Originally created 05/03/04

Spurs take Game 1 from Lakers



SAN ANTONIO -- Poise down the stretch came only from Tim Duncan and the defending NBA champions. Precision was the quality the Los Angeles Lakers lacked.

The San Antonio Spurs forced the Lakers into 10 fourth-quarter turnovers and held Los Angeles without a field goal for a six-minute span, using a late 10-0 run to cement an 88-78 victory Sunday in Game 1 of their second-round series.

The Lakers succeeded in getting Duncan out of the paint, but he still scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to help the Spurs overcome their 9-for-21 free throw shooting. The win was the Spurs' 16th straight since late March.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night.

Duncan drew double-teams almost every time he got the ball in the second half, causing him trouble both posting up and driving. So he moved his game outside, hitting three straight jumpers late in the fourth quarter as part of the 10-0 run.

The spurt ended with a dunk by Manu Ginobili off a pass from Duncan, putting the Spurs ahead 83-71.

San Antonio limited the Lakers to only 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Tony Parker added 20 points and nine assists for San Antonio, while Ginobili had 11.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 31 points, 18 of them in the second half. Shaquille O'Neal scored 19 points and had a game-high 13 rebounds, and Karl Malone scored 10.

After trailing 41-33 at the break, O'Neal and Bryant got their inside-outside game into a good rhythm as the Lakers opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run to take the lead. Bryant scored 12 in the quarter, and the Lakers led by as many as seven.

With Los Angeles neutralizing Duncan by double-teaming him on every touch, Parker took over the offensive burden by driving inside against slower defenders or pulling up for jumpers, finishing with 13 points in the third.

Both teams struggled to score in the game's opening minutes, together missing 14 of their first 20 shots

A short jump hook by O'Neal with 4:59 in the first gave the Lakers a 12-5 lead, but the Spurs finished the quarter with a 16-2 run.

Ginobili started the burst with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, and Parker capped it by dribbling around Bryant and Malone before heaving a 31-footer at the buzzer to make the score 21-14.

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to 27-23 early in the second on a driving layup by Derek Fisher, but the Lakers followed with another five-minute span without a field goal.

Bryant ended the drought with a 3-pointer to pull Los Angeles to 34-29, but Duncan answered with a pair of midrange jumpers and Devin Brown made a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to give San Antonio its biggest lead of the half, 41-31.

Notes: O'Neal's postseason free throw struggles continued as he missed 10 of 13 attempts. Duncan was only 4-for-11 on foul shots and committed seven turnovers. ... Gary Payton shot just 1-for-8. ... San Antonio's bench outscored the Lakers' reserves, 23-6. ... Bryant was hit with a technical foul early in the fourth after he went nose to nose with Rasho Nesterovic. ... The Lakers were scheduled to return home after the game and come back Tuesday. ... In the 80 conference semifinals over the past two decades, the winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the series 66 times.