Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers had a frustrating second half, losing to George Hill and the San Antonio Spurs, 97-82 (Photo: Ronald Martinez | Getty Images)

Poor Second Half In San Antonio Dooms Lakers, Who Lose Third Straight

The Lakers are 4-7 in their last 11 games in San Antonio.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs: L.A. Loses Again, 97-82

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) - Tony Parker scored 23 points, DeJuan Blair added 17 points and 15 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs turned up the defensive pressure in the second half to overpower the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, 97-82. Richard Jefferson added 15 points and seven rebounds, while George Hill chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds. San Antonio's double-digit thumping was even more impressive considering Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined to score just 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting. The Spurs have won 12 of 13 games overall.

Kobe Bryant was harassed into an 8-for-27 shooting night, as the Lakers made just 35.4 percent of their shots and 8-fo-23 three-pointers. Bryant scored 21 points, while Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum added 10 points apiece in Los Angeles' third straight setback. Both teams felt their way through the first period, but the Spurs reeled off the final seven points capped by Bonner's trey for a 27-18 edge. The Lakers rallied in the second quarter, tying the game at 38-38 on Odom's mid-range jumper, one of only three field goals for the forward on the night. Los Angeles surged in front, 44-42, at the half.

The entire second half belonged to the NBA's best team so far this season. San Antonio swallowed up the Lakers, thwarting any Bryant dribble penetration and holding Los Angeles to 38 second-half points. Jefferson's three-pointer with 10:40 left in the third quarter gave San Antonio the edge for good at 47-46. The Spurs took a 64-53 advantage on Parker's steal and coast-to-coast layup. Ginobili drained one of his two three-pointers in the quarter's closing seconds to open a 71-62 margin. The advantage never got lower than nine points during the fourth quarter.

San Antonio made 42.5 percent of its shots and just 9-of-32 three-pointers, but forced 16 turnovers and held a decided 42-28 advantage on points in the paint...Los Angeles shot 35.4 percent from the floor, including a 1-of-11 effort from reserve Shannon Brown.

For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs: (Very) Probable Starting Lineups & Injury Report

The Los Angeles Lakers, currently holding the third seed in the Western Conference, and the San Antonio Spurs, with an NBA-best 26-4 record, have had remarkably consistent starting lineups this season. They are the only two teams to have the same starting lineup for every game, and that doesn't figure to change tonight, in the 31st game of the season for both teams. He is a look at the projected starting lineups and injury reports for both teams for tonight's contest, at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Lakers

The Lakers assigned rookie Devin Ebanks to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League on Monday. Ebanks has averaged 2.9 points in 12 games this season, appearing in a total of 77 minutes. Andrew Bynum is listed as probable with right knee soreness, but is expected to play. Kobe is listed on the injury report with a sprained right pinkie finger, but the report mentions that he will play.

Spurs

  • Point Guard: Tony Parker
  • Shooting Guard: Manu Ginobili
  • Small Forward: Richard Jefferson
  • Power Forward: DeJuan Blair
  • Center: Tim Duncan

The only person listed on the injury report for San Antonio is James Anderson, the rookie from Oklahoma State who has been out since the seventh game of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot.

For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs: Bench Will Be Key For Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs resume their rivalry tonight, as the two teams face off at AT&T Center in San Antonio. They are the only two teams in the NBA this season to use the same starting lineup in every game. However, the Lakers have ridden their starters harder that the Spurs so far this season.

Tony Parker leads the Spurs averaging 33.2 minutes per game, and he is one of only three Spurs, joining Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson, to average over 30 minutes per contest. Tim Duncan, now 34, plays just 28.9 minutes per game, and is averaging a career-low 13.6 points per game this season. Last season, at 17.9 points per game, was the first time Duncan averaged less than 19 points per contest in his illustrious career.

The Spurs have had a player play 40 minutes just three times this season, all by Tony Parker. The Lakers, meanwhile, have had 23 such games, including 14 by Pau Gasol and six by Lamar Odom. Kobe Bryant has been well-rested this season, averaging just 33.2 minutes per game. Kobe has eclipsed the 40-minute mark just twice this season, both losses, including the Christmas Day debacle against Miami.

The Spurs bench has averaged 34.8 points per game this season, compared to 29.1 points per contest for the Lakers. The Lakers big three off the bench have been the Killer Bs: Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes, and Steve Blake. In the 29 games those three have played together, they have averaged 23.6 points on 44.9% shooting, including 41.3% from beyond the arc, and 86.9% free throws. However, in the last two games, both losses, the bench has struggled.

Brown, Barnes, and Blake combined for just 17 against Milwaukee and just 12 against the Heat, and over the last two games that trio has made just 11 of 35 field goals (31.4%), including just three of 15 three-pointers (20%). Blake in particular was held scoreless in each of the last two games, missing all seven of his field goals. Blake has not attempted a two-point field goal in four games, and has made just three of 17 three-pointers during that span.

A stronger effort from the Lakers bench is needed if they are to snap this two-game skid, against the team with the NBA's best record. When Lakers reserves outscore the opponent's reserves, they are 10-1 this season. Conversely, the Spurs are 16-1 when they win the bench scoring battle.

For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Look For Rebound Against NBA-Best Spurs In San Antonio

After two embarrassing losses at home, the Los Angeles Lakers return to the road trying to recapture their winning ways against the team with the best record in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs. The longtime rivals do battle tonight at AT&T Center, the first of four meeting this season between the two teams. Tonight's contest features the top two offenses in the league, even though the Lakers have not been playing that well of late.

The Spurs lead the league in offensive rating, averaging 112.9 points per 100 possessions, a shade above the Lakers, who average 112.3 points per 100 possessions. However, over their last nine games, the Lakers are averaging 105.0 points per 100 possessions, and have had an offensive rating under 100 four times, including each of the last two games, both losses. The Lakers have scored 100 points in just five of their last 16 contests.

The Lakers last two games were so rare in that it was only the third time in franchise history that the club has lost two straight home games by 16 or more points. The other two times it happened came in 1959, when the team played in Minneapolis. Tonight marks the first of back-to-back games, as the Lakers play in New Orleans on Wednesday night. The Lakers so far this season are 4-1 in the first game of back-to-back games, and 4-1 in the second game as well.

The Spurs had a 10-game winning streak snapped last Thursday in Orlando, but have an NBA-best 26-4 record. It is the best start in franchise history for the Spurs, who also had a 12-game winning streak earlier this season. The Spurs are 17-2 at home this season, having played the most home games in the league. The Lakers are 11-5 on the road this season, winning their last five contests away from home. They won their last game in San Antonio as well, defeating the Spurs 92-83 last March 24.

For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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