Originally created 05/16/03

Spurs eliminate Lakers



LOS ANGELES -- The three-year championship reign of the Los Angeles Lakers came to a decisive end Thursday night.

Two-time MVP Tim Duncan had 37 points and 16 rebounds, and Tony Parker added 27 points as the San Antonio Spurs overpowered the tired, beat-up Lakers 110-82 to win the Western Conference semifinal series 4-2.

Thus, the Lakers won't join the Boston Celtics as the only NBA teams to win more than three straight championships. The Celtics won eight straight from 1959-66.

The Lakers had won 13 straight playoff series under coach Phil Jackson, and were 4-0 under Jackson when facing elimination.

But in this one, they were out of contention by midway through the fourth quarter.

The last team to eliminate the Lakers from the playoffs was San Antonio, which swept them in the 1999 conference semifinals en route to its only championship. The Lakers hired Jackson shortly thereafter.

Jackson-coached teams had won a record 25 consecutive playoff series dating back to 1996, and his nine titles are tied for the most in NBA history with former Boston coach Red Auerbach.

Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers with 31 points and 10 rebounds. He was removed with 4:34 remaining and the Spurs leading 98-76.

Kobe Bryant added 20 points for the Lakers and was teary-eyed when it ended.

"We have a million and one excuses we can go to, but the fact is we're not going to make any. They played better than us in this series," Bryant said.