Lakers triumph 102 to 97, so it’s another taco night. The Spurs, without Parker and Duncan were able to make the game a tough run. Their success came from making the Lakers grind it out and hitting their 3′s, which enabled them to take a halftime deficit and turn it into a lead going into the 4th.
The Lakers were able to take the lead in the 1st half when the bench exploited San Antonio’s taxed depth. The game loosened up and that benefitted the home team. In the second half, the bench led the Lakers to the lead with good movement on the offensive end. The starters came in and controlled the 4th by matching San Antonio’s intensity, getting scrappy and forcing San Antonio to keep making shots.
Kobe had to work, but he led the team with 30 points.
The dominant undercurrent to the game were the no-calls by the refs. San Antonio used this to the fullest to get under the Lakers collective skins. Andrew Bynum was undone by this, getting a double technical in the 3rd. Lamar was pulled off the free throw line after the outcome was decided by Kobe to prevent him from getting a technical of his own.
On the whole, it was probably harder than it should have been, but you take a win over the defending champs anyway you can.