LOS ANGELES -- The San Antonio Spurs appear to be a tired, beaten-up team in trouble. Perhaps the fact that they just survived a similar predicament will give them hope.
Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, Lamar Odom added 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers took command late in the second quarter to rout the Spurs 101-71 on Friday night for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals over the defending champions.
Only 14 of the 222 teams to lose the first two games in a best-of-7 NBA playoff series have come back to win, including the Spurs in their second-round matchup with the Hornets. But this figures to be a tougher assignment - San Antonio has to be perfect at home and win a game at Staples Center, where the Lakers are 7-0 in the postseason and have won 13 straight.
"We're confident we're a very good home team, but you hate to put yourself in a position where you're down 0-2," said Spurs star Tim Duncan, who had 12 points and 16 rebounds. "One of two things is going to happen -- either we're going to turn it around and make this thing into a series or we're not. We are going to go home and try and change the tide of it."
Games 3 (Sunday) and 4 will be played in San Antonio, where the Spurs are 6-0 in the postseason and have won 20 of their last 22 games.
"The old adage is you just won the games on your home court, which is the important part, and extended the series to six games," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We know that. Now, nothing happens until we win on their court. And someone wins on the other team's court."
Los Angeles had to rally from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to win the opener 89-85 Wednesday night, and didn't take its first lead in that game until the final three minutes. The Lakers never trailed in Game 2 -- the third time in their last four playoff games that happened. After a basket by Duncan enabled the Spurs to forge the only tie, the Lakers scored the final nine points of the second quarter for a 46-37 halftime lead.
San Antonio would get no closer.
The Lakers had reason to be leery as the second half began, considering the Spurs outscored them 14-2 to begin the third quarter in Game 1 to go up 65-45.
But Bryant scored seven points in the first two minutes of the third period Friday night and Odom added seven more during a 20-10 run that gave the Lakers a 66-48 lead.
It was 74-57 entering the fourth quarter, and the Lakers made it a blowout by outscoring the Spurs 14-3 to begin the final period and make it 88-60.
"I think they had an off-night," Jackson said. "I think they had some tired legs and I think that's what happens sometimes. You get to playing a lot of playoff games back to back, we're every other day in this situation. Kind of crept up on them, perhaps."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich agreed to some extent, saying: "I think being out of gas had somewhat of an effect, but not as much as the good play of the Lakers. We definitely have to have more people playing better to get this done. We thought our last game was our best shot to get something here and just dig down and do it after the seven games (against the Hornets)."
Jackson said he expected the Spurs to be a much different team Sunday night in Game 3.
"Oh, without a doubt," he said, perhaps mindful of the fact the Spurs were blown out in the first two games at New Orleans before turning that series around.
Bryant made it clear he's taking nothing for granted.
"You have to take care of business," he said. "Get to practice (Saturday) and work on things that we want to adjust or get better at and get ready to rock 'n roll on Sunday."
Jordan Farmar scored a career playoff high 14 points, Derek Fisher added 11 points, and Pau Gasol had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 54.9 percent to San Antonio's 34.5 percent and outrebounded the Spurs 44-36.
"I hope the best is yet to come," Odom said. "Right now, we have the mentality that we're striving for perfection, so every game that we play, we feel like we can play better. Tonight we played well, but we want to continue to get better."
Ginobili, who had started San Antonio's previous six postseason games, was used in a reserve role, as was the case most of the season when he won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award. It didn't make any difference.
"There was some thought of shutting him down for the game," Popovich said.
Ginobili has been hampered by an injured finger and a sprained ankle.
"I blame myself for these two losses," Ginobili said. "It should be 1-1. My mind is not fatigued. I need to step up. It will be different in Game 3."
|Kobe Bryant doesn't wait until the second half to make an impact and ends the night with 22 points. (AP)|
|San Antonio (0-2)||16||21||20||14||71|
|L.A. Lakers (2-0) «||21||25||28||27||101|
|SA:T. Parker 13 Pts
SA:T. Duncan 16 Reb
SA:T. Duncan 4 Ast
|LAL:K. Bryant 22 Pts
LAL:L. Odom 12 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 5 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles||San Antonio|
|T. Duncan, PF||32||6-14||0-4||16||4||2||12|
|T. Parker, PG||31||6-15||1-2||0||4||1||13|
|B. Bowen, SF||30||3-5||0-0||0||1||1||8|
|F. Oberto, C||22||2-7||0-0||2||1||2||4|
|M. Finley, SG||21||3-9||1-1||1||0||1||8|
|M. Ginobili, SG||23||2-8||3-3||2||2||2||7|
|J. Vaughn, PG||17||2-4||0-0||2||0||3||4|
|B. Barry, SG||16||2-4||0-0||0||3||3||5|
|I. Udoka, SF||16||2-8||0-0||5||3||1||6|
|R. Horry, PF||14||0-5||0-0||4||1||1||0|
|D. Stoudamire, PG||9||0-5||0-0||3||1||0||0|
|K. Thomas, PF||9||2-3||0-0||1||0||1||4|
|D. Johnson, SF||Did Not Play|
|M. Bonner, PF||Did Not Play|
|I. Mahinmi, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|K. Bryant, SG||36||10-17||1-1||5||5||0||22|
|L. Odom, PF||32||7-10||6-8||12||2||2||20|
|P. Gasol, C||29||4-9||2-2||7||3||3||10|
|D. Fisher, PG||23||4-5||3-3||1||3||2||11|
|V. Radmanovic, SF||18||2-3||0-0||2||0||2||4|
|S. Vujacic, SG||31||3-9||0-0||3||2||2||7|
|J. Farmar, PG||25||5-7||2-2||2||0||1||14|
|L. Walton, SF||22||2-7||2-2||5||4||1||7|
|R. Turiaf, PF||16||0-1||2-2||4||1||2||2|
|T. Ariza, SF||6||1-1||0-0||2||0||0||2|
|D. Mbenga, C||2||1-2||0-0||1||0||0||2|
|I. Newble, SF||Did Not Play|
|C. Mihm, C||Did Not Play|
|A. Bynum, C||Did Not Play|
|C. Karl, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|