Parker leads Spurs to 102-91 win over Lakers
SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Indiana all took big strides toward the next stage of the NBA playoffs by winning their home games on Wednesday and taking 2-0 series leads.
San Antonio’s Tony Parker had 28 points and seven assists as the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-91, Oklahoma City Thunder squandered a 15-point fourth-quarter lead but regrouped to edge the Houston Rockets 105-102 and Indiana’s Paul George had his highest-scoring playoff game with 27 points to lead the Pacers to a 113-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 16 points each while Manu Ginobili added 13 points and Matt Bonner had 10.
Dwight Howard and Steve Blake had 16 points each to lead Los Angeles. Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) and Pau Gasol added 13 points each, but no other player had more than nine as the Lakers shot 45 percent from the field.
Game 3 is Friday in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles said a key to winning was shooting better, and they did — but so did San Antonio.
The Spurs shot 51 percent from the field after shooting 38 percent in Game 1. San Antonio was 7 for 14 on 3-pointers, including 5 for 7 in the first half.
Parker had 15 points in the third quarter after going 1 for 6 in the first half. He scored 12 straight points on a series of layups and floating jumpers against Steve Blake. Parker’s run gave the Spurs a 75-65 lead with 3 minutes left in the third.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both scored 29 points to lead the Thunder over the Rockets.
Durant hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:28 to play, and the Thunder didn’t relinquish the lead after that. Durant missed a free throw with 1 second left, but Houston was out of timeouts and Carlos Delfino couldn’t connect on a desperation shot at the final buzzer.
James Harden scored 36 points and spearheaded a 21-2 comeback that wiped out the big deficit and put the Rockets up 95-91. But the top-seeded Thunder were able to respond and protect the home-court advantage they’d spent all season earning.
Game 3 is Saturday in Houston.
The Thunder’s big lead melted away with nine straight empty possessions as the Rockets mixed in a zone defense. Oklahoma City came back to tie it before Harden knifed to the basket for a layup to give Houston its last lead, 97-95 with 2:42 to play. Durant answered right away with a deep 3 from the left wing, and the Thunder came up with back-to-back stops before Thabo Sefolosha’s 3 provided a little breathing room at 101-97.
Indiana’s George followed his triple-double in Game 1 with an even more prolific outcome to lead the Pacers past the Hawks.
The Pacers have won four straight home games over the Hawks. It’s the first time Indiana has held a 2-0 series lead since the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals.
George, playing in his first game since being named the league’s Most Improved Player, was 11 of 21 from the field, had eight rebounds, three assists and four steals and again played well defensively. George Hill had 22 points.
Atlanta was led by Devin Harris with 17 points. Jeff Teague and Josh Smith both had 16.
Game 3 is Saturday in Atlanta.
Indiana again took control late in the first quarter and never trailed again.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.