Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening home contest against San Antonio, the Lakers looking to snap a 5-game losing streak with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Spurs: G. Hill, G. Neal, R. Jefferson, D. Blair, T. Splitter
The Spurs, with the No. 1 seed locked up, chose to sit Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
3:39 Without their best three players on the floor and L.A. focusing on defense, San Antonio predictably had trouble generating good looks on offense, making just 5-of-16 shots as the Lakers opened a 21-11 lead on Andrew Bynum’s layup. Bryant was the early aggressor on O, making 3-of-6 field goals for nine points.
1:44 Few in the league are as good at drawing charges as Derek Fisher, who did just that to squash a 3-on-1 Spurs fast break, L.A. holding an 8-point lead at 23-15. Fisher, however, would not still be in the game — Bryant had been subbed out two minutes earlier — were Steve Blake not out indefinitely with the chicken pox. Instead, Fisher played all 12 minutes in the quarter for the first time this season. L.A.’s lead was 24-15 at the break, their D holding S.A.’s subs plus Richard Jefferson and DeJuan Blair to just 28.6 percent shooting.
8:11Uh oh. While running back on defense, Andrew Bynum stepped on DeJuan Blair’s foot and fell awkwardly, staying on the ground for a good 30 seconds while grabbing his surgically-repaired-in-the-offseason right knee. We couldn’t be sure whether Bynum tweaked something, hurt something or was just frightened, but it was at least a good sign that he got up and walked off under his own power. We’d have to wait and see…
5:49 While everyone in the building wondered about Bynum, L.A. put together a 9-0 run to open a 33-26 lead, capped by a jumper from Luke Walton, who would be asked to play a greater role in the absence of Blake and Brown. Meanwhile, we found out that Bynum hyperextended his right knee, would not return or travel to Sacramento in favor of an MRI in the morning.
0:00 The Bynum scenario ate away at L.A.’s focus, which San Antonio capitalized upon to come from 10 down to tie the game at 45 into halftime. Bryant had 16 and Gasol 11 points, the Lakers trying to pick themselves up off the mental floor.
9:08 They’d do just that to start the third quarter, with Bryant and Odom (of course stepping into Bynum’s slot in the starting line up) combining for nine points in a 9-2 burst that created a 54-47 lead. Clearly the Lakers would need a great deal from Odom were Bynum to miss any extended time, which he’d always been able to provide in the past, but we won’t start speculating about all that just yet.
6:27 Remember how Bryant has his 14th technical of the year rescinded by the NBA? Well, since then, he’s gotten two legit ones in the last two games, bringing his total to 15, one away from a mandatory suspension, by arguing after being called for an offensive foul. Meanwhile, San Antonio was hanging tough, down 62-60 after a Splitter hook shot.
53.1 Shannon Brown had been struggling for weeks to find himself on offense, so it was good for him to see the ball go through the net off glass late in the third to put LAL up eight points. He’d missed all but one of his first six attempts, and knew that his team needed better from him. The Spurs would pull a hoop back to trail 70-64 heading into the final quarter.
10:03 Rotations all out of whack, Phil Jackson tried to get a few minutes out of Theo Ratliff for just the second time since Nov. 9 (he played for two minutes in a blowout of Dallas in late March when Dallas selected him to shoot FT’s for an ejected Steve Blake), San Antonio scored the first four points of the quarter to get within one. A Brown J and two Kobe FT’s put the lead back to five, however.
5:39 Hanging tough, the Spurs tied it up with a Matt Bonner three, before Odom’s and-1 layup got him to 15 points in the second half and put L.A. up 86-83. Nothing easy at STAPLES on this evening, with Jack Nicholson even jumping up irate after a no-call on a Gasol play.
1:36 Odom, terrific all half, finished off in style with an and-1 layup, then a three-pointer that put the Lakers up 102-88. Of his 23 points, 21 came in the second half, to go with seven boards and four dimes. Meanwhile, Bryant checked out of the game without a smile, himself posting 27 points with six boards and four assists. The game would end at 102-93, L.A. just hoping for good news on Bynum after the young center’s MRI in the morning.
9 Healthy bodies L.A. will take to Sacramento with Bynum (knee), Barnes (knee) and Blake (chicken pox) all staying in Los Angeles: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol, Odom, Brown, Walton, Smith and Ratliff.
13 Minute played by Bynum before he hyperextended his right knee, a cloud that hung over L.A. for the rest of the game.
17 Rebounds for Pau Gasol, who also played solid defense in Bynum’s absence.
21 Second half points for Lamar Odom, who had only two at the half, but scored nine in both the third and fourth quarters.
35.2 Spurs shooting percentage in a game where they rested their three best offensive players in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the No. 1 seed locked up a bit ago.