This was the final time that two first ballot hall of famers, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant, would suit up against each other. The Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili once again, but it was expected that they wouldn't be needed as badly as they were against the Clippers last night.
The Lakers got off to a quick start, but the Spurs weren't going to let themselves get into a hole early this time. It was like night and day in relation to the previous game's brick-fest. Tony Parker took control in the first quarter, getting it done from the mid-range and in the paint, and had seven of SA's first 13 points.
The Lakers kept themselves in the game thanks to Jordan Clarkson who went 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the first, and the two squads traded leads for most of the quarter. Both teams shot well above 50%, and the Spurs were able to gain the edge before the first quarter buzzer, and had a 33-30 lead.
The Spurs quickly extended the lead to eight to open up the second, but the Lakers fired back. It was a fast-paced half and it seemed like the ball was going in the basket every time I looked up, on both sides of the floor. The Spurs began to pull away towards the end of the quarter, and went into the half with a 60-49 lead. Tony Parker led all scorers with 13.
The lead extended to 15, but Kobe and the Lakers refused to go away. Bryant had nine points in the quarter and the fans rallied behind him, but the Spurs did a good job maintaining, for the most part, a double digit lead. SA had a 10 point lead going into the final quarter, 85-75.
The Spurs continued to shoot well while the Lakers cooled off, and SA kept a comfortable cushion through the first half of the fourth quarter.
The Lakers started to gain some momentum as we approached the final minutes of the game and ended up cutting the Spurs lead to just four with four minutes to go. Patty Mills nailed a triple with a minute to go to give the Spurs a seven point lead, and that essentially sealed the game.
The Spur send up holding on, and win 119-113.