Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 3)

Series starts 1/14

Game 1: Wednesday, January 14th
Lakers111Final
Spurs112
Game 2: Sunday, January 25th
Spurs85Final
Lakers99
Game 3: Thursday, March 12th
Lakers102Final
Spurs95

Spurs 85

(29-14, 12-7 away)

Lakers 99

(35-8, 23-3 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    3:30 PM ET, January 25, 2009

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 23 22 21 1985
    LAL 22 29 28 2099

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Parker 19 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    LAL: K. Bryant 22 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Lakers dump Spurs, cruise to fourth straight victory

    Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES -- After a month of playing short-handed, the Los Angeles Lakers are back to full strength. If Sunday is an accurate indication, that means trouble for every other NBA team.

    Fast Facts

    • The Lakers defense proved to be too much for the Spurs to overcome, holding San Antonio to 37.5 percent shooting from the field (tied for second worst in a game this season).

    • The Lakers improved to 23-3 at home this season, helping San Antonio fall to 1-4 in the last five games at the Staples Center.

    • Kobe Bryant scored 22 points in 32 minutes. Andrew Bynum added 15 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks in the win.

    -- ESPN research

    Kobe Bryant scored 22 points before sitting out the fourth quarter, Pau Gasol added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists, and the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs 99-85 in a matchup of the Western Conference's best teams that turned out to be a mismatch.

    The win was the fourth straight and 14th in 17 games for the Lakers (35-8), whose .814 winning percentage is the best in the NBA although the defending champion Boston Celtics (37-9) lead them by a half-game in the overall standings by virtue of their 124-100 victory over Dallas earlier Sunday.

    Backup point guard Jordan Farmar returned after missing 18 games because of an injured left knee, and scored 14 points. Luke Walton played in his third game after missing nine with an injured foot, and Lamar Odom (knee) and Sasha Vujacic (back spasms) were also sidelined for brief periods.

    Adande: New Perspective

    Andrew Bynum is starting to get it, but not getting it enough to recognize that scoring 15 points against Tim Duncan was a better performance than scoring 42 points against a decimated Clippers front line, writes J.A. Adande. Story

    "We missed him a lot. He makes our second unit go, he's the motor," Bryant said of Farmar, who shot 5-of-7 including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. "Now that he's back, everybody falls into their natural positions and we are back clicking on all cylinders."

    Reserve Trevor Ariza scored 17 points to match his season high and Andrew Bynum had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers. Gasol was the only Los Angeles starter to play in the final period.

    "A lot. Big," coach Phil Jackson replied when asked how important Farmar's return was to the Lakers. "It helps us a lot. Jordan obviously has attributes -- the speed and the quickness. Those are things that we missed, that tempo change in our game."

    Farmar wasn't expected to play until Tuesday night against Charlotte or during the Lakers' upcoming five-game road trip that begins Friday night in Minnesota.

    "I've been feeling better for about a week now," he said. "I still had to go through a process to make sure I was OK. No pain, no swelling -- it felt normal. I have been watching these guys play and I expect to be playing like this all the time. That's how I am; I work hard and I'm disappointed when it doesn't happen."

    Jackson said before the game that Farmar was on the active list, but he wasn't sure he'd play the third-year pro.

    "I was in his ear the whole time on the bench," Farmar said with a smile. "He would have had to deal with that the whole game."

    Farmar entered the game late in the first quarter and played almost seven minutes in his first action since Dec. 19. He returned late in the third period and played another 10 minutes.

    Tony Parker had 19 points and six assists and Tim Duncan added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs (29-14), who lost for just the fourth time in 18 games. Neither played in the fourth quarter.

    "We didn't play very smart in the first half, gave them 15 minutes of bonus and ended up being down six," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "That was the tale of the first half: just too many mental mistakes, foul-wise. In the second half, we spotted them two quick 3s with bad rotations and never caught up after that. The game was over at that point."

    Bryant and Derek Fisher made 3-pointers and Bynum added two free throws to begin the third quarter, giving the Lakers a 59-45 lead, and a three-point play by Gasol made it 68-53. It was 79-66 entering the final period.

    The Lakers outscored San Antonio 10-2 to start the fourth quarter for an 89-68 lead, and the Spurs didn't pose a serious threat after that.

    "We ended the half poorly and they got that six-point lead," Duncan said. "Then they came out in the second half and hit two quick 3s, and it seemed to go downhill from there. I thought the effort was OK, defensively. But we had a couple of lapses that turned right into points and gave them a lead that we couldn't get back from."

    Game notes


    Jackson taped an interview Friday with Magic Johnson, a part-owner of the team, that was shown at halftime on TV. Before the game, the 63-year-old coach cleared up confusion stemming from the interview that next season would be his final one, saying: "Everything's the same as it always was." Jackson has often said he's going year-to-year without a definitive retirement plan. ... The Lakers and Spurs have combined to win seven of the past 10 NBA championships. "We've had a long rivalry with these guys," Popovich said. "We've beaten them up at times, they've beaten us up at times." ... The Lakers have played an NBA-high 26 home games and a league-low 17 road games. After entertaining Charlotte on Tuesday night, they'll play 23 of 31 games on the road. ... The Spurs have played 24 home games and 19 road games. This game marked the beginning of a stretch where they play 11 of 12 on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    SA
    LAL
    Points 85 99
    FGM-FGA 33-88 (.375) 32-69 (.464)
    3PM-3PA 5-23 (.217) 7-17 (.412)
    FTM-FTA 14-16 (.875) 28-32 (.875)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-40 6-43
    Assists 21 20
    Turnovers 14 18
    Steals 14 8
    Blocks 2 8
    Fast Break Points 10 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 21

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Los Angeles
    Tony Parker Parker
    Points: 19
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 22
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1