Tony Parker could only shake his head at the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers, who probably packed more drama and turmoil into this season than the Spurs point guard has experienced in his entire career with steady San Antonio Spurs.
Parker is just grateful San Antonio Spurs sidestepped the drama and kept moving steadily into the 2nd round of the playoffs.
Parker scored 23 points, Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair added 13 apiece, and San Antonio eliminated the injury-plagued Lakers with a 103-82 victory in Game Four, completing an one-sided series with a 2nd straight blowout on the road.
San Antonio trailed for fewer than 5 combined minutes in the 4-game series, grinding out points and defensive stops with the steady professionalism of Coach Gregg Popovich’s best teams. The Lakers played the finale without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace and 2 key reserves, tamping down almost all of the playoff vibe.
”It was just a weird feeling,” Parker said. ”Obviously, I am satisfied we won, though it was just weird. They were missing a lot of guys, so we are just happy to go to the next round.”
Tim Duncan had 11 points and 6 rebounds for the 2nd-seeded San Antonio, who will face the winner of Denver’s series with Golden State in the 2nd round. They’ll get lots of rest after flattening the Lakers, who staggered through their first opening-round exit since 2007.
”Obviously, it was not a fair fight,” Popovich declared. ”When you’re a competitor, you want to compete on an even basis, and the Lakers were not able to do that. … Although it wasn’t a fair fight, we still want to win the series, and I’m glad we did. Our focus was great.”
San Antonio never trailed in the clincher, leading by 25 points in one more professional effort against the 7th-seeded Lakers, who provided their usual drama right down to their last gasp.
After Duncan led the Spurs’ blowout in Game 3, Parker took the lead in the clincher, scoring 15 points in the 1st half while taking advantage of the Lakers’ hastily assembled backcourt. Lakers’ top 4 guards are out with injuries, including backups Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks, and Parker was merciless against 3rd-stringers.
”This is an excellent start for us,” Duncan related. ”We like the pace we are at right now. We like the rhythm we are at right now, and how healthy we are right now. Hopefully it can stay that way.” Football scores
The Spurs had control over this series from the start: They posted 2 methodical victories at home before sending the Lakers to their biggest home playoff defeat in their long franchise history in Game 3, 120-89. The clincher was more of the same, with the Lakers unable to mount enough teamwork to challenge the smooth Spurs.
The Spurs have swept 3 of their last 4 playoff series, winning each game in the first two rounds last season before losing in 6 games to Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals. San Antonio is in the 2nd round of the postseason for the 4th time in 6 seasons since their last championship in 2007.