No Kobe Bryant, no Steve Nash and a matchup against the San Antonio Spurs put the Los Angeles Lakers' playoff hopes on shaky ground, but the diminished group got the job done and pushed its way to the brink of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
With neither the Lakers nor the Spurs putting together a solid offensive game at any point throughout, this one turned into a defensive struggle.
Who would have predicted that one?
Pau Gasol couldn't buy a bucket in the first half, and everybody but Dwight Howard and Steve Blake was playing some incredibly inefficient basketball.
Just hearing that seems like it would be an utter disaster for the Lakers, but Blake came out and had one of the best games of his career.
With his three-pointers falling like hail in the first half, Los Angeles was able to hang around with San Antonio and even grab the lead, eventually settling for a halftime tie.
The two teams traded runs in the third quarter, with Los Angeles getting up by six at one point, then San Antonio storming back to tie it up and go back and forth the rest of the way through.
Los Angeles leaned heavily on Antawn Jamison, Metta World Peace and the struggling Pau Gasol for scoring in the fourth quarter, and somehow that was the right decision.
The Lakers picked up 30 points in the fourth after scoring just 61 in the first three to come away with a huge 91-86 win over the Spurs.