Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening Game 3 playoff contest vs. 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: Morris, Goudelock, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Spurs: T. Parker, D. Green, K. Leonard, T. Splitter, T. Duncan
12:00 Those weren’t typos in the starting line up for the Lakers, folks. Two 2011 second round picks, Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock, would hear their names announced for the first time as playoff starters. L.A.’s top four guards – Kobe Bryant (torn Achilles), Steve Nash (back/hip/hamstring issues), Steve Blake (hamstring strain) and Jodie Meeks (ankle sprain) were all out. Crazy, but hey, that’s why they play the game…
5:54 L.A. got off to a 6-3 start when Morris put back Pau Gasol’s miss, but the Spurs took over from there, going on a 14-2 run to open a 17-8 lead. Needless to say, the Lakers looked out of sync on both ends, forced into using line ups we haven’t seen play together all season, hitting only 4 of 14 field goals on offense (28.6 percent) with the Spurs making 6 of 10, plus 5 of 6 free throws.
0:00 The Lakers have been just brutal at closing quarters in this series, and that continued, with San Antonio cranking out the final six points of the period to allow a 30-18 lead after one. San Antonio shot 61.1 percent from the field, compared to L.A.’s 34.8, one offense being executed with precision, the other trying to learn on the fly. And that’s not really the fault of the Lakers, playing groups that literally have not seen the floor together this season.
7:40 After sitting half the first quarter with two fouls, Dwight Howard returned and immediately got the ball on three consecutive trips. That ended up netting only one point, however, as he missed two field goals, and then hit 1 of 2 free throws off a foul when he’d grabbed Goudelock’s missed three. As such, the Spurs held a 36-23 lead, continuing to build upon the margin they began pushing late in the first.
0:00 In just over a two-minute stretch, Goudelock showed why he was the recently-named NBA D-League MVP this season, going off for 10 of his 14 points in the half to keep L.A. in the mix when they’d fallen behind by as many as 18. As such, San Antonio’s lead was 11 at the break, at 55-44, the visitors hitting 59 percent of their shots.
7:11 And the Spurs just kept going, their offense running so efficiently, with eight makes in 10 attempts, Duncan climbing up to 20 points on a ridiculous 10 of 11 shooting line (including 7 for 7 on jump shots). Even with Goudelock reaching 20 points, the Spurs get their lead back up to 18 points, matching the first half high.
2:52 Things got worse from there, Duncan getting to a game-high 22 points with a put-back dunk that sent the Lakers into a time out down 81-59. L.A. were trying, but – not to beat a dead horse – barely knew how to play together due to all the injuries, and had no answer for crisp San Antonio execution (62.5 percent shooting). At quarter’s end, the Spurs held a commanding 85-63 lead.
6:55 L.A.’s bigs were putting up solid all-around numbers, with Gasol’s and-1 leaving him a single point shy of a triple double (nine points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists), and Howard boasting 25 points with 11 rebounds (five straight free throw makes, 9 of 16 field goals), yet the Spurs led by 22.
5:16 Notching his first career playoff triple-double, Gasol (11 points, 13 boards, 10 assists) scored at the rim before exiting the game alongside Howard (25 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks) with the Lakers trailing by 24.
0:00 Even if the Lakers were close to healthy – and they’re certainly not – an 0-3 series deficit would be about as daunting as could be to a Spurs team executing seemingly at will, even their garbage-time guys going off late in the game, pushing their lead to as many as 33, before a 120-89 win marked the biggest Lakers home loss in franchise history (previous was 29 vs. Portland in 2000). Game 4 is on Sunday – we’ll see you there.