Final

Los Angeles wins series 4-2 (Game 6 of 6)

Los Angeles wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, May 2nd
Lakers78Final
Spurs88
Game 2: Wednesday, May 5th
Lakers85Final
Spurs95
Game 3: Sunday, May 9th
Spurs81Final
Lakers105
Game 4: Tuesday, May 11th
Spurs90Final
Lakers98
Game 5: Thursday, May 13th
Lakers74Final
Spurs73
Game 6: Saturday, May 15th
Spurs76Final
Lakers88

Spurs 76

 

Lakers 88

(56-26, 34-7 home)

    7:30 PM ET, May 15, 2004

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 21 18 13 2476
    LAL 23 16 17 3288

    Top Performers

    San Antonio: T. Duncan 20 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Los Angeles: K. Bryant 26 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    L.A. awaits Wolves-Kings winner

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With four future Hall of Famers, the Los Angeles Lakers have some kind of imposing offense.

    That wasn't what it took to beat the San Antonio Spurs.

    It took some kind of defense.

    Kobe Bryant scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Shaquille O'Neal had 17 points, 19 rebounds and five blocked shots and the Lakers beat the Spurs 88-76 Saturday night to win the Western Conference semifinals in six games.

    It was the completion of an improbable comeback and sent the defending NBA champions home for the summer. Exactly a year earlier, it was the Spurs celebrating a conference semifinal triumph on the same court to end the Lakers' quest for a fourth straight title.

    "It was a big series for us, playing the defending champs," Bryant said. "Last year they knocked us out and we had an opportunity to return the favor."

    The Spurs shot 30.2 percent, including 21.3 percent in the second half when the Lakers outscored them 49-37.

    "We came out and played a second half where our defense hung together again and made them struggle for shots," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

    "That was really our demise in the series," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his team's offense. "I thought that defensively, they were wonderful."

    Tony Parker, so outstanding in the first two games, shot 4-of-18 in scoring nine points and had only three assists in the finale.

    "We knew Tony was cutting us up," Jackson said. "We just threw the wall at him, basically, threw bodies at him."

    The Lakers will face the winner of the Minnesota-Sacramento series in the conference finals. The Timberwolves lead 3-2 entering Game 6 Sunday in Sacramento.

    The Lakers became the eighth team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games. The last team to accomplish such a feat was Houston, which did it in both the 1994 and 1995 conference semifinals against Phoenix en route to championships.

    After a pair of 10-point victories over Los Angeles to begin the series, the Spurs had a 17-game winning streak and the Lakers appeared to be in big trouble.

    Little did anyone know the Spurs wouldn't win again this season.

    "We knew that if we did what we're supposed to do, that we'd be fine," O'Neal said. "When we play hard and play with kind a lot of passion and when you believe like that, anything can happen."

    Gary Payton, who along with Karl Malone joined the Lakers this season in search of his first championship ring, had 15 points and seven assists.

    Bryant also had seven assists to go with seven rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 44.6 percent and won despite being outrebounded 49-39.

    Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but shot just 7-of-18. Manu Ginobili added 16 points, Devin Brown had 15 and Robert Horry scored 12.

    "They adjusted their game plan and it worked for them," Duncan said. "We didn't shoot the ball as well as we could have."

    About the Lakers' defense, Duncan said: "It's tough because Shaq's back there, that's a big part of it. You can get by them at points. Having Shaq back there as a safety really causes some problems. It was a very good defensive scheme, more than anything."

    Brown scored six straight points to give the Spurs a 58-57 lead early in the fourth quarter. But two free throws by Bryant, a 3-pointer by Derek Fisher and a foul shot by Malone put the Lakers on top by five, and they were ahead the rest of the way.

    It was 74-68 with 3:39 remaining when the Spurs intentionally fouled O'Neal. He foiled the strategy by making two free throws.

    O'Neal would make two more free throws with 2:48 left after another intentional foul to give the Lakers a 79-70 lead, and Bryant's flying dunk with 1:52 remaining added an exclamation point.

    The Lakers made 19 of 30 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the Spurs.

    Outscored 139-93 in the third quarter in the first five games of the series, the Spurs had their problems again, shooting a miserable 3-for-23 in the third period of this game.

    But they were only outscored by four points because they got seven offensive rebounds and made seven free throws. That left the Lakers with a 56-52 lead entering the final period.

    The game was tied 39-all at halftime.

    Fisher, whose 18-foot buzzer-beating jumper gave the Lakers a 74-73 victory in Game 5, received a standing ovation when he entered this game for the first time late in the first quarter. He scored nine points.

    Game notes


    Parker celebrates his 22nd birthday Monday. He has the most assists and second-most points for a player under 22 in NBA playoff history. Bryant ranks first in points and third in assists. ... Malone and Duncan exchanged words and were called for a double-technical late in the second quarter, and Payton got one early in the third period. ... The Lakers extended their closeout winning streak 11 games. They haven't squandered an opportunity to eliminate a team from the playoffs since losing Game 5 of the 2000 NBA Finals to Indiana. They began their closeout streak by beating the Pacers in Game 6. ... The Lakers are 19-1 after leading a playoff series 3-2, losing only to Boston in the 1969 NBA Finals.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    SA
    LAL
    Points 76 88
    FGM-FGA 26-86 (.302) 29-65 (.446)
    3PM-3PA 3-24 (.125) 6-17 (.353)
    FTM-FTA 21-26 (.808) 24-41 (.585)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 21-49 8-39
    Assists 14 19
    Turnovers 15 12
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 0 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (1/0) 23 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Los Angeles
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 20
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 26
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0