Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 1/19

Game 1: Saturday, January 19th
Game 2: Friday, January 25th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 20th
Game 4: Sunday, March 31st

Lakers 98

(28-9, 11-6 away)

Spurs 81


    12:00 PM ET, January 19, 2002

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 22 27 20 2998
    SA 24 21 18 1881

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 28 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    SA: T. Duncan 20 Pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Bryant scores 28; L.A. 2-1 during Shaq's suspension

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich thought he needed to remind his players of a simple rule.

    Kobe Bryant

    Kobe Bryant's time alone in the spotlight ended with Saturday's game ... Shaq will be back in the lineup Tuesday.

    "You have to play for 48 minutes," Popovich said. "We had two periods where we did that to start the game, but we didn't compete for 48 minutes."

    Kobe Bryant scored 17 of his 28 points in the second half to lead the Shaq-less Los Angeles Lakers past Popovich's San Antonio Spurs 98-81 Saturday.

    It was the teams' first game since last season's Western Conference finals, when the Lakers swept the Spurs in four games en route to their second straight NBA title.

    On Saturday, the Lakers broke open what had been a closely played contest by overwhelming the Spurs in the fourth quarter. They outscored the Spurs 29-18 and outrebounded them 12-4.

    San Antonio managed only 36 points in the second half. Their 81 points were a season low.

    Center David Robinson sat out the entire fourth quarter after scoring just four points on 1-of-8 shooting.

    "They started hot but then seemed to settle down in the second (period), right before the half," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They let us back into this one."

    Tim Duncan, who had 20 points and 15 rebounds, said he doesn't know why the Spurs have problems maintaining their intensity.

    "What we're doing is not good enough," Duncan said. "It's demoralizing in the sense that it breaks down any momentum you worked to build."

    Los Angeles went 2-1 during Shaquille O'Neal's three-game suspension for a fight against the Bulls last weekend. The Lakers' center can return Tuesday against Denver.

    Stanislav Medvedenko scored 12 points, and Derek Fisher 11 for the Lakers. Each Los Angeles player who saw action scored at least five points.

    Lakers forward Samaki Walker, who played for San Antonio last year, said he sees a major difference between the teams.

    "Over here they don't think about losing," said Walker, who signed with the Lakers as a free agent. "Even if Shaq doesn't play, no one talks about losing. We go out looking to win a game."

    Charles Smith, starting for the injured Tony Parker, led San Antonio with 21 points, while Steve Smith had 11, and Antonio Daniels 10.

    Los Angeles led 69-63 to start the fourth before Bryant and Medvedenko led the surge, combining for 13 points in the period.

    The Spurs opened the game by taking a 12-3 lead, but with Medvedenko scoring six points as a reserve, the Lakers closed to within 24-22 going into the second quarter.

    The Lakers took their first lead at 26-24 on Mark Madsen's layup. The teams traded baskets and leads until a 3-pointer by Robert Horry put Los Angeles up for good with about four minutes left in the first half.

    Game notes
    The Spurs' last win over the Lakers was a 93-89 overtime regular-season victory March 9, at the Staples Center. ... The teams play again Friday in Los Angeles. ... Lakers coach Phil Jackson tied his former coach with the Knicks, Red Holzman, for 13th on the career list with 696 victories. Jackson was a reserve on the 1973 Knicks teams that won the NBA title. ... San Antonio went 1-for-15 on 3-pointers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press