San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) - With the Los Angeles Lakers saddled without their top player, the San Antonio Spurs drew first blood in their opening- round playoff series with vintage performances from their three best.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for 53 points and the Spurs pulled away in the second half to record a 91-79 victory over the Lakers in Game 1 of a marquee Western Conference quarterfinal matchup from the AT&T Center.
Duncan notched his 139th career playoff double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, with Parker adding 18 points and eight assists while coming up with three steals. Ginobili, sidelined by a strained hamstring down the stretch of the regular season, showed little discomfort in putting up 18 points off the bench while connecting on 3-of-5 shots from 3-point range.
The seventh-seeded Lakers closed out the schedule with eight victories in nine games, including a 91-86 triumph over the Spurs in Los Angeles last Sunday. And despite the return of point guard Steve Nash from an eight-game absence, Los Angeles couldn't overcome Kobe Bryant's unavailability caused by a torn Achilles the two-time scoring champion suffered in the season's third-to-last contest.
Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol tried their best to carry the load for Los Angeles, with Howard amassing 20 points and 15 rebounds and Gasol turning in a 16-point, 16-rebound, six-assist effort.
Nash finished with 16 points in 29 minutes, but the Lakers were plagued by 18 turnovers and a 3-of-15 showing from beyond the arc.