Bowen finished with 23 points in the Spurs' fourth straight victory. He is the team's defensive star, so his success there wasn't much of a surprise.
"His effort tonight was no different than any other night," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's not like he just turns it on for Kobe or this guy or that guy. He does it every night he steps on the court because he's a pro."
But Bowen was averaging 2.9 points a game before Tuesday, so the offense was more unusual.
"He was open tonight. He was open, so that's his calling," said Tony Parker, who had 26 points and nine assists for San Antonio. "Everybody knows Bruce makes shots from the corner."
Manu Ginobili added 17 points for San Antonio.
The Spurs finished 13-of-27 from beyond the arc and had the lead from midway through the second quarter.
"They knocked down a bunch of 3s on us," Bryant said. "We can learn from this game in terms of how they execute and how they space the floor."
The Lakers entered as the league's second-highest scoring team, averaging better than 108 points. The Spurs and their league-leading defense had been holding opponents to just about 88.
"They're a defensive team first," Bryant said. "That's what they hang their hats on. That's what wins championships."
Bryant heard plenty of boos from the crowd in the first half. He first stole the ball from Duncan following an inbounds pass in the opening quarter and took it to the basket for a tomahawk dunk to make it 11-9 Lakers, then blocked Duncan's layup attempt midway through the second quarter.
But it was Parker's 16 points and the Spurs' six 3-pointers in the first half that gave them a 54-38 lead at the break. Parker's jumper with 5:14 left in the second gave the Spurs the lead for good, 35-34.
Parker had 10 points in the first quarter as he slashed his way to the hoop for reverse layups and hit jumpers as the Spurs went up 21-15.
Matt Bonner added 10 points in the half for San Antonio, including two 3s, and was the only other player for either team to score in double digits.
"Once you get out of kilter, they just kept breaking us down and putting the ball in shooters' hands," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
And the reigning champion Spurs had plenty of those.
Bonner finished with 15 points and Michael Finley contributed 10. Duncan finished just 2-of-13 and had five points.
The Spurs went up 73-53 with 3:23 left in the third when Bowen hit two free throws.
Ginobili also got involved in the 3-point barrage, hitting two in the third quarter, which the Spurs ended with a 79-62 lead.
Bonner's third 3 of the game with 11:28 to go in the fourth quarter let the Spurs regain an 18-point cushion.
Bryant, who only reached double digits early in the fourth quarter and scored 10 points in the period, soon brought the Lakers within 14 points with 10:15 to play.
"The way they played us defensively took away a lot of passing angles that we normally make," Bryant said. "It forced us to try and kind of lob the ball over the top and make skip passes that we usually don't have to do."
The Spurs kept a comfortable lead, as Bowen hit three more 3s in the quarter before finally taking the bench as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
The Lakers got within 11 points with 1:47 to go in the fourth.
- Odom was back for his second straight game after sitting out the beginning of the season following shoulder surgery last spring. Odom jammed a finger on his right hand during the game and was wearing a splint post-game.
- Usual starting C Kwame Brown was back after suffering bursitis in his right heel, but played limited minutes Tuesday.
- Ginobili continued his impressive play off the bench this season, making a basket as he was fouled and fell to the floor. When he got up Bryant gave him a few pats on the head.
- The Lakers take on the Houston Rockets on Wednesday for the second game of their swing through Texas.
- The Lakers outrebounded the Spurs 50-40, and the Spurs had 29 assists to the Lakers' 15.
- The Lakers won two of three against the Spurs in 2006-07.