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article imageNBA: Lakers top Spurs, Bynum injures knee

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 13, 2011 in Sports
Los Angeles - With the last day of the regular season a day away, the Los Angeles Lakers and their five-game losing streak hosted the number-one seed San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night, eventually pulling away late in the fourth quarter for a 102-93 win.
At the beginning of the season, the schedule showed this game could possibly have major implications for the Western Conference playoff races. As recently as two weeks ago, with the Spurs on a six-game losing streak and the Lakers having won 17 of 18 since the All-Star break, it looked as if Tuesday’s game would determine the number one seed in the West.
The Spurs then righted their listing ship to go on a four-game win streak entering the Lakers game. Coupled with the Lakers five-game losing streak, San Antonio was able to lock up that number one seed last week, and four of the five members of its current starting act were afforded some rest time, watching the game from the bench.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Antonio McDyess were all given the night off by head coach Gregg Popovich, a move solidifying the coach’s repeated comments that the team’s health heading into the playoffs was more important than the league’s best record.
As such, the Spurs’ message to the Lakers was that the game was theirs, but they would first have to earn it. With bench and deep bench players seeing action throughout the entire game, San Antonio gave the Lakers regular starters a handful, but not before it looked early on like a Los Angeles rout.
Los Angeles went on an 18-5 run in the first half, and enjoyed a ten-point lead just minutes before intermission, but the Spurs finished out the second quarter on a 16-6 run to tie the game at 45.
A scary moment occurred near the midway point of the second quarter for the Lakers when Andrew Bynum went down with a hyperextended right kneee. He did not return to the game, and could miss two games, according to the Lakers head coach, Phil Jackson.
Considering much of the Spurs bench were starters in the game, the remains of the bench outscored the Lakers bench, 17-4, in the first half to help pace the team.
In the second half, San Antonio was able to match the Lakers’ intensity, staying in the contest and tying the game at 83 on a Matt Bonner trey with less than six minutes left in the game.
After that, the Lakers slowly pulled away, outscoring the Spurs 19-10 for the rest of the game
George Hill, starting in place of Tony Parker, said after the game: “I think we showed the character, the heart that we have and that we're a pretty deep team,” reports.
The loss gave San Antonio a 61-20 record, tying them with Chicago for best record in the league, with one game remaining in the regular season for each. Should they both win their last game, a coin toss would determine home court advantage for a finals match-up, provided they each advance that far.
More about western conference, NBA, San antonio spurs, Los angeles lakers, regular season
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