Lakers vs. San Antonio: Lakers snap losing streak, but lose Andrew Bynum to injury
But there was some good news for the Lakers: They broke a season-high five-game losing streak, defeating the San Antonio Spurs, who didn't play Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
The Lakers are tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the second-best record in the Western Conference, but L.A. owns the tiebreaker that would give it the No. 2 playoff seeding if the teams finish tied.
The Lakers can secure the second seeding with a victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
If the Lakers lose and the Mavericks defeat the New Orleans Hornets, the Lakers will slide to the third spot and Dallas will be second.
Bynum suffered a hyperextended right knee in the second quarter and didn't return to the game. He will have an MRI exam Wednesday and will not travel with the team to Sacramento for the regular-season finale against the Kings.
Barnes has a sore right knee that kept him out of the game and Blake was home with chicken pox.
Kobe Bryant, who picked up his 15th technical foul on the season, led the Lakers with 27 points.
Lamar Odom contributed 23 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Lakers.
Lakers 70, Spurs 64 (end of third quarter)
It was a good thing Kobe Bryant had his technical foul from Sunday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder rescinded by the NBA Monday, reducing his number from 15 back to 14 for the season.
It was a good thing because Bryant picked up technical foul in the third quarter Tuesday, giving him 15 on the season. If a player gets 16 technical fouls, he is suspended for the next regular-season game.
If Bryant had 16, he wouldn't be able to play at Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Bryant had been called for an offensive foul, his fourth foul of the game, when he got the technical foul.
He had 20 points through three quarters.
Lakers 45, Spurs 45 (end of first half)
Lakers center Andrew Bynum suffered a hyperextended right knee early in the second quarter of Tuesday night's game against the Spurs and didn't return.
The Lakers said Bynum will get an MRI on Wednesday and would not travel with the team to Sacramento for the season finale against the Kings.
Things didn't get better for the Lakers as the rest of the second quarter unfolded.
Matt Bonner made a three-pointer to pull the Spurs to within 45-43.
Then Kobe Bryant was called for an offensive foul with 3.1 seconds left in the half. It was his third of the game.
Then even worse, Ron Artest fouled Richard Jefferson with point eight seconds left in the half.
Jefferson made both free throws to tie the score at the half.
It's the same knee Bynum had surgery on last summer. Bynum missed the first 24 regular-season games recovering from the surgery.
It looked as if Bynum lost his balance while he was trying to track down DeJuan Blair. Bynum's left knee slipped under him, but he then grabbed the right knee.
Bynum stayed on the court for a while, holding the heavily padded right knee and looking down at the court.
He got up and waved for Lakers trainer Gary Vitti to take him to the locker room with 8:11 left in the second quarter.
Lakers 24, Spurs 15 (end of first quarter)
They may have been a little choppy, but the Lakers still found a way to build a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter, despite shooting just 38.1% from the field.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with nine points on three-for-six shooting.
The Lakers held the Spurs to 28.6% shooting in the first.
The Lakers don't have two of their key reserves and the Spurs are keeping their Big Three out of Tuesday night's showdown between Los Angeles and San Antonio at Staples Center.
Lakers reserve Matt Barnes isn't playing because of a sore right knee and Steve Blake is out because of the chicken pox.
San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich said before the game that he wouldn't play center Tim Duncan and guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
The Spurs have the top seed in the Western Conference wrapped up.
The Lakers, on the other hand, are trying to hold on to second place in the West.
The Lakers have lost five straight games and are trying to break that losing streak.
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Andrew Bynum. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times