6:30 PM ET, December 10, 2006
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Lakers hit San Antonio with a third quarter the high-flying Spurs won't soon forget.
No more wondering and doubting. No more pointing to the soft early-season schedule. No more poking holes and poking fun.
You can write it down: The Lakers can play. The Lakers are good.
And more than that, the Lakers are tough.
You heard right. Not slick, not pretty. Tough.
• For more of Eric Neel's analysis in the Daily Dime, click here.
Kobe Bryant had 34 points and eight rebounds, Lamar Odom just missed a triple-double, and Los Angeles took command in the third period en route to a 106-99 victory over the Spurs on Sunday night for its fifth win in six games.
"I think that's the best defensive quarter I've played in as a Laker," said Odom, in his third season with the team. "It was just effort, energy, rotating, talking. We got our hands on so many passes. That was the difference tonight."
Odom had 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and Luke Walton added 17 points for the Lakers (14-6), who snapped San Antonio's four-game winning streak and handed the Spurs just their third loss in 11 road games this season.
The Lakers trailed by five points before outscoring the Spurs 24-6 in the last five minutes of the third period for an 83-70 lead, and they were on top the rest of the way. Odom scored nine points and Bryant and Walton added five each during the spurt.
"We had an inspirational third quarter that carried us," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "There are some things we learned tonight that I think as a team helped us grow up a little bit."
Jackson wouldn't identify what those things were.
"I thought the Lakers' pressure was great in the second half and we folded under that pressure -- absolutely folded. End of story," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
The Spurs were outscored 37-22 in the third period despite making 9-of-14 shots including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. That's because they committed nine of their 19 turnovers, leading to 19 Los Angeles points.
"They played good defense and we didn't play solid offense," San Antonio's Tony Parker said. "We lost the game in the third quarter. We tried to make a comeback in the fourth, but it was too late because it's always hard to get a lot of stops in a row."
Bryant showed no ill effects of a sprained right ankle that caused him to sit out the Lakers' 106-95 victory over Atlanta on Friday night.
"It's a little sore right now," he said. "All in all, it felt great."
Regarding the game, Bryant said: "For us to stifle them in the third quarter, that should give us a lot of confidence. Defensively, we really swarmed them. We played with a lot of poise. You have to have that against a team like San Antonio."
Manu Ginobili came off the bench to lead the Spurs (15-6) with 23 points. Parker added 21 points and nine assists, Tim Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Bruce Bowen scored 16 before fouling out with 21 seconds left.
Kwame Brown scored all 11 of his points in the second half and Smush Parker added 10 for the Lakers, who shot 48.9 percent and outrebounded the Spurs 42-33. San Antonio lost despite shooting 51.4 percent including 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from 3-point range.
Duncan scored four points during a 10-3 San Antonio run that trimmed the Lakers' lead to three points midway through the fourth quarter. But that's as close as the Spurs would get.
A basket by Brown gave the Lakers a six-point advantage, and Brown blocked a shot by Parker, leading to a three-point play by Walton that made it 99-92 with 2:46 left.
Then, Duncan was called for a technical foul after being tied up by Bryant, whose free throw with 2:21 to play put the Lakers up by eight.
The Lakers turned the ball over twice in the next minute, but the Spurs couldn't take full advantage as Duncan missed two free throws and Parker missed another pair down the stretch.
Bowen scored all but two of his points in the first nine minutes. ... The Lakers have played the most home games (15), won the most home games (12) and played the fewest road games (five) in the NBA. Starting with a game Tuesday night in Houston, they play eight of their next 10 and 22 of their next 34 on the road. ... The Spurs have an 8-3 record against the Lakers in the last 11 games between the teams. ... Lakers F Vladimir Radmanovic, who sprained his right ankle Saturday in practice, sat out his first game of the season. ... The Spurs had their five-game winning streak against the Lakers at Staples Center snapped. ... When the Spurs beat the Clippers 111-82 on Friday night in San Antonio, it marked the first time in franchise history that they've won three straight games by 20 or more points. ... The Lakers are 3-0 without Bryant this season after going 6-12 without him during the past two years.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||37-72 (.514)||43-88 (.489)|
|3PM-3PA||12-23 (.522)||8-18 (.444)|
|FTM-FTA||13-20 (.650)||12-17 (.706)|
|Fast Break Points||6||17|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||27 (1/0)||19 (1/0)|