Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Lakers first team to seal playoff spot

THE Los Angeles Lakers became the first team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff berth on Thursday with a 101-95 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol each scored 23 points as the Lakers continue to run away with the conference race.

"We were really determined to win this game," Bryant said.

"In the fourth quarter they made their run, which was expected, but we did a good job. We had to get back to the basics and we've done that."

Michael Finley and Tony Parker had 25 points apiece for San Antonio, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Bryant had a big part in slowing a late San Antonio surge, and the league's reigning MVP made a clutch three-pointer to put the Lakers 98-93 ahead with 1:46 remaining after the Spurs had reduced an 11-point deficit to just two in the fourth quarter.

It was the Lakers' second impressive road victory in as many nights, having dumped the Houston Rockets 102-96 on Wednesday.

Los Angeles forward Lamar Odom was suspended for that game after leaving the bench during an altercation against Portland on Monday, though he still enjoyed Bryant's 37-point performance and on-court battle with feisty Rockets guard Ron Artest.

"It was fun watching one of my childhood friends Ron and Kobe kind of go at it a bit," Odom said after recording 12 points and 10 boards on his return.

"Kobe's one of those players I really wouldn't want to get going. Ron knew what he was doing."

Trevor Ariza was inserted into the Lakers starting line-up in place of Luke Walton and scored 10 points, backing up coach Phil Jackson's decision to include the athletic 6ft-8in forward from the opening tip-off as he provides a more defensive presence.

All-Star forward Tim Duncan finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who fell to 43-21 with the loss.

In Phoenix, Cleveland's LeBron James got his third consecutive triple-double and a long-sought first win in Phoenix.

James had 34 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, and Cleveland won a road game against the Suns - 119-111 - for the first time in a decade. James was 0-5 here heading into the game. He completed his triple-double with a rebound with 2.8 seconds to play.

Mo Williams, who scored a career-high 44 the first time the teams met this season, added 30 for Cleveland, including 6-of-10 3-pointers.

Matt Barnes scored 21 and Steve Nash 20 as the Suns extended their losing streak to six games, their longest in six seasons. Phoenix is six games behind Dallas in the race for the final playoff berth in the West.

The Cavaliers made a season-best 17-3 pointers to win for the eighth time in nine games and improve to 13-2 since January 30. It also set a new franchise record for road wins, surpassing the 22 they had in 1991-92.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend