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(Sunday, April 28th)
Final Score: San Antonio 103, LA Lakers 82
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs ended the Los Angeles Lakers' drama-filled season in sweeping fashion.
Tony Parker had 23 points and the Spurs dominated the Lakers, 103-82, on Sunday to sweep their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
The Lakers had never been swept in a first-round series since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams during the 1983-84 season. Los Angeles was swept just once previously in an opening-round playoff series in franchise history (1967, 0-3 to San Francisco).
It was a disappointing end to a season that started with so much hope for the Lakers, who acquired All-Stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in the offseason. After an 0-8 preseason record and a 1-4 start to the regular season, head coach Mike Brown was fired. Assistant Bernie Bickerstaff was named the interim coach until Mike D'Antoni took over as the full-time head coach.
Los Angeles made a late push to make the playoffs but lost Kobe Bryant (torn Achilles tendon) in the process. The Lakers were plagued by injuries in this series, and played Sunday's game without the services of Metta World Peace (left knee), Nash (hamstring), Steve Blake (hamstring) and Jodie Meeks (ankle).
"Like a nightmare," Howard said on this season. "It's like a bad dream and we just couldn't wake up from it. That's what it felt like."
The second-seeded Spurs, who handed the Lakers their earliest playoff exit since 2007, will either face Denver or Golden State in the next round.
"Obviously, it wasn't a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "What I was pleased about our team is the way we focused every night."
San Antonio started the game on a 13-4 run and never looked back. Los Angeles actually cut the gap to two, 17-15, but the Spurs ended the first quarter on a 9-5 spurt for a 26-20 lead.
The visitors pulled away in the second stanza, outscoring the Lakers by a 26-14 margin. Holding a 30-24 edge with 9:46 left until half, Gary Neal went on an 8-0 personal run to give the Spurs a 38-24 advantage.
San Antonio went on a 7-0 spurt moments later to build a 47-29 lead. It was a 52-34 game at the break.
The Lakers fell behind by too much to put together any kind of rally in the second half.
Howard had seven points and eight rebounds when he received his second technical foul with 9:51 left in the third quarter. Shortly after Howard was ejected, Bryant made a courtside appearance on crutches.
"It was kind of a year that was all upside-down, but I appreciate the effort to get us into the playoffs. We just didn't have it," D'Antoni said.
Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair each had 13 points for the Spurs, who went 20- of-23 from the foul line ... Pau Gasol and Andrew Goudelock tallied 16 and 14 points, respectively, for the Lakers, who turned the ball over 22 times ... No NBA team has ever rallied from an 0-3 playoff deficit ... When trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 0-8 all-time (0-7 Los Angeles, 0-1 Minneapolis) ... Spurs center Tiago Splitter (ankle) missed the game.
04/28 22:50:59 ET
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