straight Pacific Division title as well as the top seed in the West. They need wins in five of their final six games to have back-to-back 60-win seasons for the first time since they did it four straight seasons from 1984-85 to 1987-88.
"The focus is to win and try to close up that spot so we don't have to put pressure on ourselves at the end of the season," Odom said.
The Lakers could have a little more depth for Sunday's game with the expected return of Luke Walton. The reserve forward hasn't played since Feb. 10 because of a pinched nerve in his back.
Copyright 2010 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
Ron Artest (left heel bruise/sprained left thumb) will play.
Andrew Bynum (left Achilles strain) is out.
Shannon Brown (sprained right thumb) will play.
Sasha Vujacic (sprained right shoulder) is probable.
Kobe Bryant (avulsion fracture, right index finger) will play.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is probable.
Tony Parker (fractured fourth right metacarpal) is out.
SEASON & SERIES
The Lakers currently lead their season series with San Antonio 2-1 with one game remaining in the season series. Last season, the Lakers won their season series with the Spurs 2-1. The Lakers are 6-4 against the Spurs in their last 10 overall games. The Lakers, however, have won their last four straight home games against the Spurs, are 10-10 all-time against San Antonio at STAPLES Center, and are 5-5 in their last 10 home games overall. In San Antonio, the Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 meetings with the Spurs. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 18-19 against San Antonio in the regular season. In the postseason, Jackson is 15-7 against the Spurs, advancing to the next round in four of five series meetings. Jackson (10) and Popovich (4) are the only two active coaches to have won multiple NBA Championships. In 47 career games including 42 starts against San Antonio, Bryant is averaging 24.6 points per game. On February 8, 2010, Pau Gasol helped defeat the Spurs with 21 points, 19 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 blocks, marking just the seventh time a player has accomplished that feat in league history. Furthermore, Manu Ginobili played for Argentina in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but suffered a foot injury in their August 22 meeting with Kobe Bryant’s United States team that forced him to miss the first 12 games of the 2008-09 regular season with San Antonio. 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. Additionally, Luke Walton and Spurs forward Richard Jefferson were roommates at the University of Arizona while playing three years together for the Wildcats.
PLAYOFF PICTURE With a Phoenix Suns loss at Milwaukee 4/3 OR a Lakers win over the Spurs 4/4, the Lakers would clinch the Pacific Division title. Meeting their magic number would mark the 21st Pacific Division title in their 40th season in the division. With their victory over Minnesota and the Rockets loss to Boston on March 19, the Lakers became the 1st team in the West to clinch a playoff spot, marking their 57th postseason appearance in 62 NBA seasons as well as their 29th playoff berth in 31 seasons since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to the 1979-80 season. Additionally, the Lakers are FIVE games ahead of Dallas and Phoenix and SIX games ahead of Utah and Denver in the loss column with SIX games remaining in the regular season and can clinch the #1 seed in the West with losses by Phoenix, Dallas and Denver on 4/3 OR a win over the Spurs on 4/4. Since the NBA went to the Conference format prior to the 1970-71 season, the Lakers have held the #1 seed 15 times (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982-90, 2000, 2008, 2009), winning the West 12 times and the NBA Championship on eight occasions. The Lakers have owned the #1 seed 10 times since the current format featuring 16 teams was instituted prior to the 1984 NBA Playoffs.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM…USUALLY
With a win over Utah 4/2, the Lakers snapped their 12th two-game losing streak since acquiring Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008 (10 regular season, 2 playoff streaks). Of the 12 two-game skids, only once have the Lakers dropped three straight with consecutive losses 3/4 at Miami, 3/5 at Charlotte and 3/7 at Orlando (their FIRST three- game losing streak since January of 2008). On four occasions, the Lakers played the third game of the streak without Gasol, snapping each of them with victories 3/18/08 at Dallas, 3/30/08 vs. Washington in overtime, 11/17/09 vs. Detroit and 1/10/10 vs. Milwaukee. Prior to their early March 3-game skid, the Lakers last three-game losing streak came just a week before the trade, with consecutive losses at San Antonio, at Dallas and vs. Cleveland from 1/23/08 through 1/27/08. Additionally, the Lakers loss at Orlando marked the first time that Los Angeles has been swept on a three-game road trip since April of 2005 when they lost 4/2 at San Antonio (94-95), 4/3 at Memphis (82-102) and 4/5 at Phoenix (99-125). They did, however, go 0-4 on a four-game road trip in March of 2007, falling 3/4 at Phoenix (94-99), 3/6 at Minnesota (107-117 2OT), 3/7 at Milwaukee (90-110) and 3/9 at Philadelphia (92-108). The last team to lose three straight regular season games and win a NBA Championship was the 2007-08 Boston Celtics, who suffered one 3-game losing streak in February of ‘08. The last Lakers team to lose three straight games and win a NBA Championship was the 2001-02 Lakers, who dropped three in a row in February of ‘02.
GASOL BECOMES FIRST LAKER SINCE SHAQUILLE O’NEAL TO POST MULTIPLE 25-POINT/20-REBOUND GAMES IN SAME SEASON
In the Lakers 108-100 loss at New Orleans March 29, Pau Gasol posted 26 points and a career-high tying 22 rebounds, marking the second time this season that Gasol has had at least 25 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Gasol also recorded 26 points and 22 rebounds in a 107-106 victory over Milwaukee on December 16. The last Laker to have multiple 25-point/20-rebound games in a season was Shaquille O'Neal, doing so three times during the 2003-04 season. Zach Randolph is the only other player in the NBA with two 25-point/20-rebound games this season. Furthermore, the game marks Gasol’s 4th 20-plus rebound game this season, tying him on the year with Joakim Noah (4 20-plus rebound games) but trailing Dwight Howard (9 20-plus rebound games) and Marcus Camby (6 20-plus rebound games) this season.
BRYANT PASSES ALEX ENGLISH FOR 12th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With 24 points 3/24 at San Antonio, Kobe Bryant passed Alex English (25,613) for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant (25,748), who earlier this season moved past Jerry West (25,192) for 1st on the Lakers all-time scoring list and 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, passed Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list 2/24 at Dallas. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant are John Havlicek (11th/26,395) and Dominique Wilkins (10th/26,668).
Bryant passed West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number). Less than a month earlier, with 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In November, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter 11/19 vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list while with 41 points 11/6 vs. Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the all-time list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, passed Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd.
GASOL EARNS FIRST WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD THIS SEASON; 6th CAREER HONOR
On March 22, the NBA announced that Pau Gasol had earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Monday, March 15 through Sunday, March 21. The award is the 6th of his career (previous awards came for weeks ending 2/22/09, 2/8/09, 3/26/06, 3/2/06 and 1/2/05) and 3rd as a Laker. One of four Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Shaquille O’Neal) to win the award since it became separated by Conference and one of nine to win the weekly honor overall since its inception, Gasol averaged 24.8 points (.685 FG%), 11.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.00 blocks in helping lead Los Angeles to a 4-0 week: 3/15 @ GS: 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/16 @ SAC: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/19 vs. MIN: 17 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/21 vs. WAS: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists.
EFFICIENT FROM THE FLOOR & ON THE GLASS
In the Lakers 106-99 victory over Sacramento March 16, Pau Gasol scored 28 points on 12-of-14 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds. Gasol is the third different player this season to shoot at least 85% from the field (minimum 10 attempts) while recording at least 10 rebounds in a game. Earlier this season, Andrew Bynum totaled a season-high 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting and 12 rebounds 1/27 vs. Indiana. Dwight Howard has had two such games this season as well: 2/24 at Houston (30 points, 11-11 FG, 16 rebounds) and 3/14 vs. Charlotte (27 points, 12-14 FG, 16 rebounds).