Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening contest at San Antonio, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Morris, Bryant, World Peace, Sacre
Spurs: T. Parker, D. Green, K. Leonard, T. Duncan, T. Splitter
4:39 Despite two missed free throws in four attempts from Kobe Bryant, L.A. was within one at 12-11, competing hard in a tough back-to-back … but the Spurs promptly went on a 7-0 run, with a three and dunk from Stephen Jackson, creating a 19-11 margin. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan had combined for the other 14 points, with Metta World Peace scoring seven.
6:20 The Lakers kept trying to hang tough despite constant fruitful pick and rolls with Tiago Splitter (12 points) using his length over Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison with L.A. so shorthanded up front. No Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol or Jordan Hill, with Gasol the only one with a chance to play on Friday against OKC.
0:00 L.A. had cut the lead to as few as three with a nice run sparked by Earl Clark (nine points, four boards in the half), but a poor finish allowed the Spurs to push the lead right back to nine at the half. They capped a run with Ginobili’s dunk, Bryant missing an assignment that he acknowledged by patting his chest. L.A. did force 10 Spurs turnovers, and battled in the paint to allow just a 28-22 edge in points inside despite the SAS size advantage.
8:53 Sacre had plenty of good looks, set up by Nash of course, but had been struggling to convert before calmly waiting for a smaller defender to go by him and dunking the ball. It was his second make in seven attempts, L.A. getting within eight. However, the Spurs capitalized on a poor play from Morris in transition with a corner three on the other end, though they missed the technical free throw resulting from Morris complaining about a no-call. The deficit was 11 at 63-52.
1:52 An angry Kobe was putting in some ridiculous shots, getting Jordan Hill to tweet from back in Los Angeles “The Bean!” after back-to-back deep threes. Nonetheless, the Spurs continued to drain threes (7 for 14) in building at most a 17-point lead. L.A. did respond with a nice run, Clark and World Peace joining the effort from Bryant to cut it down to as few as eight, before two late Ginobili free throws. Speaking of those FT’s … LAL were incensed with the calls, as Chris Duhon became the third Laker in the quarter alone to draw a technical foul from ref Bill Kennedy. D’Antoni wasn’t exactly pleased, either. As such, San Antonio took a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter.
9:49 The Spurs continued to have an answer for each mini run the Lakers mustered, as the eighth three from the home team (Jackson’s second) pushed the lead back to 13 at 92-79 after Clark had set his career high in points with 15, alongside 10 rebounds for his second career double-double. A bit deflating for L.A., victims of classic San Antonio execution that created a corner three.
2:56 Well … we suddenly had a ball game, folks. A huge Lakers run was capped by Antawn Jamison’s backdoor layup, plus some hits from Kobe, the run swelling to 17-4 when the visitors had been down by as many as 17 points in the second half. Clark continued his ridiculous stretch, and despite consecutive misses from three that would have tied the game from Bryant and Jamison, countered Ginobili’s three (the first Spurs make in seemingly ages) with a triple of his own to keep the deficit at three. Tony Parker then committed a rare turnover with 10 seconds left to give L.A. one more chance to tie…
0:00 But Bryant, isolated on Leonard, couldn’t get a three to fall with four seconds left and the score 108-105. Clark managed to corral the long rebound and hucked up a desperation attempt that seemed destined to go down (he had a remarkable 22 points and 13 boards in 27 minutes) … but that too missed. An impressive comeback made the loss perhaps even more deflating, particularly as it was the fifth in a row for a Lakers team falling to 15-20 on the season. No rest for the weary, however, with Oklahoma City coming to town on Friday. We’ll see you there.