Bryant, Lakers blitz Spurs in second halfMay 22, 2008 - 5:19 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves in uncharted territory - on the verge of being blown out in their own building. When it was over, they were back in a very familiar position.
Kobe Bryant scored 25 of his 27 points in the second half as the Lakers remained unbeaten at home in the postseason following an 89-85 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday.
Pau Gasol added 19 points and seven rebounds for the Los Angeles, which moved to 7-0 at Staples Center thus far.
"The way we just kept battling, just gave us a chance and put us in a position to win the game," Gasol said.
Both teams will have little time to relax with Game Two slated for here Friday.
"We got to dig deep down, forget about this and figure out a way to come back just as aggressively as we did the first three quarters," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
If history means anything, Los Angeles should be in good shape under coach Phil Jackson, who is 40-0 when winning Game One of a playoff series. Of course, he can attribute much of that success to his superstar players.
On this night, the star performer was Bryant, who went scoreless in first quarter and managed just two points on three attempts by the break but helped the Lakers turn it on in time.
"Kobe was doing his trust-his-teammates thing in the first half," Popovich said. "In the second half, he went to work."
"I just tried to manage the flow of the game," Bryant said. "I can get (my shot off) any time and, in the second half, I did that."
Trailing by as many as 20 in the third quarter, Los Angeles stormed back in the fourth. It used a 10-0 run midway through the quarter to take the lead for good.
Lamar Odom's layup tied it at 81-81, and Bryant followed with a pair of free throws and a jumper to give his team a four-point lead with 2:17 left.
The Spurs would even it back up at 85-85 on Tim Duncan's putback, before Bryant nailed a short jumper in the lane with 23 seconds remaining for the two-point cushion - a lead the Lakers would not relinquish.
Manu Ginobili missed a 3-pointer on the other end of the floor with under 10 seconds left as the weary Spurs blew a chance to grab an important road victory.
"Obviously, we were up 20 and we hoped to put that one away and put them on their heels, but we didn't," Duncan said.
Following a series-clinching win over New Orleans on Monday, the Spurs encountered travel troubles en route to Los Angeles, delaying their arrival until mid-Tuesday. As a result, they didn't practice, instead focusing on resting up for the quick turnaround.
"No one gives any excuse, we were in pretty good shape and had a good lead," Spurs guard Tony Parker said. "We're not going to try to think we were tired or stuff like that.
"We had a great chance to win the game and we just didn't play well enough in the fourth quarter."
Duncan finished with 30 points and 18 rebounds and Parker had 18, 10 and six assists for San Antonio, which opened the third quarter on a 15-2 run to go ahead by 20 points and held Los Angeles scoreless for first four minutes of that period.
The Lakers' poor play drew boos from the Staples Center crowd. But the jeers didn't last long, as Los Angeles followed with a 14-0 spurt that got it to within 65-59.
"We just kept playing the game," Lakers guard Derek Fisher said. "There is no script to an NBA basketball game."
SAN ANTONIO 85
LA LAKERS 89 FINAL
May 21 11:51 PM
SAN ANTONIO 72
LA LAKERS 65 END, 3RD QTR
May 21 11:07 PM
SAN ANTONIO 51
LA LAKERS 43 HALFTIME
May 21 10:18 PM
SAN ANTONIO 27
LA LAKERS 24 END, 1ST QTR
May 21 9:42 PM
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