The defending champion Spurs came roaring back in Game 3 at home, using a 28-15 edge in the second quarter to catapult themselves back into the series with a 103-84 win. For the Lakers, the game marked a stark contrast from Game 2 in which they scored 101 points in a balanced offensive attack.
“I think it was more our fault than their credit,” said Pau Gasol, who scored only 15 points on a poor 7-18 from the field. “They did a good job contesting shots and trying to protect their rim, but we didn’t finish. We should have finished much better than we did tonight, especially by the rim. We were not strong enough, decisive enough, aggressive enough to be able to finish those plays, because we are not going to get the benefit of the doubt on any calls. We just have to go out there and finish no matter what.”
Manu Ginobil led the Spurs’ attack with 30 points off the bench on an efficient 9-15 from the field. Tony Parker also made 9-15 shots to score 20 points after being called out by Spurs Coach Greg Popovic for a dismal 13-point effort in Game 2.
“He (Ginobili) made a conscious decision to play aggressive no matter how he played,” said Lakers guard Derek Fisher. “He didn’t seem to be tentative, he seemed to go right at it the second he checked into the game. He played the kind of game he’s capable of playing. It really made the difference in the game in terms of the energy with which they were playing.”
Kobe Bryant led the purple and gold in scoring with 30 points, including a key stretch in the fourth quarter in which he caught fire and nearly mounted a comeback attempt all by himself. However, Lamar Odom continued his inconsistency against San Antonio by following up his stellar 20 point, 12 rebound effort in Game 2 with only seven points on 2-11 shooting in Game 3.
“I don’t know. I felt good. I was aggressive. My shots didn’t go. I kept trying to go [to the rim]. A couple of times I can remember in the game that I missed shots that I could have made, then you come back and you take it too personally and try to make a play. When that doesn’t work you hurt the momentum of the game and the momentum of the team.”