Inactives for Tonight’s Game:
Spurs: DerMarr Johnson, Ian Mahinmi, Damon Stoudamire
Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Coby Karl, Ira Newble
11:49 Gasol follows up Radmanovic’s near layup by slamming the ball home to send the energetic, yellow-clad crowd to their feet just 11 seconds into the game. Pau’s aggression is a good sign for the Lakers after he only scored 10 points in the Lakers’ Game 4 victory.
9:05 With the Lakers looking a little confused on offense in their early possessions, Kobe finds a way to score all by himself, making a contested fadeaway jumper that ends a 5-0 Spurs run. It’s early, but both teams seem to be playing with a lot of energy–San Antonio knowing its season is on the line and the Lakers, fully aware that a win tonight equals a birth in the NBA Finals.
6:38 Radmanovic hits a high-arching three pointer to tie the game at 11 nearly halfway through the opening quarter. The make sends San Antonio into their first timeout of the night with Popovic obviously not pleased with the open look for one of the Lakers’ best outside shooters.
The Spurs’ offense will undoubtedly get a boost as Ginobili enters the game for the first time.
3:56 In need of a basket to jump start the team’s offense, the Lakers get exactly that as Kobe delivers a perfect Pass to a running Gasol who slams it home and brings L.A. to within three of the Spurs at 15-18. Michael Finley’s off to a hot start for San Antonio, already notching his eighth point to lead both teams.
2:52 Vujacic and Farmar take over backcourt for the Lakers after the timeout. Meanwhile, Bowen enters for the Spurs.
San Antonio finishes the first quarter with a flurry, leading L.A. by 13 points at 28-15 going into the second quarter. Not only have the Spurs played stifling defense on the Lakers, but their usually low-scoring offense has been outstanding so far.
12:00 Walton and Turiaf are in to start the second quarter with the Lakers desperately needing some energy to start clawing their way back into the game.
9:11 Radmanovic comes back into the game replacing Odom. The Lakers still haven’t made a field goal in the second quarter as the Spurs have pushed their lead to a game-high 17 points, 33-16. The Lakers’ lineup of Vujacic, Walton, Turiaf, Farmar and Radmanovic look completely out of sync on both ends of the floor, giving up way too many easy baskets to San Antonio and failing to establish any rhythm on their end of the floor.
8:36 After missing a layup a few trips down the floor, Farmar takes it up aggressively, muscling home an easy basket at the rim for his first basket of the night. One play later and Jordan’s at it again, catching a lob pass and laying it home to finally get the crowd back into the game a little.
6:37 Jordan Farmar is taking over the game for the Lakers, making another strong driving layup that sends the Spurs into a timeout and the crowd to their feet. San Antonio’s lead is down to a much more manageable 11 points with a little over half the second quarter remaining. Meanwhile, Jordan’s point total on the night is up to six.
Gasol and Bryant both return for the Lakers out of the timeout.
5:34 After the Spurs answered the mini-run by the Lakers with five straight points, Kobe drives all the way to the hole and lays it in to bring the Lakers to within 14. Bryant’s been quiet tonight, only scoring six points so far.
5:12 Fisher replaces Farmar who goes out to a nice ovation.
4:21 Odom returns for the Lakers with Walton at the line for a pair.
3:38 With the Lakers looking completely unable to stop San Antonio on offense after another open make by Bowen, Kobe gets some of it back by making a difficult fadeaway jumper and one to pull L.A. to within 13 of the Spurs.
42.9 Lamar drives to the hoop and lays the ball in and makes the free throw to bring the Lakers to within just six of the Spurs. On the previous play, Fisher sent the crowd into a frenzy for the first time tonight, nailing a huge, momentum-changing three pointer to cut the Spurs’ lead down to single digits for the first time tonight.
HALFTIME: The Lakers were badly outplayed in the first half by a San Antonio team that is proving why they’re the defending champions, posting a 48-42 lead through the first 24 minutes. Michael Finley’s 10 points for San Antonio early, but it was the steady play of Duncan (nine points) and Parker (eight points) that helped the Spurs to what was once a 17-point second quarter lead. For the Lakers, Kobe led the way in scoring with 13, but only Gasol and Farmar scored more than six points as L.A. shot a combined 39% from the floor. All things considered, the Lakers should feel extremely fortunate to be trailing by only six points at the half.
9:11 Fisher finally gets the Lakers on the board in the second half after a sloppy opening three minutes of play that saw the Spurs score the first four points of the half. Derek has five points on the night, but on just 2-7 shooting from the floor.
7:22 After Gasol threw the ball away on the Lakers’ previous trip down the floor, Odom takes the ball from the top of the key and backs his way in, nailing an eight foot jump hook to cut the lead to six once again, 54-48. Lamar’s had a very quiet night up until this point, scoring only seven points and pulling down just three rebounds.
5:50 Odom takes Oberto off the dribble, drawing the foul that sends him to the line for two. After making both free throws, the Lakers are down by just six again. Through one half of the third quarter, neither team is scoring at an efficient rate, with L.A. keeping the Spurs’ lead hovering around six or eight, but so far not able to cut it down beyond that.
4:09 Odom continues to step for the Lakers in the second half, nailing an outside jumper from about 18 feet out that brings L.A. to within four of the Spurs. With the make, Lamar has 11 points on the night to go along with five rebounds.
2:42 Standing ovation for the Lakers heading into the timeout after they cut the lead to only two. On the previous possession, Kobe nearly made a layup over Parker to tie the game, but didn’t the foul call he was looking for or the make. Bryant’s scoring total on the night is up to a game-high 17.
1:42 Kobe goes up strong for a three pointer over Bowen to cut the lead just one–the closest the Lakers have been since the first quarter. On the Lakers’ next possession, the MVP does it again, hitting a jumper from about eight feet out to give the Lakers a 61-60 lead.
49.8 Farmar and Walton enter the game for the Lakers.
11:45 Kobe gets the quarter started off right, nailing a dead-eye three pointer to bump the Lakers’ lead to four. Bryant’s never-say-die attitude appears to be carrying over to his teammates as well as the team’s defense has picked up considerably in the second half after L.A. dug itself out of a huge first half hole.
9:39 After the Spurs reclaimed the lead on a free throw by Duncan, Walton comes through with a huge three from the corner that gives the Lakers a 70-68 lead. L.A. is showing an incredible will to win in the second half, repeatedly answering the Spurs’ threats.
9:05 Timeout for the Spurs after Farmar drove it all the way from the three point line deep into a congested lane before laying in an acrobatic reverse layup to send STAPLES Center into pandemonium once again with L.A. leading 72-68. The second-year guard has eight points on the night to lead all Lakers reserves.
7:58 The best finisher in the game refuses to let the Lakers lose, nailing his second straight basket to give the Lakers a six point lead at 76-70, a little more than seven minutes away from a trip to the NBA Finals. Kobe has 29 points on the night.
6:31 The raucous STAPLES Center crowd is beginning to sense it after a bail-out three pointer by Vujacic and a Gasol dunk on Kobe’s missed jumper gives the Lakers a seven point lead with a little over half the quarter remaining. Pau has 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
5:50 Fisher returns for L.A. out of the timeout.
4:22 Jackson calls timeout after Parker’s layup cut the Lakers’ lead to just two at 83-81 with just over four minutes to go. With the make, Parker takes over the Spurs’ scoring lead with 18.
3:33 Kobe launches a floater over Duncan that rattles in to give the Lakers an 85-81 lead. Bryant’s scoring total is up to 31.
2:22 Bryant is proving why he’s the most clutch player in the game, hitting another off-balance jumper to give the Lakers an 87-82 lead.
1:49 Pandemonium at STAPLES Center after Kobe drives all the way to the hoop for a layup that gives L.A. an 89-82 lead with under two minutes to go. Bryant has 33 on the night–none bigger than his most recent make.
55.4 Under a minute to go and Kobe finds the ball in his hands once again for two free throws amidst the loudest MVP chant this building has seen all season long. With two makes, the Lakers lead 91-84.
33.4 Vujacic nails two free throws that should ice the Western Conference Championship for the purple and gold.
0:00 It’s official. The Los Angeles Lakers are headed to the FINALS!
FINAL SCORE: Spurs 92, Lakers 100