Sunday, April 28, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Spurs 103, Lakers 82
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- In a season that was defined by struggle from the very start -- an 0-8 exhibition record and a coaching dismissal after just five games -- maybe a four-game sweep was actually a merciful way for it to end.
If the injuries to Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks weren't enough to deal with over the last couple of weeks, the insult of back-to-back home losses by 20-plus points to a rival like San Antonio surely made everybody involved -- players, coaches, fans -- ready for it to end.
L.A. was overmatched as a No. 7 seed against the No. 2 Spurs to begin with, but nobody could have predicted it being this lopsided.
How it happened:Tony Parker (23 points) was brilliant again and San Antonio was relentless, leading by six after the first, 18 at halftime, 20 after three and 21 in the end.
Meanwhile, the Lakers' twin towers in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, whom they planned on going through all series, combined for just 23 points.
What it means: The Lakers' much ballyhooed 2012-13 campaign that started with so much promise is officially a disappointment. Not as much as the disaster it looked to be before they finished the season with a 28-12 run, but still a massive disappointment.
Hits:Andrew Goudelock scored 34 points in playoff starts in Games 3 and 4 after being in the D-League two weeks ago.
The Lakers fans showed a lot of class, giving Gasol a standing ovation when he checked out with 3:08 remaining, knowing that it could be his last appearance in purple and gold.
Misses: The Lakers handed out white towels to fans entering Staples Center for Game 4. Apparently nobody thought of all the "waving the white flag" or "throw in the towel" jokes that would ensue.
One of the lowest points of the Lakers' regular season was Howard getting ejected in Toronto and L.A. losing a lackluster Sunday afternoon game to fall to 17-23 on the season. Howard managed to trump it Sunday, getting sent to the showers just more than two minutes in to the second half after picking up his second technical foul.
Stat of the game: The Lakers had 21 turnovers, leading to 24 points for the Spurs. San Antonio had just eight, leading to four points for L.A.
Up next: An offseason full of question marks. Forgive me for copying and pasting the list I used here from Game 3, but they all still apply: Is Mike D'Antoni truly safe, or will those "We want Phil!" chants we heard in Games 3 and 4 actually come to fruition? Who gets waived via the amnesty clause -- Kobe? Gasol? Blake? World Peace? Anybody? Will Dwight Howard re-sign? Will Nash and Bryant be able to come back healthy for their 18th seasons? Does Gasol get traded if he's not amnestied?