Lakers hope to end slide, visit Spurs
(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs' big three has helped them notch a league high-tying 27 victories this season.
The Los Angeles Lakers currently have their own version of the big three, but that moniker represents more of a negative impact than a positive one.
The Spurs look to shake off a loss last time out and deal the wounded Lakers a fifth straight defeat in Wednesday night's meeting at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio currently holds a 2 1/2-game edge for first place in the Southwest Division and its win total matches the Los Angeles Clippers for the most in the NBA. The Spurs, though, are coming off just their second loss in 10 games as they were bested by the New Orleans Hornets 95-88 on Monday.
San Antonio's core of Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker combined for 50 points with Ginobili leading the way with 21. Parker added 16 and Duncan finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
It was right on par for the trio, who are averaging a combined 49.4 points per game this season, but the Spurs hit only 6-of-21 3-point attempts, got outrebounded by 10 and turned the ball over 19 times.
"We played a well-coached, aggressive, well-executing team," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "They did a great job at both ends of the court. They just whipped us."
The Lakers have done a decent job on the offensive side of things as of late, scoring at least 100 points in 17 of their last 19 games. However, they are giving up the fifth-most points per game at 101.5 and have yielded 111.8 points per game over a four-game losing streak.
Los Angeles had an early edge on Tuesday night versus the Houston Rockets, but got outscored by 12 points in the third quarter on the way to a 125-112 setback, the club's fifth in six games following a five-game winning streak.
The Lakers played without center Dwight Howard (right shoulder) as well as forwards Pau Gasol (concussion) and Jordan Hill (right hip) and all three remain out indefinitely.
Metta World Peace paced the Lakers with a season-high 24 points and Kobe Bryant added 20 points, seven assists and five boards in the setback.
Steve Nash notched his 10,000th assist in the loss, making him the fourth fastest to reach the mark in NBA history (1,162 games). He finished with 16 points and 10 assists.
Only John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd have reached 10,000 assists in fewer games than Nash.
"It's really hard to enjoy it right now," Nash said of reaching the milestone. "I don't want to discredit it, or not appreciate the company I share in this milestone, but right now it's the farthest thing from my mind. We're just trying to find a way to win one game."
Robert Sacre started for Howard and finished with 10 points, four blocks and three boards.
The Lakers have lost three in a row versus the Spurs, including an 84-82 setback at home on Nov. 13 in the first of three meetings this season.
The Lakers led by one with 19.9 seconds remaining before the Spurs' Danny Green hit a 3-pointer with 9.3 ticks to play to finish off a game-ending 5-0 run for San Antonio.
Parker had 19 points and seven assists, Duncan added 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, while Green ended with 11 points.
Bryant led all scorers with 28 points, adding eight assists.
01/09 10:40:43 ET