The San Antonio Spurs dominated the Lakers in Game 3 of their first-round playoff matchup to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 120-89 victory on Friday night at Staples Center.
The Lakers couldn't overcome injuries to Steve Nash (hamstring/hip), Steve Blake (hamstring), Jodie Meeks (high-ankle sprain) and Kobe Bryant (Achilles). The starting backcourt of Darius Morris (24 points) and Andrew Goudelock (20) was strong offensively but the Lakers had no answer on defense for San Antonio.
The Spurs were led by power forward Tim Duncan with 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting. Point guard Tony Parker had 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting along with seven assists. San Antonio converted 62.7% of hits shots from the field, scoring at will throughout the game.
Lakers center Dwight Howard struggled to stay on the floor because of foul trouble. The Spurs eagerly fouled him with multiple bodies whenever they could. Howard lost his composure more than once, committing a couple of costly offensive fouls and getting rung up with a technical.
In almost 31 minutes, Howard led the Lakers with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and 7 of 15 from the free-throw line while collecting 11 rebounds. Power forward Pau Gasol had a triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Lakers shot 43.2% from the field and had 13 turnovers. They hit 15 of 25 from the free-throw line. What they didn't do was defend a lick.
Spurs center Tiago Splitter left after the third quarter with an apparent sprained ankle.
Game 4 is on Sunday.
The Spurs pushed their lead over the Lakers to 22 points to end the third quarter as they continued to shoot well from the field.
Center Dwight Howard was called for his fourth foul with 4:44 left in the quarter on an offensive charge. Howard, who was also called for a technical on the play, has 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 23 1/2 minutes.
San Antonio center Tiago Splitter needed to be helped to the locker room at the end of the third quarter after he fell to the court under the basket. The nature of his injury was unclear, although it appeared to be a sprained ankle.Spurs 55, Lakers 44 (halftime)
The Lakers fell behind San Antonio by as many 18 points in the second quarter of Game 3 before making a run behind the scoring of reserve-turned-starting guard Andrew Goudelock.
The second-year guard, who was signed in mid-April after theAchilles' tendon injury to All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, hit back-to-back three-pointers and scored 12 points in the qaurter as the Lakers closed the deficit to 11 points by halftime.Goudelock leads all scorers with 14 points, making 5 of 8 shots from the field. The Lakers are shooting 42.9% for the game.
The Spurs are shooting 59% from the field.
Despite a starting lineup, which featured Darius Morris at point guard, and rotations the Lakers have never used in games this season, the team has only four turnovers.