Final - OT
  for this game

Finley hits game-winning shot as Spurs edge Lakers

Jan 29, 2007 - 2:42 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Michael Finley showed he still has something left in the tank.

Finley scored 17 points off the bench, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in overtime, to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a 96-94 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers.

All-Star Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili scored 21 points apiece and Tony Parker added 19 points for the Spurs, who avoided being swept in the season series by the Lakers for the first time since 1997-98 campaign.

"I was very proud of our team. I thought we persevered," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought our guys showed great character by just working through it, work through it, work through it and then we got it done. I thought that's what did it for us. That was the best part of the game for us."

The Lakers led, 92-91, in the extra session, but Duncan scored on a driving lefthanded layup over 19-year-old Andrew Bynum with 20 seconds remaining.

Superstar Kobe Bryant responded with his third pull-up jumper over defensive standout Bruce Bowen as Los Angeles regained a one-point edge 14 seconds later, setting the stage for Finley's heroics.

Duncan was double-teamed by Bynum and Lamar Odom but found the 34-year-old Finley wide open on the right wing for the game-winning shot in front of the Lakers' bench.

"It was just a normal shot for me," Finley said. "We got the ball to Tim and we wanted him to create for himself first of all and kick it out to a teammate, just like he always does. I was on the receiving end and I was fortunate to knock it down."

"That was just a fortuitous circumstance that he knocked down the shot," Popovich said. "It happens. It wins basketball games. Sometimes you just got to be lucky."

Los Angeles had a chance to tie or win, but San Antonio denied Bryant the ball, and Vladimir Radmanovic misfired from the arc as the buzzer sounded.

"On the last shot, we just tried to find the open man," Radmanovic said. "I was quite aways from the paint and I just couldn't get a (good) shot off."

"You let San Antonio hang around long enough, they can find a way to win it, and they showed us how to close," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

It was the worst shooting performance of the season for San Antonio, which shot just 33 percent (32-of-95) from the floor.

"We couldn't knock down shots," Finley said. "(Popovich) told us at halftime to pretty much stay with it, keep running on the defensive end and that our shots would eventually fall and we'll make a ballgame out of it. And that's what we did."

In regulation, San Antonio held an 80-77 advantage before Radmanovic nailed a 3-pointer to tie the contest with 27 seconds to play.

San Antonio came away empty-handed on its final possession, giving Bryant a chance to avoid OT. But Ginobili blocked his jumper, sending Los Angeles to its seventh overtime game.

The Lakers were outscored, 23-13, in the final period and led by as many as 10 points prior to things falling apart.

"You know what they're about," Bryant said. "They're champions. You know they are going to keep on playing. They're going to make a run. They're going to increase their intensity. And us as a young ballclub, we have to figure out how to sustain our intensity and even turn it up a notch."

Bryant scored 31 points and Odom collected 18 and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who have dropped consecutive home overtime losses. On Friday, they suffered a 106-97 OT loss to Charlotte.

Odom made 6-of-12 shots in his second contest after missing 21 games with a sprained knee. He also handed out six assists.

"I need to practice a little bit more," said Odom, who played 47 minutes. "I am still working on getting my legs under me."