Spurs hold off Bryant and Lakers to continue home run
(The Sports Xchange) - Retiring Los Angeles guard and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant may have won the battle on Saturday in his final trip to San Antonio, but it was the Spurs who won the war, thanks to a combined 46 points from their two starting forwards and a pair of huge baskets by point guard Tony Parker down the stretch.
The Spurs survived a riveting command performance in the Alamo City by Bryant and outlasted the Los Angeles Lakers 106-102 to win their fourth straight game and remain unbeaten at home.
Bryant, who is retiring at the end of this campaign after spending 20 seasons in the NBA, all with Los Angeles, finished with 25 points, 16 of them in the third period to help lead the Lakers back into the game.
"You've got to execute and we didn't for a lot of the game tonight and Los Angeles was fired up," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
"It was a great night for Kobe, which is thrilling because I think he's great. It's like watching Michael (Jordan). We made some mistakes and he took advantage of them. He's fantastic."
San Antonio got a game-high 26 points from forward LaMarcus Aldridge and 20 points and 13 rebounds from forward Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard also grabbed a huge offensive rebound after a missed free throw in the final minute as the Spurs turned up the heat on both ends of the floor in the last four minutes when it counted the most.
San Antonio (43-8) improved to 28-0 at the AT&T Center this season, extending its record for the best home start ever by a Western Conference team.
The victory also allowed the Spurs to lengthen their regular-season home victory streak to 37 games, dating back to an overtime loss to Cleveland last March, and matched the best overall start in franchise history after 51 games (set in 2010-11). Continued...