The San Antonio Spurs certainly made a statement Friday night, as they dominated the Los Angeles Lakers, 120-89, and handed L.A. its worst playoff loss at home in franchise history.
With Tim Duncan leading the way, the San Antonio Spurs easily defeated the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers squad and moved to 3-0 on the series.
On a masterful 12-of-16 shooting, Duncan executed his shots beautifully, scoring 26 points and performing in a manner in which no 37-year-old should be able to.
Duncan certainly set the pace, but he was not alone in his dominating execution. Tony Parker added 20 points and seven assists on the night, as the Spurs moved within one game of a first-round sweep.
Little was expected from the Lakers, who entered the game with a shortage of guards, though Andrew Goudelock—who was officially named D-League MVP prior to the contest—worked hard to keep his struggling squad within reach.
Pau Gasol contributed his fair share as well, and while the big man struggled to score, he left an impact with his rebounding and distributing.
However, the Spurs proved to be too much, and the veteran team bested their opponents from the start. An opening possession turnover from L.A. began what resulted in a tumultuous showing from the Lakers.
Though early fouls on Dwight Howard ensured that the Lakers never truly had a chance, they seemed doomed from the start, as the Spurs exploited the holes in their roster in every possible way.
The Lakers maintained a reasonable distance through the first half, but a powerful third quarter allowed for San Antonio to pull away and garner a sizable lead, something that the Lakers never recovered from.
Gregg Popovich made adjustments to ensure that even Goudelock could not deter the Spurs' effort, as the team cleanly fought its way to a blowout.
The Spurs' otherwise beautiful victory was tainted by an injury to starting big man Tiago Splitter, who finished the game with just five points and six rebounds.
But overall, it was all Spurs, all night, and the victory cast doubt on the possibility of a Hollywood ending for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013.
Things began as expected in Los Angeles.
Lakers' first possession? Turnover. TONIGHT IS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC.— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) April 27, 2013
All the Spurs have to do is have a decent game. Sad reflection on the Lakers? Sure, but it's mostly injury. Not much to say.— Alex D. (@DewNO) April 27, 2013
Even so, the Spurs started hotter than usual. Everything was going right.
We ave just witnessed the first oop dunk of the season for Tim Duncan ... and I can't remember seeing one in past 5 seasons— Mike Monroe (@Monroe_SA) April 27, 2013
LAL is shorthanded in the backcourt, but it's been Tim Duncan - not Tony Parker - hurting LAL early, hitting 3 straight FG's.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 27, 2013
The Lakers' start was slow, but it was strong compared to the rest of the first quarter.
Since LAL opened the game up 6-3, San Antonio has used a 14-2 run to claim a 17-8 lead, forcing D'Antoni's time out.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 27, 2013
Soon, it was evident that the Lakers were going to have a tough time.
Shockingly, Lakers -- starting never-before-used lineup -- look totally out of sync on offense— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 27, 2013
RT @thenolookpass: This Laker defense is missing something. Defense.— Paul Garcia PS (@24writer) April 27, 2013
The game wasn't decided solely based on L.A.'s struggles, however. San Antonio still performed at a high level.
Spurs lead Lakers 30-18 after 1Q. Spurs shooting 61%, Lakers at 34.8% and had to get hot to get there. It's a simple game sometimes.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 27, 2013
But the Lakers truly looked lost on the court.
Alley-oops off rims, drop passes off faces, blind passes into the backcourt...the Lakers are on their game tonight.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) April 27, 2013
Lakers are shooting 34 percent. That feels really generous.— Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) April 27, 2013
Spurs shooting better from the field (60.7%) than Lakers are from foul line (50)— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 27, 2013
Even Los Angeles' crowd began to lose patience.
Boos at Staples Center. It's probably a good thing Kobe Bryant is not watching this game from the bench.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) April 27, 2013
All the while, Tony Parker continued to show what he could do.
Parker is killing it tonight. He should be, but still.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) April 27, 2013
Then, CBS' Zach Harper offered advice, and the Lakers were able to find the basket.
Just CHUCK it. Nothing to lose.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) April 27, 2013
However, even a Metta World Peace (unintentional) elbow could not prevent the first half from being dominated by the Spurs.
San Antonio finally started missing a few shots, but still hit 59% of its attempts in the 1st half. They led by as many as 18 (11 at half).— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 27, 2013
The silver lining: Andrew Goudelock had a night to remember.
Goudelock just set his career-high in points (16)— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 27, 2013
Though the night was one that the rest of the team would like to forget.
"Dwyane Wade is day-to-day." "Well, the Lakers are out for the season."— Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) April 27, 2013
Meanwhile, San Antonio continued its masterful execution down the stretch, allowing L.A. no chance of a comeback.
San Antonio is methodically dominating... I prefer it over the outright offensive explosions of last year.— Matthew R Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) April 27, 2013
Parker, Ginobili and Duncan on the court at the same time also. Pop is mean.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) April 27, 2013
A late injury gave Spurs fans a reason to worry...
RT @spurs: Injury report: Tiago Splitter suffered a sprained left ankle. He will not return to tonight's game.— Paul Garcia PS (@24writer) April 27, 2013
...though the Lakers fanbase certainly drew the short end of the stick.
"We Want Phil" chants here at Staples Center.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) April 27, 2013
And in the end, the Spurs walked away with the lopsided victory.
Did you think it would be this soon that we saw Cory Joseph getting subbed out for garbage time in the playoffs?— Andrew A. McNeill (@drew_48moh) April 27, 2013
The Lakers were doomed from the start, but Tim Duncan and Tony Parker ensured that the Spurs would finish Game 3 on top.
Now, leading 3-0, the Spurs are in perfect position to move on to the subsequent round and have rediscovered their mojo in an attempt to piece together another title run.