While Kobe Bryant again sat out, Andrew Bynum cleaned up.
Pulling down the first 30-rebound game in the NBA in more than two years, Bynum made Bryant’s third missed game in a row an afterthought by the time the Los Angeles Lakers finished off the Spurs, 98-84, Wednesday night in San Antonio.
Bynum (16 points) became the first player with 30 rebounds in a game since Minnesota’s Kevin Love corralled 31 against the New York Knicks in 2010.
Metta World Peace scored a second-high 26 points, and Pau Gasol added 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers improved to 2-1 without Bryant, who is still letting his sore left shin heal. Lakers coach Mike Brown said there is still no timetable for when Bryant will return.
The Spurs have followed an 11-game winning streak by losing two in a row for the first time since January. Falling in Utah Monday night was hardly shocking: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili didn’t even make the trip that night in coach Gregg Popovich’s pursuit to keep his stars fresh as possible for the playoffs.
But the Big Three were back for the Lakers, and few saw this coming - especially with Bryant sidelined in a suit.
Parker and Ginobili might as well have taken another night off. Parker scored 4 points on 2-of-12 shooting and Ginobili scored 9. Duncan had 14 points and just two rebounds.
Clippers 100, Thunder 98 - Chris Paul scored 31 points, including the winning shot on a layup with 8.8 seconds left as Los Angeles kept itself in position for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs by edging host Oklahoma City.
The Clippers needed the win to hang on to fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
Knicks 111, Bucks 107 - J.R. Smith hit a 3-pointer for the lead with 1:04 left, and visiting New York held off Milwaukee in a game that could turn out to be critical to both teams’ playoff hopes.
The Bucks had won two of three games with the Knicks before Wednesday, and a win would have given them a head-to-head tiebreaker edge.
Grizzlies 104, Suns 93 - Rudy Gay scored a season-high 32 points and host Memphis won its fourth straight with a victory over Phoenix.
Jazz 103, Rockets 91 - Gordan Hayward scored a season-high 29 points and Utah helped its fading playoff hopes with a win in Houston.
76ers 93, Raptors 75 - Thaddeus Young scored 17 points, Nikola Vucevic had 12, and visiting Philadelphia routed Toronto for a victory that strengthened the Sixers’ hold on the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Trail Blazers 118, Warriors 110 - Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 34 points, Wesley Matthews had two baskets in the final minute and host Portland topped Golden State despite missing All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge (hip).
Pacers 104, Cavaliers 98 - Danny Granger scored 23 points, 5 in overtime, and George Hill made a dagger 3-pointer in the extra period to lift visiting Indiana over Cleveland.
Nuggets 113, Timberwolves 107 - Ty Lawson scored 24 points, including four free throws in the final 17.6 seconds, to help Denver hold on to beat visiting Minnesota.
Hornets 105, Kings 96 - Jason Smith scored 22 points to lead host New Orleans over Sacramento.