Lakers vs San Antonio: Lakers lose to Spurs on last-second tip-in
Spurs 89, Lakers 88 (final)
In a game that felt more like a playoff contest than a regular-season affair, the Lakers and Spurs played this one down to the wire Thursday night at Staples Center.
Manu Ginobili missed a three-poinnter, but Antonio McDyess tipped the ball back out for another Spurs possession.
Tony Parker missed a drive, but Ron Artest couldn't get the rebound, giving the ball back to the Spurs again.
Tim Duncan missed a shot, but McDyess tipped the ball in just before the buzzer sounded, giving the Spurs the victory.
The Spurs mobbed McDyess on the court while the officials looked at the tape to make sure his basket came before time had expired.
The Lakers walked off dejectedly, knowing that having lost both games to the Spurs left them 7 1/2 games behind San Antonio, which has the best record in the NBA.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 19 points and seven rebounds and Kobe Bryant had 16 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. But he was just five for 18 from the field.
The Lakers got down eight points in the fourth and had to come back.
They got down 85-80 later in the fourth with 3:13 left and had to come back again.
When Gasol made one of two free throws with 2:15 left, the Lakers had pulled to within 85-83.
Now the Lakers needed another defensive stop.
But Duncan scored in the post for an 87-83 Spurs lead.
Lamar Odom made a three-pointer with one minute left to pull the Lakers to within 87-86.
Gasol had another chance to help the Lakers when he was fouled with 22.7 seconds left.
Gasol made both free throws this time, giving the Lakers an 88-87 lead.
The Spurs called a timeout to set up one last play.
Spurs 66, Lakers 63 (end of third quarter)
By the end of the third quarter, the Lakers still were trying to catch up to the Spurs.
San Antiono's defense was equal to the Lakers' defense.
The Spurs held the Lakers to 41.7% shooting through three quarters. The Lakers held the Spurs to 41.5% shooting.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 18 points on eight-for-13 shooting.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 14 points, but he was just four-for-13 shooting.
Lakers 42, Spurs 42 (end of first half)
With Ron Artest playing better and Pau Gasol doing his thing, the Lakers were able to end up in a tie with the Spurs at halftime.
Artest had seven points, five rebounds and he played good defense.
Gasol had 10 points on five-for-six shooting in the first half.
The Lakers limited the Spurs to 39.5% shooting in the first half.
Spurs22, Lakers 18 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers knew this was a big game, a game in which they needed to play their best against a Spurs team that has the best record in the NBA.
From the start, one could see that the Lakers were intense.
Their defense was on point, holding the Spurs to 38.5% shooting.
Still, the Spurs took a four-point lead into the second quarter after Gary Neal threw up a floater just before the first-quarter buzzer sounded.
Kobe Bryant was just one for six from the field, but he did have six assists.
Richard Jefferson led the Spurs with 10 points on four-for-six shooting.
The San Antonio Spurs entered Thursday night's game against the Lakers with the best record in the NBA at 40-8.
The Spurs held a 6 1/2-game lead over the Lakers before the teams played at Staples Center.
But before the game, Spurs Coach Greg Popovich said the two-time defending NBA champions were still the best team in the Western Conference.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was asked if he believed what Popovich said.
"I'd like to agree with him," Jackson said, smiling. "But our record doens't show that right now."
The Lakers are 34-15.
The Lakers were happy to hear that center Andrew Bynum, who missed the last game with a bone bruise in his left knee, was going to play.
-- Broderick Turner