LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Lakers hit San Antonio with a third
quarter the high-flying Spurs won't soon forget.
No more wondering and doubting. No more pointing to the soft early-season schedule. No more poking holes and poking fun.
You can write it down: The Lakers can play. The Lakers are good.
And more than that, the Lakers are tough.
You heard right. Not slick, not pretty. Tough.
• For more of Eric Neel's analysis in the Daily Dime, click here.
missed a triple-double, and Los Angeles took command in the third
period en route to a 106-99 victory over the Spurs on Sunday night
for its fifth win in six games.
"I think that's the best defensive quarter I've played in as a
Laker," said Odom, in his third season with the team. "It was
just effort, energy, rotating, talking. We got our hands on so many
passes. That was the difference tonight."
Odom had 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and Luke
Walton added 17 points for the Lakers (14-6), who snapped San
Antonio's four-game winning streak and handed the Spurs just their
third loss in 11 road games this season.
The Lakers trailed by five points before outscoring the Spurs
24-6 in the last five minutes of the third period for an 83-70
lead, and they were on top the rest of the way. Odom scored nine
points and Bryant and Walton added five each during the spurt.
"We had an inspirational third quarter that carried us,"
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "There are some things we learned
tonight that I think as a team helped us grow up a little bit."
Jackson wouldn't identify what those things were.
"I thought the Lakers' pressure was great in the second half
and we folded under that pressure -- absolutely folded. End of
story," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
The Spurs were outscored 37-22 in the third period despite
making 9-of-14 shots including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. That's
because they committed nine of their 19 turnovers, leading to 19
Los Angeles points.
"They played good defense and we didn't play solid offense,"
San Antonio's Tony Parker said. "We lost the game in the third
quarter. We tried to make a comeback in the fourth, but it was too
late because it's always hard to get a lot of stops in a row."
Bryant showed no ill effects of a sprained right ankle that
caused him to sit out the Lakers' 106-95 victory over Atlanta on
"It's a little sore right now," he said. "All in all, it felt
Regarding the game, Bryant said: "For us to stifle them in the
third quarter, that should give us a lot of confidence.
Defensively, we really swarmed them. We played with a lot of poise.
You have to have that against a team like San Antonio."
Manu Ginobili came off the bench to lead the Spurs (15-6) with
23 points. Parker added 21 points and nine assists, Tim Duncan had
16 points and 13 rebounds, and Bruce Bowen scored 16 before fouling
out with 21 seconds left.
Kwame Brown scored all 11 of his points in the second half and
Smush Parker added 10 for the Lakers, who shot 48.9 percent and
outrebounded the Spurs 42-33. San Antonio lost despite shooting
51.4 percent including 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from 3-point range.
Duncan scored four points during a 10-3 San Antonio run that
trimmed the Lakers' lead to three points midway through the fourth
quarter. But that's as close as the Spurs would get.
A basket by Brown gave the Lakers a six-point advantage, and
Brown blocked a shot by Parker, leading to a three-point play by
Walton that made it 99-92 with 2:46 left.
Then, Duncan was called for a technical foul after being tied up
by Bryant, whose free throw with 2:21 to play put the Lakers up by
The Lakers turned the ball over twice in the next minute, but
the Spurs couldn't take full advantage as Duncan missed two free
throws and Parker missed another pair down the stretch.Game notes
Bowen scored all but two of his points in the first nine
minutes. ... The Lakers have played the most home games (15), won
the most home games (12) and played the fewest road games (five) in
the NBA. Starting with a game Tuesday night in Houston, they play
eight of their next 10 and 22 of their next 34 on the road. ... The
Spurs have an 8-3 record against the Lakers in the last 11 games
between the teams. ... Lakers F Vladimir Radmanovic, who sprained
his right ankle Saturday in practice, sat out his first game of the
season. ... The Spurs had their five-game winning streak against
the Lakers at Staples Center snapped. ... When the Spurs beat the
Clippers 111-82 on Friday night in San Antonio, it marked the first
time in franchise history that they've won three straight games by
20 or more points. ... The Lakers are 3-0 without Bryant this
season after going 6-12 without him during the past two years.
- Ron Garretson
- Tony Brown
- Scott Wall