Spurs 95, Lakers 85

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SAN ANTONIO (AP)—Tony Parker gave the San Antonio Spurs a big cushion early, and when the Los Angeles Lakers made a move it was Parker who snuffed it out.

Parker scored eight of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, including a stunning crossover move against Devean George that ended the Lakers’ final rally in San Antonio’s 95-85 victory Wednesday night.

“I was in attack mode and just tried to get shots for me and my teammates,” said Parker, who also had five assists. “I just want to keep winning. I just want to focus on beating the Lakers.”

San Antonio holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which resumes in Los Angeles on Sunday.

“Now we have to go home and get it done in our comfort zone,” said Karl Malone, who scored 15 points for Los Angeles. “We have to fight our way back into this series.”

The Lakers, led by Shaquille O’Neal’s inside scoring, slashed a 16-point halftime deficit to 80-78 with more than six minutes left, and the momentum was clearly in their favor.

But Parker made a pair of free throws and a short floater over O’Neal after his crossover move on George to rebuild the lead to 88-80, and the Spurs’ defense then made some timely stops.

“It looked to me like we ran out of gas again tonight,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “We didn’t have enough left for the last four minutes.”

Parker, who had 16 points in the first quarter when San Antonio took the lead for good, shot 13-for-23. Tim Duncan finished with 24, but he didn’t score in the fourth quarter despite the Spurs dumping the ball into him on most of their early possessions.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Duncan’s lack of points down the stretch demonstrated his team’s versatility.

“For us it’s better to do it out of our team offense and see what happens,” he said. “Maybe its Tony’s night, or Manu’s or Hedo (Turkoglu)’s.”

Manu Ginobili added 15 points for San Antonio, which has won 17 straight games since late March.

O’Neal led all scorers with 32 points, while Kobe Bryant had 15 points on 7-for-17 shooting.

O’Neal said the Lakers have to figure out a way to contain Parker, who scored 20 points in Game 1. The 21-year-old point guard’s quickness has been too much for defenders Gary Payton and Derek Fisher to handle.

“We have to trap him and make him throw it to other guys,” said O’Neal, who was the game’s top rebounder with 15. “He’s pretty fast, and so far he’s been able to do whatever he wants to do.”

After trailing by double digits since early in the game, the Lakers made their move late in the third.

A layup by Parker with 3:11 put the Spurs ahead 73-60, but those would be San Antonio’s last points of the quarter. Los Angeles, getting two inside baskets by Malone, ended the period with an 8-0 run to trim the Spurs’ lead to five.

San Antonio missed its first five shots before Hedo Turkoglu made an 18-footer that tied the game at 2-2 and started a burst in which the Spurs made 10 of 11 shots. None of those baskets were by Duncan.

Parker hit a jumper for his first basket, and seconds later he stole the ball from Bryant and took it in for a layup.

After O’Neal tied the score at 6 with a tip-in, Parker drove inside and flipped a layup over O’Neal to begin an 18-4 run capped by a 3-pointer by Robert Horry that made it 24-10 with four minutes left in the first quarter.

Parker went 7-for-11 in the quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Spurs took a 33-16 lead.

O’Neal had 12 points in the second on 6-for-7 shooting, but Duncan canceled him out by scoring 11, seven of them at the line.

San Antonio built its lead to 47-26 on Parker’s only basket of the period, a short floater in the lane when no one picked him up.

The Lakers went on a run of their own, with Gary Payton’s only field goal of the half cutting the difference to 54-43. But Bruce Bowen then made a corner 3-pointer and Parker made passes to Ginobili for two layups, which gave theSpurs a 61-45 lead at the break.

Notes

O’Neal was 2-for-7 at the free-throw line, and he’s now 18-for 64 in seven playoff games. … Duncan went 10-for-14 at the line to improve to 31-for-55 in the postseason. … San Antonio outscored the Lakers on fast breaks 18-4. … Malone was hit with a technical after the third quarter buzzer for intentionally bumping Bowen. Malone had to be pulled away from theofficials by Rick Fox.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 LA Lakers
S. O'Neal S. O'Neal
15-21,  32 Pts
15 Rebs, 1 Assists
 San Antonio
T. Parker T. Parker
13-23,  30 Pts
2 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists