Tim Duncan opened the game with a bucket and Kobe Bryant responded with one of his own. For that brief moment, it seemed like old times again.
In his final game against Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant dropped 25 points, though he couldn’t prevent the Lakers from falling, 119-113.
“They run (their offense) to perfection,” D’Angelo Russell said after the Spurs shot 54.5 percent. “We couldn’t get stops. They made shots and they made the extra pass.”
Despite Kawhi Leonard (calf) and Manu Ginobili (testicular surgery) sitting out due to injuries, San Antonio’s offense had few issues, as seven Spurs finished in double figures, including Tony Parker, who had 25 points.
Though the Lakers (11-45) trimmed San Antonio’s lead to four with four minutes left, not even a valiant effort from Bryant — who had his dislocated finger popped back into place — could send the Spurs (46-9) out of Los Angeles with a loss.
Bryant scored 18 points in the second half, while Lou Williams added 11 in the fourth quarter, including on a much-needed four-point play.
In spite of the loss, Bryant was able to reflect on what it meant to face the Spurs so many times in his career.
He and Duncan played 82 games against each other — a full season’s worth of meetings — with Duncan holding a 31-21 advantage in the regular season, though Bryant won four of their seven playoff series.
“It’s been fun competing against them for all these years,” Bryant said. “(Duncan) and I had he opportunity to have some great dialogue tonight. It’s been so much fun competing against him and that organization. I’ve truly, truly enjoyed it.
“They’ve pushed me to really fine-tune and sharpen my game. I’m a little said that matchup’s not gonna happen (again).”
Jordan Clarkson scored a dozen of his 20 points in the first quarter. He also tied his career-high with four 3-pointers. … Larry Nance Jr. played for the first time since sitting six games due to a knee injury. … Julius Randle (11 points, 15 rebounds) collected his 22nd double-double of the year. … A sold-out crowd of 18,997 filled Staples Center.