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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 12th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (51-13) at San Antonio Spurs (43-20), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs will wrap up a four-game homestand Thursday against the Western Conference-powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs have won the first three tests of the residency and improved to 23-8 as the host with Tuesday's 100-86 victory over the surging Charlotte Bobcats. Tony Parker and Roger Mason had 21 points apiece to help San Antonio end the Bobcats' franchise-record win streak at six games.

Tim Duncan posted 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Michael Finley chipped in 10 points for the second-seeded squad in the Western Conference, who lead the Southwest division by 2 1/2 games over the Houston Rockets.

Los Angeles is currently the top seed in the West and will close out a three- game road trip Thursday in the Alamo City. The Lakers lost the opener to Portland before handing Houston a 102-96 setback Wednesday night behind Kobe Bryant's game-high 37 points.

Bryant scored 18 points in the final quarter to help LA snap Houston's 12-game winning streak at home. Bryant also had six assists and five rebounds, while Pau Gasol added 20 points and five rebounds for the Pacific Division-leading Lakers, who improved to 22-9 away from home this season.

The Lakers can clinch a playoff spot and the division title with a win or a Phoenix Suns loss to Cleveland tonight.

Lakers forward Lamar Odom missed Wednesday's win to serve a one-game suspension for leaving the bench during an altercation in Monday's loss in Portland. He is probable for Thursday.

The 2008-09 season series between San Antonio and Los Angeles is tied at a game apiece, but the Spurs have won 12 of the last 18 meetings. The Lakers have lost three straight after winning their last two trips to the Alamo City.

03/12 13:02:39 ET


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