SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- It's usually not good for the San Antonio Spurs when the words "Lakers'' and "sweep'' appear in the same
Not this year.
Tim Duncan had 27 points and Tony Parker scored 16 of his 18
points in the second half as the Spurs beat Los Angeles 98-89
Sunday to complete a four-game regular-season sweep of the defending NBA champions.
The Spurs had last swept a season series against Los Angeles in
"We came out aggressive and really stuck with it,'' Duncan
said. "They really challenged us ... We just did a lot of good
things as a team.''
San Antonio took control by making 10 of 15 shots in the third
quarter. The Spurs led by as many as 19 points in the quarter as
the Lakers shot 6-for-31. Parker had eight points on 3-for-3
shooting in the period, then added eight free throws in the fourth.
"I'm always on this team about coming out strong in the second
half and playing with the kind of energy we have to, especially
against San Antonio,'' Lakes coach Phil Jackson said. "We were a
little lackadaisical and didn't taken advantage of a lot of
Shaquille O'Neal, who had 32 points and 12 rebounds, had a
basket and a three-point play that closed the Lakers to 71-61 with
10 minutes remaining. But Manu Ginobili countered eight points to help the Spurs maintain a double-digit advantage.
"We made some silly mistakes and that cost us,'' O'Neal said.
"We beat ourselves more than they did.''
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich held back from giving his team full
credit for sweeping the Lakers, who needed only nine games to oust
San Antonio from the postseason during the past two playoffs.
"We've only beaten them twice -- Shaq has only played in two of
the games,'' Popovich said, remembering that O'Neal had been
sidelined by foot surgery. "They are still the best team on the
planet until proved different in the playoffs.''
Kobe Bryant, who had 31 points of 11-for-30 shooting, made a
15-footer and then a breakaway dunk off a steal with 2:48 left,
cutting the lead to 84-79.
Duncan followed with a shot on the run. Parker stole the ball
from O'Neal on an inbounds and was fouled at the other end, making
a pair of free throws that increased the lead to 88-79 with 1:40 to
O'Neal's short hook and a dunk trimmed the lead to five, but
Parker made four more free throws and Ginobili intercepted a pass
to Bryant and took it in for a layup for a 96-85 lead with 25.6
Ginobili finished with 14 points, 10 in the second half, and
Stephen Jackson added 11. Duncan had 17 rebounds and O'Neal 12
rebounds. Bryant, averaging six assists, did not have any assists
in the game.
San Antonio went ahead in the first quarter with a 15-point run.
O'Neal, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, dunked
over Danny Ferry to pull Los Angeles to 26-25 at 7:15 of the second quarter.
Los Angeles shot just 24 percent in the second quarter, but San
Antonio also struggled at only 30 percent.
Duncan finished the half with 16 points and nine rebounds, as
the Spurs built a 39-36 lead.
"Maybe they got it out of their system,'' Bryant said. "Maybe
now we can get into the playoffs and we can sweep them.''
NBA commissioner David Stern was at the game to announce
the David Robinson Plaque, to be presented to winners of the
league's community spirit award. ... Robinson was recognized for
his $9 million donation to create a private school for
underprivileged children in San Antonio. ... Bryant averaged 31.5
points in the four games against the Spurs, but he shot only 37.6
percent (47-for-125) from the floor. ... O'Neal (12-for-23) was the
only Laker to shoot better than 50 percent. ... Stephen Jackson
made a no-look heave from beyond midcourt at the halftime buzzer,
but officials ruled time had expired.