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Malone has triple-double

11/29/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Karl Malone is 40, and still going strong.

How strong?

Ask Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Malone became the first player to get a triple-double at age 40
despite sitting out the fourth quarter, and Devean George had a
season-high 19 points Friday night as the Los Angeles Lakers routed
the defending NBA champion Spurs 103-87.

In his first triple-double since the spring of 1999 and the
fourth of his 19-year NBA career, Malone had 10 points, 11 rebounds
and 10 assists in 26 minutes.

He left the game for good with 2:32 to play in the third quarter
and the Lakers leading 78-48.

Before leaving, he also did a fine defensive job on Duncan, a
two-time MVP who had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"It means a little bit of something -- my first one here,
obviously," Malone said of his triple-double. "Hopefully I'll
have some more this year, too.

"To get one at any time in your career, that's special. To get
one at 40 is a little special. (But) the most important thing is a
win."

Regarding his defensive work on Duncan, Malone said: "You're
not going to stop guys. That's not your intention. You just go out
there and try to make him work for everything he gets."

The Lakers won decisively despite an unimpressive game
statistically by Shaquille O'Neal.

O'Neal, who sat out the previous two games because of a strained
muscle in his right calf, had seven points, eight rebounds, two
assists and two blocked shots in 25 minutes.

He came out with 3:56 remaining in the third period.

O'Neal appeared rusty, didn't make a field goal until early in
the third quarter and wound up shooting 2-of-6 from the floor and
3-of-9 from the foul line.

It hardly mattered.

"The team played an excellent game tonight," O'Neal said. "We
did what we're supposed to do -- stay dominant and hungry."

The game was the first between the teams at Staples Center since
May 15, when the Spurs won 110-82 in the sixth game of the Western
Conference semifinals to eliminate the Lakers from the playoffs.

The Lakers had won the previous three NBA titles.

The win was the fifth straight and eighth in nine games for the
Lakers (13-3) and extended their regular-season home winning streak
to 24, including nine this season, to tie the Los Angeles franchise
record.

The Lakers can eclipse the standard on Sunday night against the
Indiana Pacers, whose 14-2 record is the NBA's best.

"I don't know if we're that good or they were just that bad
tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They missed a lot of
shots that changed the dynamic of the game."

Kobe Bryant and Gary Payton each scored 17 points for the
Lakers, who rested their starters in the fourth quarter for the
second straight game.

It was 84-55 entering the final period. At that stage, the
Lakers were shooting 56.9 percent and the Spurs 31.3 percent.

San Antonio outscored the Lakers 32-19 in the fourth quarter to
narrow the final margin to 16 points.

"They beat us in every facet of the game," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said. "They're hell on wheels right now and I think
that'll just continue. There's no reason why that should stop."

Manu Ginobili scored 13 points for San Antonio (9-7), which lost
for just the third time in nine games. Tony Parker added 12 points
and Devin Brown had a career-high 10 for the Spurs.

O'Neal got his first field goal on a dunk with 9:52 left in the
third quarter, giving the Lakers a 53-38 lead.

It was 58-44 when George made a 3-pointer to trigger a 14-0 run
that gave the Lakers a 28-point lead.

O'Neal scored only two points in 17 first-half minutes and
Bryant had just eight points, but the Lakers led 47-34 at the
intermission.

Game notes
The Pacers will bring an eight-game winning streak into
Sunday night's game. With a 7-0 mark, they're the only NBA team
with a perfect road record this season. ... San Antonio's Robert
Horry, who played for the Lakers the past 6{ seasons, was honored
before the game. A key member of three championship teams in Los
Angeles, he was presented with a framed version of the No. 5 gold
jersey he wore and received a standing ovation from the Staples
Center crowd of 18,997. ... Horry went scoreless in nine minutes.
... The Lakers beat the Spurs 120-117 in double overtime at the SBC
Center on Nov. 6, but San Antonio played without Duncan and Parker,
who were sidelined with sprained left ankles. Ginobili scored a
career-high 33 points in that game. ... The Lakers and Spurs meet
again Wednesday night in San Antonio. ... The Spurs, 2-5 on the
road, play at Golden State on Saturday night before returning to
Staples Center to face the Clippers on Monday night.