Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening road contest at San Antonio, the first of three meetings between the two teams in the next two weeks, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Sessions, Ebanks*, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
T. Parker, D. Green, K. Leanard, D. Blair, T. Duncan
*Kobe Bryant remained out with tenosynovitis of the left shin.
12:00 In their past three games, the Lakers have given up nine, 14 and 10 three-pointers to the Hornets, Suns and Rockets, on a combined 54.1 percent (33 of 61). This is an extended anomaly, as the Lakers allow 33.7 percent on the season, dropping from fifth to eighth in the last three alone.
6:20 A 5-0 LAL run tied us up at 10 after San Antonio had rolled off eight straight, with a World Peace three-pointer capping the quick burst. Bynum was all over the glass, grabbing seven boards, L.A. using its superior length with the 6-7 DeJuan Blair defending Bynum.
0:00 Despite giving up four three-pointers to the Spurs (continuing that trend mentioned a few words ago), L.A. took a 24-21 lead out of the first, thanks mostly to eight offensive boards, which made up for 10 of 29 shooting, including Bynum’s 3 of 9 and Gasol’s 3 of 7. Bynum grabbed 10 boards, four of them offensive, to key L.A.’s 21-10 edge on the glass.
7:30 The second unit started out hot in the second, getting the third World Peace triple and then back to back triples from Matt Barnes to open a 33-26 lead. Moments later, Barnes tipped in a McRoberts miss to keep L.A. up six, totaling eight quick points off the pine.
2:35 How good was Bynum in the first half? Well, his 16th rebound was the same total as San Antonio had as a team, and it happened to be an offensive tip from the block with one hand, putting the Lakers up 11 points. The Spurs, however, rallied to cut the lead to five, as the whistles seemed to go away in the final minute as L.A. played volleyball at the rim, Bynum reaching 19 total rebounds (!), but the Lakers not able to put away a tip in that San Antonio turned into a transition layup, making it 48-43 at the break.
8:21 The Lakers continued to play great ball to open the second half, losing nothing from the halftime break, as World Peace converted a fastbreak layup off his own steal to put L.A. up 58-45. Bynum added his sixth bucket to reach 14 points with his 20 boards, both game highs.
5:00 Continuing to step up his scoring in Kobe’s absence was World Peace, who caught fire in this one, nailing two turnaround jumpers that gave him 18 points, and the Lakers a 69-51 lead when Sessions followed with a long two of his own. Last four games for Peace: 23, 19, eight, and … now 20 after ANOTHER World Peace hoop. He was 8 of 11 from the field, with Kobe nodding in admiration on the bench, and L.A.’s lead pushing to 71-53.
0:00 The lead was a healthy 16 points after three, with Blake’s 20-footer stopping a 5-0 Spurs run, putting L.A. in control with 12 Kobe-less minutes to play.
7:54 How about Metta World Peace, folks? He buried a three without leaving his feet to beat the shot clock (you know like he does when he’s in the paint and gets fouled on a put-back attempt, right?), his fifth triple of the night, to reach 26 points, the most he’s scored as a Laker. His triple put L.A. up 89-63, their biggest lead, enough to coast to a victory…
2:25 … And that they would, even though the Spurs took advantage of L.A. finally backing off by reeling off a quick 14-2 run, hitting their 13th three with 2:25 to go to cut it to 11, but Blake answered with a triple of his own moments later as if a final dagger were needed.
1:47 How much glass was Andrew Bynum cleaning? Well, in the entire history of the Lakers, featuring by far the best collection of dominant big men of any franchise, a 30-rebound game had happened only 19 times. The last time it happened? Back in 1978, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it. But with under two minutes to play, Bynum got No. 30, the 20th such game, joining George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain (who did it 14 times), Kareem and Elgin Baylor.
As such, Bynum got the walk off interview on KCAL 9, expressing frustration with his game as he made only 7 of 20 shots, choosing not to focus on his history game on the glass. He was helped by the 26 from World Peace, 21 points, 11 boards and four assists from Gasol and 13 off the bench from Barnes, who was excellent in Kobe’s absence. It was the seventh Lakers road win in nine tries, improving the team to 37-22 on the season, with a home game against Denver coming up on Friday. See you there.