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Spurs 91, Lakers 79

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 91-79 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Duncan was 6 of 15 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line in 35 minutes.

The Lakers, who trailed most of the game, cut the lead to four in the third quarter when Pau Gasol's turnaround jumper made it 54-50 with 4:42 left in the quarter.

Manu Ginobili then scored the final eight points of the third quarter, including two 3-pointers, to put the Spurs up 70-57.

San Antonio's Matt Bonner pushed the lead to 16, the largest of the game, when he connected on a 3-pointer with four minutes left, making it 84-68.

Ginobili and Tony Parker both finished with 18 points for the Spurs. Bonner added 10 as San Antonio (1-0) rebounded from a three-game losing streak to end the season.

Dwight Howard led the Lakers with 20 points and 15 rebounds. In his return to the lineup, Steve Nash added 16 points and Steve Blake had 12. Gasol contributed 16 points and 16 rebounds.

The Lakers did not take advantage of their size inside like they did in their 91-86 win over the Spurs on April 14, outscoring the Spurs in the paint just 40-32 on Sunday.

Injured Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, on twitter during the game, seemed frustrated and posted "Post. Post. Post" in reference to Los Angeles getting the ball inside more.

The Spurs bench outscored the Lakers' reserves 40-10.

Game 2 of the best of seven series will be played Wednesday night in San Antonio.

NOTES: The Lakers and Spurs rank first and second in playoff victories the past 15 years. Los Angeles (133-81) and San Antonio (118-78) have met 11 times in playoff history, the most of any NBA teams, with the Lakers holding a 8-3 lead in the series. ... Nash returned to the starting lineup after missing the last eight games with injuries to his hip, hamstring and lower back. Asked if he was concerned about the 39-year-old Nash, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "He hadn't forgotten how to shoot." ... Los Angeles is the only team to have a winning record against the Spurs. The Lakers are 75-74 all time against the Spurs. ... Bad defense coupled with injuries to key players had the Spurs skidding into the playoffs, losing seven of their last 10 regular-season games.
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