L.A. Lakers 110, San Antonio 95
LOS ANGELES, May 9 (Ticker) -- Devean George
led a hot start and Kobe Bryant
fueled a dominant finish.
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George scored nine points in the first quarter and Bryant scored
14 of his 39 points in the fourth as the Los Angeles Lakers got
off to a quick start and rolled to a 110-95 victory over the
San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of their Western Conference
After severely spraining his left ankle in Game 1 and missing
Game 2, George was expected to come off the bench in a limited
capacity in this one. But he was inserted into the starting
lineup at the last minute and sparked Los Angeles, which pulled
within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
"He came into my office about 25 minutes before the game and
said he was OK to play," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I told
him if he warmed up all right, we would let him play."
"I had to block it out and play through it," George said.
"Hopefully it was a boost for everybody to see that I was just
trying to grind it out in an important game."
George opened the game with consecutive jumpers and buried a
three-pointer with 5:20 remaining as the Lakers jumped out to a 19-4
"It was Willis Reed-like," Bryant said. "Devean came in and
played extremely well, played with a lot of heart. The ankle was
bothering him. He sprained it really badly and for him to come
out and play with the intensity that he played with, I think it
is big for him to know he can do that in this type of
George buried a jumper with 3:09 remaining and Bryant made a
layup before Shaquille O'Neal
sank consecutive shots for a 29-12
cushion with 1:17 left to play in the first quarter.
Los Angeles closed the first half with a 14-6 run, led by 14 at
the break and never were threatened in the second half.
Bryant scored nine points in the third quarter and scored the
first 10 for the Lakers in the fourth. Los Angeles
opened the final period with a 12-2 run and had a 93-69 cushion
after Mark Madsen
made a layup off a pass from Bryant.
O'Neal fell just shy of a triple-double with 21 points, 16
rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers beat the Spurs for the
first time in seven tries this season.
"I was instructed to get everybody involved, so they threw it to
me in the post and we tried something different," he said.
"This was a must win game for us."
scored 14 points and George finished with 13 for
Los Angeles, which shot 51 percent (36-of-71) from the floor to
overcome 18 turnovers.
collected 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers
held a 46-36 advantage on the glass.
Bryant made 15-of-17 free throws as Los Angeles, which
complained about the officiating in Games 1 and 2, attempted
16 more free throws than San Antonio.
San Antonio's Tim Duncan
had 28 points and 11 assists but got
little help as the rest of the Spurs starters combined for just
18 points on 6-of-30 shooting.
"They jumped on us early," Duncan said. "They were good and we
got knocked on our heels. They were great tonight, they came out
of the gates with a lot of energy and emotion."
San Antonio bounced back from the disastrous first quarter and
pulled within 36-30 on a jumper by Stephen Jackson
, who scored
six of his nine points in the second quarter.
"I thought we did a pretty decent job of sustaining them after
they made that run," Duncan said. "We made one or two attempts
to get back in the game but never got over the hump."
Fisher answered with a three-pointer as the Lakers scored 14 of the
next 20 points despite playing without O'Neal, who was sitting
on the bench with his third foul. The Lakers made 9-of-11 free
throws in the final 4:47 to take a 50-36 lead at the half.