The Los Angeles Lakers has one foot on the door of the 2008 NBA Finals as their game long brilliance was rewarded with a 93-91 win over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers dealt the Spurs their first home loss and more importantly a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Staples Center where the Spurs did not have much luck in the first two games of the series.
Team offense is relatively hard to stop as the Lakers got going with a 22-8 start as Coach Phil Jackson’s starting unit scored at will in the first 7 minutes of the game. Kobe Bryant found a scoring partner in Vladimir Radmanovic as both scored 12 & 11 points respectively in the first half with Radmanovic going 5 for 7 from the field. Luke Walton came off the bench to score 9 points as the Lakers took control of the half 53-47.
Brent Barry took the scoring cudgels from Manu Ginobli who was nowhere to be found in the first half. Barry buried two three pointers and atoned for Ginobli’s offensive diet who was 0 out 4 in 17 minutes of play. It was Tony Parker and Tim Duncan carrying the fight for the Spurs as the tandem combined for 29 first half points with Parker dishing out 5 assists and Duncan blocking 3 shots. Amazingly the Spurs stayed in the fight because of their 17 of 17 free throw shooting.
The Spurs caught up with the Lakers in the last 4:41 to equalize 65-65 on Tony Parker’s jumpshot. After that the Lakers once again starring Captain Kobe and Lamar Odom ended the quarter with a 12-5 run to lead 77-70. In the final quarter, it was Odom time as Lamar scattered 8 points to give the Lakers enough breathing room with a 93-86 lead with 56 seconds remaining. The Spurs then got back on Manu Ginobli’s only three pointer and Parker’s lay up to crawl to within 2 points 93-91.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Odom scored 16 points. The Spurs relied on Duncan’s 29 points, Parker’s 23 and surprise third scorer Brent Barry who sank 5 three pointers but missed the game winner with 2 seconds on the clock added 23 points. Nine out of Ten Lakers fielded in scored while four Spurs did not even contribute a single basket while the fifth one, Robert Horry only scored two points.
Next Stop, Staples Center for the right to the 2008 NBA title.