Los Angeles wins series 4-1 (Game 5 of 5)

Los Angeles wins series 4-1

Game 1: Sunday, May 5th
Game 2: Tuesday, May 7th
Game 3: Friday, May 10th
Game 4: Sunday, May 12th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 14th

Spurs 87


Lakers 93

(58-24, 34-7 home)

    Coverage: FSW

    7:30 PM ET, May 14, 2002

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 22 23 16 2687
    LAL 15 24 23 3193

    Top Performers

    San Antonio: T. Duncan 34 Pts, 25 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Los Angeles: K. Bryant 26 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Spurs can't get handle on Lakers in fourth

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers are going to the conference finals again, but it's been a struggle.

    Kobe Bryant insists that will help the two-time champions.

    "I think it helps us out a lot," Bryant said after scoring 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to a 93-87 victory over San Antonio on Thursday night, enabling them to win the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series in five games.

    "We have a rhythm of playing in tight games, pressure situations," said Bryant, who also had eight rebounds and five assists. "We expect to win every game. Some teams play to lose. We definitely have a swagger about us."

    A basket by Bryant with 2:27 remaining snapped an 83-all tie and triggered a 10-4 game-closing run as the Lakers again handled the Spurs down the stretch.

    The Lakers outscored the Spurs 31-26 in the fourth quarter, and 125-88 in the final periods in the series after being outscored by 16 points in the opening three quarters.

    "It's not the coach's favorite type of a game, to be honest with you," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said with a smile.

    The two-time defending NBA champion Lakers, 7-1 in these playoffs and 23-2 in their last 25 postseason games, face the Sacramento Kings in an All-California conference final beginning Saturday at Arco Arena.

    "This series is what we've been looking for. I think it's going to be a dramatic one," Jackson said. "Obviously we are the underdogs because we are starting this series out on the road, but we do have the knowledge that we won three out of four against them this year and have had some success against them in the last two years of the playoffs."

    Shaquille O'Neal, ailing with assorted injuries, had 21 points, 11 rebounds and all six of his blocked shots in the second half and Rick Fox added 17 points and seven assists.

    The Lakers' starting backcourt of Bryant and Derek Fisher had no turnovers.

    "My guys did a great job looking out for me," O'Neal said.

    The Lakers bring a playoff-record 11-game road winning streak into their best-of-seven series against the Kings -- 8-0 last year and 3-0 this year.

    Arco Arena will also be the site of Monday night's second game with Games 3 and 4 to be played at Staples Center.

    The Lakers have won seven of their last eight against Sacramento, starting with a four-game sweep in the second round of last year's playoffs. They are also 16-5 against the Kings since Jackson became their coach in 1999.

    Tim Duncan had 34 points and a career playoff-high 25 rebounds for the Spurs. Antonio Daniels added 15 points and Tony Parker scored 14 while David Robinson had no points and three rebounds in 18 foul-plagued minutes.

    "Same kind of game, same result," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's disappointing obviously for us, but the Lakers played like champions the last four or five minutes of every game we played."

    Bryant's driving layup gave the Lakers an 85-83 lead. After Fox's layup a minute later gave the Lakers a four-point lead, and prompted a San Antonio timeout, the Staples Center crowd of 18,997 began chanting "Three-peat, three-peat."

    The Lakers are nearly halfway there.

    After Parker threw up an airball on a 3-pointer, the Lakers got the ball to Robert Horry in the right corner, and he hit a 3-pointer to make it 90-83.

    That would clinch it.

    As was the case in each of the previous four games, the Spurs led in the fourth quarter -- this time by as many as three points.

    Robinson picked up his fourth personal foul in the opening 2 1/2 minutes of the third, taking a seat with the Spurs leading 49-44.

    The Lakers had just started a 14-2 run, which Robert capped with a short jumper that gave them a 53-51 lead -- their first since the opening two minutes. Los Angeles led 62-61 entering the fourth.

    Even though the Spurs lost in five games, they acquitted themselves much better than last year, when the Lakers swept them in four games in the conference finals, winning the last two by a total of 68 points.

    "I'm really excited how far we came from the beginning of the year until now," Duncan said. "The Lakers proved to be more than we could handle. I'm real proud of the effort we gave."

    The Spurs led by as many as 13 points before settling for a 45-39 halftime lead. Duncan had 22 points and 16 of his team's 21 rebounds at the half. The entire Lakers' team had 14 rebounds at that stage.

    Game notes

    The Lakers have won 10 straight playoff series under Jackson. ... Jackson-coached teams have won a record 22 straight playoff series starting with 12 in his final three years as coach of the Chicago Bulls, from 1996-98. ... The Kings, 7-2 in these playoffs, are the closest they've been to a championship since 1981, when they advanced to the conference finals while playing in Kansas City. The franchise moved to Sacramento four years later. ... The Lakers have advanced to the conference finals 11 times since the Kings last got there. ... Duncan reached double figures in points and rebounds early in the second quarter. He led the NBA with 67 double-doubles during the regular season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 87 93
    FGM-FGA 31-71 (.437) 35-78 (.449)
    3PM-3PA 3-13 (.231) 5-14 (.357)
    FTM-FTA 22-26 (.846) 18-23 (.783)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-38 7-34
    Assists 12 20
    Turnovers 16 11
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 2 7
    Fast Break Points 1 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 23 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Los Angeles
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 34
    Reb: 25
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 26
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0