If Friday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the visiting San Antonio Spurs was a heavyweight boxing championship fight, the fans would have been clamoring for a refund. Kobe Bryant is still rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon he sustained last season and Tim Duncan missed the game because of a chest contusion.
Tony Parker made 12 of 18 shots from the field and scored a game-high 24 points to lead San Antonio (2-1) to a 91-85 over L.A. (1-2). Parker also dished out six assists, grabbed four rebounds and turned the ball over only once.
“We’re motivated,” Parker told ESPN after the game when asked about the Spurs being without Duncan. “We don’t give up games.”
With the game tied at 80 and a little over two minutes left in the game, the Spurs closed out the game by going on an 11-5 run (Manu Ginobili scored four points, including a pair of free throws with four seconds left) to close it out.
“We let this one get away from us,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I thought this was one we could have got, especially without Duncan. It was set up for us. We didn’t do it. You need to start defending your turf, then learn how to win on the road.”
The Lakers were stagnant on offense and a lot of that had to do with the Spurs’ intense and tough defense. L.A. made just 30 of 82 field goals (36.6%) and seemed to live and die by the 3-pointer. They made just eight of 27 from behind the arc (29.6%) and Steve Blake was the main culprit. He converted just two of his nine 3-pointers, but dished nine assists.
Pau Gasol had a strong game, scoring a season-high 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Jodie Meeks continued his strong play with 14 points. Nick Young scored just six points and may need to be looking over his shoulder if Meeks continues to play well. Wesley Johnson scored 12 points and played well defensively, with two blocks and one steal.
Ginobili added 20 points off the bench, Kawhi Leonard chipped in with 15 points and Boris Diaw scored 14 points to give the Spurs four starters in double figures.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @djroxalot.