Duncan limited to 10 points; Spurs shoot 34 percent

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Gary Payton swears he didn't have anything to


Maybe so, but there's no doubt he had some extra incentive.

A day after expressing frustration and anger with his teammates,

coaching staff and the media, Payton played his best game of the

playoffs. And so did the Los Angeles Lakers, routing San Antonio

105-81 on Sunday to cut the Spurs' lead to 2-1 in the Western

Conference semifinals.

Game 4 will be played Tuesday night at Staples Center, with Game

5 Thursday night in San Antonio.

Tony Parker shredded the Lakers for 50 points and 14 assists in

leading the Spurs to a pair of 10-point victories to begin the


Payton shouldered much of the blame.

"I know I can play basketball -- I've played it for 14 years. I

know what's going on," said the 35-year-old point guard, who had

15 points and seven assists and helped limit Parker to eight points

and five assists.

"Today we made a conscious effort to focus on (Parker). I don't

really go back and say, `I told you so," Payton said. "We came

back and played a good game today. Everybody did a good job on

defense. We knew we needed a win. We came out and played the way

we're supposed to."

Facing a must-win situation, Shaquille O'Neal dominated the

inside and the Lakers made life miserable for Parker and superstar

teammate Tim Duncan, who scored 54 points in the first two games.

Duncan shot 4-of-14 for 10 points and committed six turnovers,

and Parker was 4-of-12 and had three turnovers -- one more than his

total in the first two games.

"I know they're going to try and get Tony and Tim back in the

game," Payton said of Game 4. "Tuesday, if we're to win, it's a

whole different series. That's what we're trying to accomplish

right now."

O'Neal had 28 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and eight

blocked shots; Kobe Bryant added 22 points, six rebounds and six

assists, and Karl Malone had 13 points, six rebounds and five

assists for the Lakers, who shot 56.9 percent.

"We knew what we had to do today," O'Neal said. "We really

didn't ever lose confidence, we just did not take care of the

basketball and we let two games slip away. Today, we played good

defense and shot the ball well."

Only seven NBA teams have come back to win a best-of-seven

series after losing the first two games. But no team has ever

prevailed after losing the first three -- a fact the Lakers knew

only too well.

The loss snapped San Antonio's 17-game winning streak -- the last

11 of the regular season and the first six of the playoffs. The

Spurs had also won eight straight postseason games dating back to

the NBA Finals against New Jersey last June.

"It happened," Duncan said. "It's about how we respond to the

loss, what we learn, how we adjust."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said his team decided to plug the lane

and give up the 3-point shot.

The strategy worked, even though the Spurs shot 11-of-27 from

3-point range.

"We were a little more aggressive screen roll-wise," Jackson

said. "As a result, there wasn't a whole lot of opportunity."

Especially for Parker.

"The (defensive) help came faster," Parker said. "They played

better defense, but I think the key is, we didn't match their


Manu Ginobili scored 17 points and fellow reserve Devin Brown

added 16 for the Spurs, who shot 34.1 percent and committed 21

turnovers -- two less than their total in the first two games.

Duncan also had 13 rebounds to lead his team to a 45-41

advantage in that department.

"Los Angeles really dismantled us," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

said. "They did a great job, they were very aggressive from the

get-go, executed well."

The Lakers took command by outscoring the Spurs 18-5 for a 68-45

lead late in the third quarter.

It was 75-58 entering the final period. The Spurs scored five

straight points to draw within 12, but the Lakers scored the next

10 to clinch the victory.

Bryant made 3-pointers to start and finish a 12-0 run in the

first that gave the Lakers a 19-8 lead, and they were on top the

rest of the way. The Lakers had assists on 11 of their 12 baskets

in the first quarter, and led 42-32 at halftime.Game notes
A three-day pretrial hearing on Bryant's sexual assault

case begins Monday in Eagle, Colo., meaning he'll have to rush back

for Tuesday night's game. He's done the same things three times

previously, including the final game of the Lakers' first-round

series against Houston, when he had 31 points and 10 assists in a

97-78 victory. ... The Spurs hadn't lost since March 23, when they

were beaten by the Timberwolves at Minnesota 86-81. ... Ginobili

(9) and Brown (8) combined to score 17 of San Antonio's 32

first-half points. ... San Antonio's reserves outscored their Los

Angeles counterparts 50-22. ... The Spurs' starters scored only 31

points, shooting 12-of-46. The Lakers' starters scored 83, shooting

30-of-47. O'Neal was 11-of-13 from the field and 6-of-11 from the

foul line. ... The Spurs' 17-game winning streak equaled a

franchise record. They won 17 in a row for the first time late in

the 1995-96 season. ... The Lakers have won 40 straight playoff

games when leading by 10 or more points at halftime.