Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lakers Defense Too Much For Spurs

Kobe Bryant scored 22 points in 32 minutes, Pau Gasol added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists, and the Lakers beat the Spurs 99-85, avenging their one-point loss in their previous game on Jan. 14 in San Antonio.

This game is supposed to be a matchup of the Western Conference's best teams but it turned out to be a mismatch. The Lakers defense proved to be too much for the Spurs to overcome, holding San Antonio to 37.5 percent shooting from the field.

After a month of playing short-handed, the Los Angeles Lakers are back to full strength. Backup point guard Jordan Farmar returned after missing 18 games because of an injured left knee, and scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting including 2-of-3 from the 3-point range.

Luke Walton played in his third game after missing nine with an injured foot, and Lamar Odom (knee) and Sasha Vujacic (back spasms) were also sidelined for brief periods.

"We missed him a lot. He makes our second unit go, he's the motor," Bryant said of Farmar. "Now that he's back, everybody falls into their natural positions and we are back clicking on all cylinders."

"It [Jordan's return] helps us a lot. Jordan obviously has attributes -- the speed and the quickness. Those are things that we missed, that tempo change in our game, " Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Farmar entered the game late in the first quarter and played almost seven minutes in his first action since Dec. 19. He returned late in the third period and played another 10 1/2 minutes.

Andrew Bynum had 15 points, 11 rebounds, and four block shots. Reserve Trevor Ariza scored 17 points to match his season high. Odom contributed 6 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes.

Tony Parker had 19 points and six assists and Tim Duncan added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs (29-14), who lost for just the fourth time in 18 games. Neither played in the fourth quarter.


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