Tim Duncan had 26 points and nine rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to the brink of first-round playoff elimination with a 120-89 victory in Game 3 on Friday night in Los Angeles, the worst home playoff loss in franchise history.
Tony Parker had 20 points and seven assists as the Spurs methodically seized control of the series by dominating their third straight meeting with the shorthanded Lakers, who played without their top four guards due to injury.
Dwight Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added his first career playoff triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Spurs were far too much for a team without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Andrew Goudelock scored a career-high 20 points in his first playoff start.
The Spurs can close it out in Game 4 on Sunday night.
The Lakers exceeded their 29-point home loss to Portland on May 22, 2000, the previous worst home defeat for the 16-time NBA champion franchise. Staples Center’s lower bowl was half empty in the final minutes, an unfamiliar sight in an arena used to celebrating championships.
The Lakers haven’t lost in the first round of the postseason since 2007, but they appear unable to contend with the tested, veteran Spurs. San Antonio led throughout the final 44 minutes, going up by 18 in the first half and 25 early in the fourth quarter with their smooth, flexible offense.
With Bryant and Nash joined by Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake on the injured list, the Lakers started Goudelock and Darius Morris, using a starting five that had never started together for the second time in three games. Morris added 24 points, getting 12 in the fourth quarter of the historic blowout.
The Lakers’ tumultuous season appears to be drawing to a merciful end, since they’re nearly out of healthy players after beginning the season with a star-studded roster and championship aspirations.
Nine of the Lakers’ 15 players were on their injury report for Game 3, and Metta World Peace played despite getting fluid drained from a cyst behind his surgically repaired left knee.
The Lakers were forced to rely on Goudelock, their second-round draft pick from two years ago who spent this season in the D-League until Los Angeles signed him 12 days ago, and Morris, another second-year pro who rarely left the Lakers’ bench this season.
Warriors 110, Nuggets 108 — Stephen Curry scored 29 points and had 11 assists, Jarret Jack added 23 points, and Golden State beat Denver in Oakland to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Warriors dominated the third quarter to overcome a 12-point halftime deficit. Golden State outscored the Nuggets, 33-18 in the third.
Ty Lawson led Denver with 35 points and 10 assists.