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Spurs sink Lakers in Game 1

Posted: Monday, May 03, 2004

SAN ANTONIO The Los Angeles Lakers had a fourth-quarter plan: Get the ball inside to Shaquille O'Neal. The San Antonio Spurs answered with a better idea: Get the ball outside to Tim Duncan.

Duncan scored 12 of his 30 points in the final period, including three straight jumpers in a decisive 10-0 run, as the Spurs came back for an 88-78 win over the Lakers in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series Sunday.

Los Angeles, leading 65-62 after three, committed 10 turnovers and scored only 13 points in the fourth quarter, being held without a field goal for a six-minute span.

''We tried to force-feed Shaq, and they got four or five turnovers out of that that helped them get back into the game,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ''By and large, we were victims of our own inability to execute.''

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. After scoring 15 points in the first two periods, he had only one basket in the third.

He scored on a layup and a jumper in the opening minutes of the fourth, then made his three straight jumpers in the 10-0 run.

''There's not a whole lot of secrets about what we do and what they do,'' Duncan said. ''It's about going out there and imposing your will.''

San Antonio's 10-0 spurt ended with a breakaway dunk by Manu Ginobili off a pass from Duncan, putting the Spurs ahead 83-71. San Antonio outscored the Lakers 17-3 on fast-break points.

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

The Spurs also corralled Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter, limiting him to six points on 2-for-6 shooting after he scored 12 in the third to put the Lakers ahead.

''They did what they wanted to do and then late they had a big spurt in them and we didn't,'' said Bryant, who led the Lakers with 31 points. ''They wanted to get into transition and run it, and that's what they did.''

O'Neal scored 19 points and had a game-high 13 rebounds, but none in the fourth. Karl Malone scored 10, making only one basket in the final period.

''There were times I was in in the fourth quarter where I didn't do many positive things,'' Malone said. ''I didn't produce not today at all.''

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 a lead that grew to as many as seven points.

''We probably came out a little sloppy in the third quarter or not as aggressive as in the first half,'' Ginobili said. ''In the fourth quarter we realized our mistakes, we got more aggressive and they probably got a little tired.''

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.

''He's really matured in a point guard sort of way,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ''I'll make a call and he'll shake me off like a pitcher and go call something else. It tells me he's really feeling like it's his team.''

NEW ORLEANS The Heat and Hornets will have one more chance to shove, scream and squabble. The only first-round series in the NBA playoffs to last beyond six games will go the distance.

On a day when the New Orleans Hornets were the verbal and physical aggressors, defensive specialists P.J. Brown and George Lynch gave Baron Davis enough offensive help to force a deciding Game 7 with an 89-83 victory Sunday.

''It's going to be a war, just like every other game in this series. It might be a little more intense,'' said Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who led his team with 27 points.

''It's a great series two great teams going at it. That's what you watch the playoffs for, to see who's going to duke it out in Game 7.''

The series concludes Tuesday night in Miami.

The host team has won each game so far, and the Heat have a 15-game home unbeaten streak. In NBA history, the team with homecourt advantage has won its Game 7 on 70 of 85 occasions.

The mind games and brute force that have helped define this series picked up even more in Game 6, compounded by a foot injury to senior referee Joe Crawford that left only two referees on the floor for most of the game.

Robert Traylor was called for a technical when he flattened Eddie Jones on a shot attempt in the fourth quarter, then Traylor was thrown out of the game as he continued to shout at the Miami bench.

Davis also exchanged words with the Miami bench twice in the final quarter and had to be pulled away by teammates the second time. Lamar Odom, Lynch, Jamaal Magloire and Stacy Augmon also were called for technicals for their behavior toward opposing players.



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