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Spurs manhandle depleted Lakers

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Minutes after dealing the Los Angeles Lakers their worst home loss in playoff history, the San Antonio Spurs' locker room was about as raucous as you'd expect it to be.

Blaring music? No.

Streamers dropping from the ceilings? Nah.

Popped champagne? Spontaneous song? Hugs all around?

Of course not.

The Spurs, they've been here before.

The Lakers haven't.

San Antonio decimated a depleted Los Angeles lineup in a 120-89 win on Friday night at Staples Center that put the Spurs up 3-0 in their Western Conference playoff quarterfinal matchup.

In a season full of lowlights, these were the Lakers at their lowest, the who's who starting lineup of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash turned into the who's that twosome of Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock.

While Goudelock and Morris surprisingly starred, combining for 44 points, Los Angeles' hobbled lineup was no match for the savvy and experienced Spurs.

San Antonio built a nine-point lead less than seven minutes into the game, had a 30-18 advantage after one quarter and led by as many as 18 points in the first half as the Lakers had little to look toward on the bench.

The Spurs shot 61 percent from the field while holding Los Angeles to 43 percent and 4 of 20 from 3-point range. Despite no one with more than nine rebounds, San Antonio owned the glass 49-35, and the Spurs doled out 30 assists while winning all but one quarter by more than nine points.

"We made no adjustments," Lakers reserve forward Antawn Jamison said. "That's the one thing everybody knows in the playoffs. Game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter, half-to-half, you have to make adjustments. We made none."

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said, "Every coach thinks their team can play better -- that's what we do -- but whether the team you're playing is whole or banged up, which the Lakers are, the team that's on the court still wants to win. We have to bring the energy and professionalism. You don't have to think you're going to win because Kobe's not there."

In the absence of Bryant (Achilles'), Nash (hamstring), Steve Blake (hamstring) and Jodie Meeks (ankle), Los Angeles had just three bench players log major minutes, and the Spurs capitalized.

San Antonio's bench outscored the Lakers' reserves 46-9 as Los Angeles was forced to rely on a hastily assembled starting lineup.

While the Lakers' first unit was unexpectedly productive, the Spurs were rested and ready, with 10 players logging more than 14 minutes.

"We just took it possession-by-possession, trying to get defensive stops," San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard said. "We wanted to create the pace on offense, try to get open looks."

A day after his 37th birthday, Tim Duncan led the San Antonio effort with 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field and nine rebounds in just 31 minutes. Tony Parker had 20 points and seven assists but five turnovers, and DeJuan Blair added 13 points off the bench for San Antonio.

"Man, those guys hit some tough shots and we didn't do anything to stop them from being so comfortable," Goudelock said. "I mean, Tony Parker coming off wide open? Once those guys get in a rhythm, it's going to be tough."

Dwight Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds despite foul trouble to lead the Lakers. Morris had 24 points and six assists and Goudelock added 20 for Los Angeles.

"They did a good job of making sure we didn't get into the sets we wanted to run," Howard said. "They made it tough for our guards to make close entry passes."

NOTES: While the Lakers were without a bevy of players, San Antonio was without Boris Diaw (back) and the recently signed Tracy McGrady. ... San Antonio won the season series 2-1 after also taking two of three from Los Angeles last season. ... All three regular-season games between the two teams were decided by less than six points, with two-point and three-point Spurs win and a five-point Lakers home win on April 14. ... San Antonio thrived from 3-point range in its Game 2 win over the Lakers, hitting 7 of 14, including 3 of 4 by Manu Ginobili. ... The Spurs and Lakers have met in the playoffs 11 times, the most for San Antonio against another opponent. ... Los Angeles entered the game winners of 38 of 48 first-round series since moving from Minneapolis. ... The Lakers entered the game with an 81 percent playoff home winning percentage since moving to Staples Center. ... Both teams finished the regular season ranked in the top six in the NBA in scoring (San Antonio, fourth, 103 ppg; Los Angeles, sixth, 102.2 ppg), but the Spurs were also ranked in the top 10 in opposing scoring and the Lakers ranked 24th. ... Duncan was the career leader in playoff defensive rebounding with 1,691 entering the game. ... With the Spurs' Game 2 win, Duncan and Gregg Popovich became the winningest playoff player-coach combo with 119 victories.

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