VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Fantasy Sports
More
Betting Tools

 
Lakers finished after Spurs' 4-game sweep

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Lakers gave away thousands of white towels to their fans Sunday, and the unintended symbolism became devastatingly appropriate.

Advertisement
The Lakers started the season with a loaded roster and championship aspirations. They finished with Kobe Bryant leaning on crutches and Dwight Howard getting ejected while their patchwork lineup staggering through one last blowout loss.

Wave the white flag. Throw in the towel. The Lakers' tumultuous season is finally finished.

Tony Parker scored 23 points, Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair added 13 apiece, and the San Antonio Spurs completed their first-round sweep with a 103-82 victory in Game 4.

San Antonio never trailed in the clincher, leading by 25 points in one more businesslike effort against the seventh-seeded Lakers, who provided their usual drama right down to their last gasp.

In his final game before unrestricted free agency, Howard scored seven points before getting tossed early in the third quarter for arguing. Pau Gasol scored 16 points for the Lakers, who were swept from the postseason for the second time in three years despite a late courtside appearance by Bryant, who cheered on his teammates until the final buzzer.

``It's like a nightmare,'' Howard said. ``It's like a bad dream we couldn't wake up out of. That's what it felt like. It seemed like nothing could go right from the start.''

The 16-time NBA champion Lakers had high hopes for this season after landing Howard and Nash to play alongside Bryant and Gasol, but their hopes disappeared in an avalanche of injuries, losing streaks and turmoil. They made a 28-12 surge late in the regular season, but lost Bryant on the way - along with any chance of keeping up with the smooth, veteran Spurs, who finished Los Angeles with back-to-back wins by more than 20 points at Staples Center.

Starters Bryant, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace sat out the finale with injuries, while Gasol and Howard played with pain. Coach Mike D'Antoni had just nine available players in uniform when Howard got himself kicked out of the game after taking just two shots in 20 minutes.

The All-Star center, furious with the Spurs' unpunished physical play, yelled a few parting words at the court after walking past general manager Mitch Kupchak in the tunnel to the locker room. Afterward, Howard said he must ``do a better job of keeping my cool.''

``I hate it for him,'' D'Antoni said. ``He gets banged up so much in there that I'm sure he didn't mean to (get ejected), but he takes a pounding, and after a while, I guess his nerves were shot.''

Moments later, Bryant got the solemn Lakers crowd on its feet when he hobbled out of the tunnel to a seat behind the Lakers' bench, making his first appearance at courtside since tearing his Achilles tendon 16 days ago. Bryant, who might not be healthy by the start of next season, repeatedly yelled instructions and encouragement at the Lakers' young backcourt, Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris, and fill-in starter Earl Clark.

The Lakers went down hard against the Spurs, but they appeared to stick together.

``It's been a very challenging season, but we've done our best,'' said Gasol, who got a late standing ovation from fans who realize he also might be gone in the fall. ``We've done our best and fought our way through it. ... We pretty much didn't have a chance against the Spurs, but we still fought. We stayed together, and that's the thought I will keep for the future.''

Tim Duncan had 11 points and six rebounds for the second-seeded Spurs, who will face the winner of Denver's series with Golden State in the second round. They'll get plenty of rest after flattening the Lakers, who took back-to-back home defeats without three regular starters in their first opening-round exit since 2007.

``Obviously, it wasn't a fair fight,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ``When you're a competitor, you want to compete on an even basis, and the Lakers weren't able to do that. ... Even though it wasn't a fair fight, we still want to win the series, and I'm glad we did. Our focus was great.''

After Duncan led the Spurs' blowout in Game 3, Parker took the lead in the clincher, scoring 15 points in the first half while exploiting the Lakers' hastily assembled lineup. Los Angeles' top four guards are out with injuries, including backups Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks, and Parker was merciless against third-stringers.

``It was just a weird feeling,'' Parker said. ``Obviously, I am happy we won, but it was just weird. They were missing a lot of guys, so we're just happy to go to the next round.''

San Antonio trailed for fewer than five combined minutes in the four-game series, grinding out points and defensive stops with the steady professionalism of Popovich's best teams.

The Spurs seamlessly replaced injured starting center Tiago Splitter in Game 4 with Australian rookie Aron Baynes, who had six points and played decent defense in his first NBA start.

The Spurs had control of this series from the start: They posted two methodical victories at home before sending the Lakers to their biggest home playoff defeat in their long franchise history in Game 3, 120-89. The clincher was more of the same, with the Lakers unable to mount enough teamwork to challenge the smooth Spurs.

``You can't expect to come in and have instant success against a team like that, especially since we haven't even been playing,'' said Goudelock, who scored 14 points. ``We basically threw a team together, threw us out there, and, `Go play.' So, tough circumstances, but I think we all learned a lot from it. I think we'll all be better from it.''

NOTES: Splitter has a sprained ankle and is out indefinitely, although his teammates think he can return during the second round. F Boris Diaw practiced with contact this weekend in his comeback from a back injury. ... The Lakers faced an 0-3 series deficit for the eighth time in franchise history - and for the eighth time, they were swept. ... Jack Nicholson and Lil Wayne watched at courtside, but both left early in the fourth quarter.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
News: NBA Finals Predictions
News: NBA Finals MVP Odds
News: NBA Finals Series Odds
News: 2017 NBA Draft Props
Cavs insist they have plenty of bite left
Durant, Warriors shrug off parity talk
Spurs might be ready to chase Paul
Van Gundy honored for cooperation
Myers' care for people goes long way
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
9-2 L11 Totals, 20-6 L26 G-Plays
15-3 G-Plays, 13-6 L19, 20-9 Run
5-1 L6 Picks, +3,183 G-Plays TY
8-2 L10, 14-4 L18, 26-10 Streak
7-2 G-Plays, 11-4 Picks, 11-5 Totals
19-9 L28 G-Plays, 17-9 L26 Totals
6-0 Totals, 6-1 G-Plays, 10-3 Picks
22-10 L32 Totals, +2,870 This Year
9-3 L12 Totals, 4-2 L6 Picks
6-0 Postseason Win Streak
23-9 L32 NBA Selections
2-0 Thursday, 38-18 L56 G-Plays
9-3 Record Last 12 Picks
8-3 Last 11 Playoff Picks
5-1 L6 Picks, 11-5 L16 G-Plays
26-12 Last 38 NBA Streak
7-3 L10 Guaranteed Plays
4-1 L5 Postseason Picks
9-4 Last 13 NBA Totals
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks - NBA Finals - Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors
2016 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2870
Alex Smart + 2724
Mark Franco + 1305
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 295
NeiltheGreek + 200
Alex Smart + 192
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Jim Feist 56 %
Kyle Hunter 55 %
Alex Smart 55 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 3183
ASA + 2179
The Gold Sheet + 1730
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2673
Bill Marzano + 1856
Paul Bovi + 920
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1706
Kevin Rogers + 1511
Gary Bart + 1104
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership