Spurs ride big third-quarter rally to win over Lakers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich reacted
quickly when his team got off to a horrendous start in the second
half, calling a timeout after just 2 minutes had been played.

Good move.

Tim Duncan had 20 points and 13 rebounds, Tony Parker added 19
points and six assists, and the Spurs took command in the third
quarter to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 96-85 Thursday night.

Nazr Mohammed and Robert Horry each scored 12 points, Manu
Ginobili had 11 and Bruce Bowen added 10 for the Spurs, who
outscored Los Angeles 33-9 to finish the third quarter for an
18-point lead. The Lakers committed eight of their 18 turnovers in
the period.

"You kind of get a flow going there, and people step up,"
Duncan said. "I thought Nazr really stepped up at that point. And
Tony made the defense collapse.

"It was just a team effort -- it all works."

Kobe Bryant made a three-point play and Brian Cook added a
3-pointer as the Lakers went on a 9-2 run to open the third period,
putting them ahead 49-43.

That's when the Spurs took a timeout, and then took over the

First, they scored nine straight points to go ahead for good.
After Cook made another 3-pointer to move the Lakers within one
point, the Spurs outscored the Lakers 19-2 to finish the third
quarter for a 76-58 lead.

The Lakers weren't closer than nine points after that.

"They went up by six, and for us, I thought our focus wasn't
very good at that point," Popovich said. "The ball then moved
real well. We didn't force the ball into Tim Duncan. I thought the
team out there really moved that ball.

"I thought our defense was pretty good all night long. When we
move the ball offensively, we're a much better team."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the Lakers were flat -- perhaps
because they had three days off between games.

"We're not quite good enough yet to stay with this ballclub and
make it a game," he said.

The win was the eighth in 10 games for the defending NBA
champion Spurs (56-16), who lead the Western Conference by two
games over the Dallas Mavericks with 10 remaining in the regular

The win was the second in three nights at Staples Center for the
Spurs, who beat the Clippers 98-87 on Tuesday night.

"Winning on the road is really sweet. It's the most fun in the
league as far as I'm concerned," Popovich said. "It's always
tough and it helps your team come together."

Bryant led the Lakers with 23 points and seven rebounds, but he
shot just 9-of-26, scored only seven points after halftime and
committed six turnovers. Bryant left the game for good with 2:57
remaining and the Spurs leading 93-79.

"They busted us open with their penetration," he said. "We
had a tough time handling that all night, and we didn't cover the
basket very well."

Regarding the third quarter, Bryant said: "We just made bad
decisions with the ball and they capitalized on them. They came out
and they played harder than we did. They're a team that increases
their speed when they need to. And when they play faster, they
don't lose any of their execution. We weren't able to keep up."

Bryant had 13 points in the first 13 minutes but only 10 after

Lamar Odom had 13 points, Sasha Vujacic scored 11, Luke Walton
added 10 and Kwame Brown had nine points and 10 rebounds for the
Lakers (38-35), who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
They haven't won as many as five in a row since March 2004, when
they won 11 straight.

Duncan had all nine San Antonio points in the first 5½ minutes
of the fourth quarter, but the Lakers scored 18, including seven by
Odom, to move within nine points. And they did so without Bryant,
who returned with the Spurs leading 85-76.

But that was as close as the Lakers would get.

Horry, a member of three championship teams with the Lakers,
made a 3-pointer with 4:26 remaining to extend San Antonio's lead
to 92-79 to remove any doubt.

The Spurs led 25-21 entering the second quarter and 41-40 at

Game notes
Parker returned after missing his first game of the season
because of a bruised right shin. ... Jackson said he's hopeful C
Chris Mihm, who has missed nine games because of a sprained right
ankle, within the next two weeks. ... San Antonio's Beno Udrih
didn't play due to a sprained left ankle. Udrih started the game
Parker missed -- a 98-87 win over the Clippers on Tuesday night. ...
The Spurs have won eight of their last nine games against the
Lakers and the last five between the teams at Staples Center. ...
Bryant has scored 20 or more points in 53 straight games. ... The
loss was the Lakers' 35th, tying the most ever by a Jackson-coached
team in his 15 NBA seasons. His 1994-95 Chicago Bulls were 47-35.