Rapid Reaction: Spurs 120, Lakers 89
April, 26, 2013
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- At the very least, tip your hat to Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris.
The Los Angeles Lakers had no business beating the San Antonio Spurs on Friday with no Kobe Bryant, no Steve Nash and no Steve Blake in the lineup.
Despite Goudelock's MVP campaign in the D-League, they had no business having as much faith in a guy who spent all season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to start a playoff game against the team that won the second-most games in the West this season.
And even though Morris started 17 games this season and continued to stay in the gym late even when his minutes dwindled the last two months, there was no real evidence that putting the ball in his hands for a crucial playoff game could work.
But you couldn't peg this one on the backcourt. In fact, Goudelock tied Tony Parker with 20 points and Darius Morris scored 24 to go along with six assists.
OK, enough about the silver lining.
Friday wasn't the official death knell for this (literally) painful Lakers season as L.A. doesn't go fishing until the Spurs have won four games, but no team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit and this depleted Lakers squad certainly isn't going to be the first.
The 31-point blowout in Game 3 was the worst home playoff loss in franchise history, beating out Game 2 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals when Portland won by 29.
In a way, it seemed fitting.
In a season where everything that could go wrong seemingly did -- from a coaching change, to rampant injuries, slow-forming chemistry and even the death of legendary owner Dr. Jerry Buss -- why wouldn't a record like that be attached to this team?
How it happened: A whole lot of Tim Duncan (26 points on 12-for-16 shooting), some stingy Spurs defense (L.A. shot just 43.2 percent and 4-for-20 from 3) and too much depth from the guys in black and silver against the guys who are black and blue with injuries.
What it means: The offseason questions will begin sooner than a lot of us expected. Is Mike D'Antoni truly safe, or will those "We want Phil!" chants we heard on Friday actually come to fruition? Who gets waived via the amnesty clause -- Kobe? Pau Gasol? Blake? Metta World Peace? Anybody? Will Dwight Howard re-sign? Will Nash and Bryant be able to come back healthy for their 18th seasons?
Hits: Gasol had his third triple-double in his last six games with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Morris and Goudelock (see above).
Dwight Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 7-for-15 from the free throw line.
Misses: After 31 points combined in his last two regular-season games, Antawn Jamison has just 19 points combined in the playoffs.
Stat of the game: The Spurs bench scored 46 points. The Lakers' bench scored nine.
Up next: Game 4 is Sunday at 4 p.m. PT. There's a chance Nash will be back, but you get the feeling that chance would be better if L.A. had won Friday.