Bowen, whose defensive skills keep him in the NBA, scored a
career-high 24 points and helped limit Bryant to 17 as the San
Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-83 on Tuesday night.
Afterward, Bowen just shrugged.
"I know it's a cliche, but it was just another game," said
Bowen, ignoring the edgy rivalry that has grown between the teams
that have won five of the last six NBA titles. "If it was for the
championship, then I'd be talking about how great it is."
San Antonio matched its franchise record by making 15
The Spurs moved the ball well against the Lakers' defense, both
in transition and in their set offense. San Antonio had 30 assists,
10 of them by Tony Parker, on its 40 baskets in the game.
"Everybody tries to make an effort to find guys open," said
Parker, who scored only two points in 29 minutes. "Kobe was
staying in the lane, so Bruce was wide open. I tried to find him
because he was hot tonight."
Bryant scored at least 40 points in the Lakers' three previous
games, but Bowen held him to 12 below his average on 5-for-16
"Tonight was a bit of a rude awakening," said Los Angeles
coach Rudy Tomjanovich, whose team slipped to 16-13. "We tried our
first option offensively and they were just too good defensively."
Bryant pointed at the Lakers' ineffective defense.
"Every time we tried to get back in it, they hit another big
shot," Bryant said. "They just move the ball so well and space
you out. They play with such a purpose it's tough to keep up."
Slava Medvedenko scored 16 points in the fourth quarter for Los
Bowen made back-to-back 3-pointers in the game's opening minutes
to give the Spurs a 12-6 lead. San Antonio made six of its 10
3-point attempts in the quarter, which ended with the Spurs ahead
By the time Bryant hit a 4-footer with 2:45 left in the half,
the Lakers trailed by 27 points.
Los Angeles shot 4-for-22 (18 percent) in the second quarter,
while the Spurs went 10-for-19 (53 percent) in the period and 57.5
percent in the half.
San Antonio's shooting cooled in the second half, but the Lakers
couldn't get closer than 20 until the final minutes.<
^Notes:@Bowen's previous high was 22 points, set Nov. 13 at Atlanta.
... The Lakers' season low for a first half is 28 in a loss at Utah
on Nov. 3. ... San Antonio is now 6-1 against Pacific Division
opponents, the only loss coming Sunday in Sacramento. ... Los
Angeles plays in Dallas on Wednesday night.