GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 34 31 16 18 99
Play by Play San Antonio Spurs 13 24 15 31 83


Lakers rout NBA-best Spurs for 7th straight win

By PAUL J. WEBER

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol had 21 and the Los Angeles Lakers embarrassed the NBA-best San Antonio Spurs for their seventh consecutive victory, 99-83 on Sunday.

What was billed as a potential Western Conference finals preview was a blowout from the start. And the Lakers likely relished this rout after losing twice to the Spurs, including on Antonio McDyess' memorable buzzer tip-in last month.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 14 points. He was their only starter in double figures.

The Lakers trail the Spurs by 6 1/2 games in the West, and coach Phil Jackson conceded before tipoff it was unlikely they'd catch up. But they can take satisfaction in emphatically ending San Antonio's franchise-record home win streak at 22 games.

The last Spurs loss at the AT&T Center had been to Dallas on Nov. 26.

But that game wasn't anything like this.

Two days after San Antonio humiliated LeBron James and Miami in a 30-point blowout, the Spurs took their own lumps. The NBA's sixth-highest scoring team mustered just 37 points in the first half - matching a season low - and shot 36 percent from the floor.

Tim Duncan had two points on 1 of 7 shooting. Manu Ginobili had six points and was 3 for 10. Parker shot 6 for 14.

And it could've been worse. The Lakers led by as many as 32 in third quarter before the Spurs threw in the towel and emptied their bench.

Bryant also didn't have much reason to remain on the floor by then. He finished 12 for 25 and had seven rebounds. His only blemish was a technical foul in the second quarter after getting tangled up with Ginobili, leading to a brief exchange of stares and words.

Ron Artest rushed between the two and pulled Bryant away. It is officially tallied as Bryant's 14th technical foul this season, though the Lakers believe that total doesn't subtract one that was later rescinded. The NBA issues a one-game suspension after 16 technical fouls.

Andrew Bynum had 17 rebounds for the Lakers, who can match their longest win streak of the season with a victory at Atlanta on Tuesday.

It's part of perhaps the toughest stretch this season for the Lakers, who are still out to prove they're the NBA's best despite trailing the Spurs all season. The Lakers will also play at Miami and at Dallas before coming home to face Orlando on March 14.

By the time the Magic leave Los Angeles, the Lakers will have faced four of the NBA's top seven teams in a span of eight days.

The last time the Spurs and Lakers met was in Los Angeles on Feb. 3, when the Spurs won 89-88 on McDyess' stunning tip-in as time expired. Jackson had his video staff pull that clip before this one and remind his team of a game Jackson said they should've won.

It apparently worked.

Gary Neal scored 15 points and George Hill added 14 for the Spurs.

Derek Fisher scored eight points and remained in the starting lineup after being listed as probable going into the game because of a strained right elbow.

Notes: Bryant is 13 points shy of surpassing Moses Malone for sixth on the NBA's all-time scoring list. ... Spurs F Antonio McDyess played in his 999th career game. The 15-year veteran can hit 1,000 if he plays Wednesday against Detroit. ... The Lakers in town made for a rare courtside celebrity sighting in San Antonio: late-night host George Lopez.


Copyright 2011 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




26 Points for Kobe Bryant to lead all scorers. Bryant hit 12-of-25 field goals, and added seven boards with five assists, his intensity setting the tone throughout the game for L.A.

17 Rebounds grabbed by Andrew Bynum to match his season-high 17 in L.A.'s previous game vs. Charlotte. Bynum was terrific defensively throughout the game, blocking three shots and changing a bevy of other shots, largely erasing Tony Parker's penetration.

13 Points mustered by the Spurs in the first quarter, with LAL flying around defensively and shooting lights out at the other end to take a 34-13 lead out of the period, setting a tone that would prevail throughout the game.

8 Turnovers, a very acceptably low number for the Lakers.

6 Assists for Lamar Odom to lead the Lakers. He added 15 points and four boards, but was especially effective moving the basketball from a guard spot of the triangle offense. Odom also effectively limited Spurs' sub Matt Bonner, who made just 1-of-5 shots after hitting four threes in the first quarter alone of S.A.'s blowout of Miami in their last game.




View More Photos


Points Bryant 26, 12-25 FG
Rebounds Bynum 17, 6 OFF 11 DEF
Assists Odom 6
Steals Artest 2
Blocks Bynum 3


POSTGAME QUOTES


Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson
(Have you been waiting long for a game like that?)
"We played really well. We caught them by surprise. I think at the start of the game we got off the gun pretty well."

(Was this the best you've played all season?)
"Against this type of opponent, yes. We've played better with a better point margin, but not against this type of opponent."

(On Bynum's contribution in the first quarter)
"We talked to Andrew at the break about defense and about what type of effect he can have on the game. He really showed it tonight."

(What has changed defensively over these last seven wins?)
"We've given Chuck Person some dedicated moments in practice to work specifically on our defense. He's really been good with the guys and has handled it pretty well. We've taken the extra time defensively in practice rather than doing as much execution offensively as we have in the past. It's taken awhile. It took us about a month to adjust to what we were doing differently. We still have guys making mistakes, but that's going to happen for awhile."

(On playing his starters late in the game)
"I didn't like the way our bench was playing. They just didn't have a rhythm out there and they were settling for outside shots. They were just out of focus a little bit."

(On the potential for injury playing starters late like that)
"I don't try to think about something like that. I put it out of my mind. You just have to play this game. It's tough to do it."

(On Kobe's technical)
"I haven't even seen it. I don't know what happened. I don't know if it was warranted or what the call was. He does have to watch his activity level out there."

(On their height advantage)
"Our length is imposing. Pau is an agile guy and has the ability to play outside as a four, so that really makes it special."

(On sending the wrong message to his own team by putting the starters back in)
"They understand. It got under 20 points and the foul situation was in their favor. You just have to be careful in this game. It's a game of extremes."






Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant
(On having the starters in the game late in the fourth quarter)
"It was to send a message to the second unit. You got to compete. You still got to play hard. You got to come in and do your job. That's why [Phil Jackson] put us back in."

(On the importance of making a statement today)
"We're playing well and it's kind of important to keep that going. Today was a good test to see how much we've improved since the All-Star break. We passed today."

(On how much they've improved)
"We've improved a great deal. Defensively we're minimizing our mistakes and not making as many mistakes as we were in the first half of the season. I think that's the big difference."

(On their defense)
"We're very unselfish defensively, and what I mean by that is that we compensate for each other. We didn't care about guarding our men individually. We did it collectively. I think that was the key."




Lakers Forward Ron Artest
(What happened on the play with Bob?)
"He was a casual floor seat holder who casually walked to his seat, and forgot that it was a game. I know next time he will be aware; I guess he didn't expect that."

(Did you have a good time out there on the court?)
"No, not really. I did that a long time ago in Sacramento and Houston. I do it now and then sometimes."

(What does this win say?)
"It doesn't say much. San Antonio is a great team and at the end of the day it's a win, it's a loss for them. I'm sure that's how they're taking it, it's definitely not a statement game or anything. They will be back, it's not like we can duck them or it's not they can duck us. Eventually we will be playing each other again in the regular season and we'll see what happens from there."

(What is the reason for the big offensive change since the all-star break?)
"I haven't really noticed it. I don't know what it is honestly, but I'm hearing a lot of people talking about the defense. I haven't really been paid attention to it, I just been always trying to move ahead and just move forward. I don't really understand exactly what's happening, I don't even know the percentages but I guess we're playing hard."

(How would you describe the 1st quarter?)
"First quarter, we played alright. We played together, everybody was aggressive. I thought was the main thing, everybody came out to win.





Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich
(On if he felt the team left it all out on the court on Friday night's game)
"No. Not at all. You can't assume that just because you got whipped so thoroughly. That is too simplistic a conclusion. They were more physical then we were and very aggressive. I thought that we picked up our physicality and defense in the second half but that was way too late—we were down too far."

(On if positive note that (Steve) Novak and (James) Anderson got some playing time)
"(Jokingly) It's always good to try to find something positive when you get beaten so badly. Then you will say that Tim (Duncan) and Manu (Ginobili) got some rest. So I guess that is good. (Sarcastically) So let's go get beat by 30 every night so we can give them some rest. I don't think that is a good path to go down."

(On length that (Andrew) Bynum gives in the paint)
"His length is superior. So is Pau (Gasol). Together they are a heck of a defensive tandem down there. They do a great job. That is why they are NBA Champions the last two years. (Jokingly) Or I guess one of the reasons—I guess Kobe (Bryant) has something to do with it too."

(On size giving the Lakers the advantage)
"I think to start the game if you saw the offensive boards—it really hurt us."




Spurs Forward Tim Duncan
(On the effect of Andrew Bynum's presence)
"I think he was a key to the game today, offensive rebounds, a bunch of second shots, defensively, he bothered a lot of people in the lane, and just his size was definitely the difference tonight."

(On the ball movement)
"We moved the ball fine. We moved the ball fine. They just clogged it inside, they did a good job challenging shots. With their length, they can do that. They give you a little space and challenge you at the end."

(On the shots not falling even with open looks)
"Yeah, things just didn't fall and the exact opposite on their end. I thought defensively, we were decent in the first half. We got some hands in their faces, they just made shots."

(On if he's eager to get back on the court after a loss like this)
"Yeah, I definitely want to get back out there. Even the time we were down so much, I wanted to get back out there just to try get a rhythm and to see the ball go in the hole, but we'll have practice tomorrow and we'll use that and then we'll get back to the game on Wednesday."




Spurs Guard Manu Ginobili
(On the difficulties the Lakers' length gave them)
"Early, it was very important. Bynum and Gasol made us take a few bad shots, they even blocked them. Offensively, they were just unbelievable. First half, we just couldn't stop them. 64? I don't know how many points they scored. 68? They were great and we couldn't make one, so that was an easy win for them. After a quarter, they were up 25 almost, so there was no game."

(On if it was shocking to see how out of control the game got so quickly)
"Yeah, of course nobody expects to be losing by more than 20 in the first quarter, but the way the game presented itself, they were making every shot. We couldn't make layups, threes, free throws, anything, and besides they played more angry. They played with more edge. We were a little, not soft, but waited to see what was going to happen and they came to get it. They deserved it."





Spurs Guard Gary Neal
(On if it was just one of those days)
"Yeah, it seems that way. They came out and jumped on us early and got a pretty comfortable lead. You got to give them credit. They came out, they were extremely physical. They came out with a lot of intensity. It took us a while to react and once we were down 20 points, it was hard to fight back."

(On if there's a positive to take away from the game)
"When you lose like this, it's not as bad as it seems just like when we won the Miami game, it's not as good as it seems. It's one game. Unfortunately, it was against the Lakers, a team we'll probably see in the playoffs, but it happens. We got to continue to work. This is a warning sign right here that we have to continue to work and continue to improve. We know that. We have a great group of guys and we're all going to do that."













LAKERS VS. SPURS GAME PREVIEW

So much is going well for the San Antonio Spurs that their star point guard decided to ignore his doctor's advice - and he was right to do so.

The Los Angeles Lakers haven't been as lucky in recent matchups with their Western Conference rival.

San Antonio looks to extend its franchise-record 22-game home winning streak Sunday afternoon when it hosts Los Angeles, winner of six straight.

Tony Parker was expected to be sidelined as long as a month with a strained calf muscle but wound up missing two games. He made his surprise return Friday, scoring 15 points as San Antonio (51-11) routed Miami 125-95.

"I disagreed," Parker said. "I was telling my doctor, I don't need a week."

Parker sparked a shooting performance never previously seen in Spurs history. They hit a franchise-record 17 3-pointers, including a 6-of-7 effort from Matt Bonner. Eight of those 3-pointers came in the first quarter, when San Antonio outscored Miami 36-12.

Manu Ginobili hit three 3s and scored 20 points to lead eight Spurs in double figures.

"That's a ridiculous night as far as 3s go," coach Greg Popovich said. "It's very rare. We had it (Friday) and we're thankful for it. It made for a wonderful night."

The victory improved San Antonio to an NBA-best 29-2 at home. The Spurs have won 22 straight at AT&T Center since a Nov. 26 defeat against Dallas.

They've also defeated the Lakers three consecutive times, including once on each team's home floor this season. Parker scored 23 points in a 97-82 home Dec. 28, and had 21 in an 89-88 thriller at Staples Center on Feb. 3, when Antonio McDyess tipped in Tim Duncan's miss as time expired.

Los Angeles (44-19) has won 10 of 13 since that defeat, including a 92-84 home victory Friday against Charlotte. The Lakers got a scare whenDerek Fisher left in the second quarter and didn't return because of a sprained left elbow. However, the NBA's active leader with 476 consecutive games played is expected to be back in the lineup Sunday.

"We're playing much more aggressive basketball," said Kobe Bryant,who led Los Angeles on Friday with 27 points. "We're attacking. We're getting after it at both ends. That's a big difference."

Coach Phil Jackson disagreed, saying Friday's performance against the Bobcats won't be enough against the NBA-best Spurs.

"I didn't like any part of the game (Friday), none of it," Jackson said. "We weren't fluid, didn't move the ball well. … If we play Sunday like we did (Friday), we're not going to be in the contest."

The Lakers have scored fewer than 90 points in each game of their skid against the Spurs, with Bryant shooting 30.4 percent and averaging 19.7 points in the three defeats.

Parker has averaged 22.2 points over his last five games against the Lakers, but Duncan has 10 total points in the two meetings this season.

The Lakers have won three straight road games, but this contest begins a daunting four-game trip over seven days. Los Angeles will also travel to Atlanta, Miami and Dallas - each of the four opponents on the trip owns one of the league's 10 best records. Only Atlanta (.597) sports a winning percentage below .694.



Copyright 2011 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 Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is day-to-day.
Devin Ebanks (stress fracture, left tibia) is out.
Derek Fisher (sprained left elbow) is probable.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is out.

None.



12/28 - LAL @ SAS L 82-97
02/03 - SAS @ LAL L 88-89
03/06 - LAL @ SAS
04/12 - SAS @ LAL


This is our third game against San Antonio this season and we are still looking for our first victory against the Spurs. The Spurs still have the best record in the league at 51-11 and are 29-2 on their home court. They are coming off a 30 point drubbing of the Miami Heat and they benefitted from the quick return from a calf injury by Tony Parker. The recipe to beat this team remains the same but that is obviously easier said than done. Keeping Parker and Ginobili out of the paint is crucial if a team hopes to have any success.

Read Full Scouting Report @ Lakers Courtside Connection


GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail their season series with San Antonio 0-2 after splitting last season's series with the Spurs 2-2. In their last 10 overall games, the Lakers are 5-5 against the Spurs. At home, the Lakers have lost two straight to the Spurs and are 5-5 in their last 10 games against San Antonio in Los Angeles. Overall, the Lakers are 10- 12 all-time against the Spurs at STAPLES Center. In San Antonio, the Lakers are 4- 6 in their last 10 meetings with the Spurs. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 18-22 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 playoff series meetings. Jackson (11) and Popovich (4) are the only two active coaches to have won multiple NBA Championships. In 50 career games including 45 starts against San Antonio, Bryant is averaging 24.3 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 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. Additionally, Luke Walton and Spurs forward Richard Jefferson were roommates at the University of Arizona while playing three years together for the Wildcats.

BRYANT 38 POINTS SHY OF MOSES MALONE FOR 6th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST A
week removed from passing Elvin Hayes (27,313) for 7th on the NBA's all-time scoring list 2/27 at Oklahoma City, Kobe Bryant (27,371) now stands 38 points shy of Moses Malone (6th/27,409) on the all-time list. Earlier this season, Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10 at Chicago on the all-time list. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant and Malone (6th/27,409) are Shaquille O'Neal (5th/28,590), Wilt Chamberlain (4th/31,419) and Michael Jordan (3rd/32,292). Among the top seven scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st), Karl Malone (2nd), Chamberlain (4th), O'Neal (5th) and Bryant (7th)).

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. Earlier this season, with 23 points at Chicago (12/10/10), he passed John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th. Last season, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West's retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).

SCORING CONSISTENCY
Kobe Bryant's 24 points in the Lakers victory over the Clippers (2/25) took him over the 1,500-point mark for the 11th consecutive season, marking the longest such streak by an NBA player since Karl Malone reached that milestone in 12 straight seasons (1986-87 to 1997-98).*

STRONG ALL-STAR SHOWING FOR GASOL
With an All-Star Game career-high 17 points (8-13 FG), seven rebounds and two blocks, Pau Gasol helped the West hang on down the stretch for a 148-143 victory over the East in the 60th NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center. Logging the most minutes of any Eastern or Western Conference reserve (24:22), Gasol posted the game's second highest plus/minus with +10, equaling Atlanta guard Joe Johnson's +10 and one behind Denver forward Carmelo Anthony's +11 on the night.

IRON MAN
Entering the Lakers game at San Antonio, Derek Fisher has played in 476 consecutive regular season games dating back to April 15, 2005, the longest consecutive games streak among all active NBA players. Fisher moved into the top position after Portland's Andre Miller (632) missed the Blazers game against Phoenix (12/7/10) due to NBA suspension. Additionally, Fisher has started 354 consecutive regular season games dating back to January 15, 2007, tops among all active players by more than a season's worth of games (2nd – Luis Scola). Former Laker A.C. Green holds the NBA record for most consecutive games played with 1,192 dating from 11/19/86 – 4/18/01 while a member of the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.






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