Spurs down Lakers ahead of D'Antoni arrival
By Jahmal Cornerbis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - San Antonio's Danny Green drained a three-pointer with nine seconds remaining and the Spurs' defense then denied Kobe Bryant the ball as the Western Conference-leading Spurs produced a dramatic 84-82 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Bryant, who rose above a defense-dominated contest with 28 points and eight assists, was shadowed by San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and unable to get his hands on the ball after Green's clutch shot, forcing Pau Gasol to attempt a long three-pointer that ended their chances.
"I tried to keep the ball out of his hands because usually he hits the game-winning shot," Leonard told reporters. "I wanted to let one of the other players shoot it."
The win was the third in a row for the Spurs (7-1), who got 19 points and seven assists from Tony Parker, as well as 18 points and nine rebounds from Tim Duncan.
The Lakers (3-5) had won their two previous games since coach Mike Brown was fired but are still waiting for his successor Mike D'Antoni to take over.
D'Antoni, who was named on Monday to replace Brown, is unlikely to make his debut until later this week because of recent surgery. His arrival should rejuvenate an offense that was held to a season-low total on Tuesday.
In a close battle throughout, San Antonio pulled 67-62 ahead early in the fourth before Bryant entered the game and ran off seven of the team's next nine points to tie the game at 71-71.
KOBE PATIENT Continued...