The Los Angeles Lakers brushed aside NBA leaders San Antonio 99-83 to record their seventh consecutive win on Sunday and bring the Spurs’ hot home streak to a halt.
The Pacific-division leading Lakers still trail the Spurs by six and a half games in the Western Conference, but ended San Antonio’s record home winning streak at 22 games.
Los Angeles closed out the final 8:30 of the first quarter on a 26-5 run and padded their lead in the second, going in 65-37 up at halftime.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 26 points and Pau Gasol scored 21. Tony Parker was the only Spurs starter to score in double digits with 14 points.
“We’re playing well and it’s kind of important to keep that going,” said Bryant. “Today was a good test to see how much we’ve improved since the All-Star break. We passed today.”
The Spurs shot a lowly 36 percent from the field and the starters scored just 29 points combined.
“That was an easy win for them. There was no game,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who scored just six points in over 23 minutes of action.
“Nobody expects to be losing by more than 20 in the first quarter. They were making every shot, and they played more angry. We were waiting to see what was going to happen, and they came to get it.”
Despite a large lead, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson sent his starters back into the game in the fourth quarter to display his displeasure with the lack of focus displayed by his reserves.
“I didn’t like the way our bench was playing. They just didn’t have a rhythm out there and they were settling for outside shots. They were just out of focus a little bit,” said Jackson.
“They understand. It (the lead) got under 20 points and the foul situation was in their favour. You just have to be careful in this game. It’s a game of extremes.”