Cross-posted at Crossover Chronicles.
With the first seed locked up, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich decided to rest his “big three” of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers took advantage of the Spurs’ depleted roster early and went on a 7-0 run. The Spurs tried to fight back with the efforts of George Hill and DeJuan Blair, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Lakers, who ended the quarter up by nine, 24-15.
The second quarter, though, would be different. As Lamar Odom said, that’s when their overconfidence set it.
The Spurs came out firing to begin the second quarter, making their first 11 points. The Lakers fired back with a run of their own, but the Spurs got everyone involved midway through the second quarter. The Lakers were still ahead with just over a minute remaining, but Tiago Splitter’s two free throw shots, a three-pointer by Bonner and a last second foul on Richard Jefferson put him on the line with 0.8 seconds to tie up the game going into the half.
With the Spurs struggling through the third quarter, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol put the Lakers on their backs and outscored the Spurs 25-19 for a six point lead entering the fourth.
The Spurs got everyone involved in the fourth quarter, but they drew iron and went on a cold streak in the last four minutes, while Lamar Odom led the Lakers on a 11-0 run to end the game and snap their five-game skid.
Kobe Bryant led both teams in scoring with 27 points and Gary Neal finished with 16 for the Spurs.
Andrew Bynum will have an MRI done today on his hyperextended right knee.
I asked Jeff Garcia and Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass a few questions regarding last night’s game and both called the outcome.
Jeff: Toss up but I will go with LA. Though I said the Spurs will look to send LA a message, with the Spurs locking up home-court advantage in the West and the playoffs, there isn’t anything to play for. With that being said, Popovich will likely rest players and get role-players out there to get some time on the court.
Rey: The Lakers will win and here’s why: Coach Pop is likely going to sit his guys. Yes, the Lakers may not care, either, but they’ll care more than Pop does at this juncture. San Antonio’s got it all locked up. The Lakers don’t. So the Lakers have something to play for while the Spurs can happily rest their guys for the playoffs this coming weekend.
“I think it showed the character, the heart that we have, and we’re a pretty deep team. We tried to give the best effort we could, and that’s all you can hope for. All of us thought we could win.” – George Hill.
In Black & White
Spurs subs nearly stun LA (San Antonio Express-News).
Lakers end losing streak… (Los Angeles Times).
Tweeting the game
Congrats #Lakers. You beat the bench by only 9 AND you had to work the entire game to get there. Oh yeah, you’re TOTALLY winning now.. – @Megeth.
Kobe Bryant just fist pumped and got excited to nail a dagger over a lineup of Bonner, Neal, Anderson, and I think the Shmoo. – @HPBasketball