The AP reports: Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from returning to the NBA finals. Bryant had 28 points and 10 rebounds and the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs 93-91 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. It was the Spurs’ first home loss this postseason, and the defending champions face elimination when Game 5 is played in Los Angeles on Thursday. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Reserve Brent Barry had 23 points and his last-second 3-point attempt could have given the Spurs the win. He claimed he was fouled on the play by Derek Fisher but there was no call… The Lakers led all game after opening a 22-8 lead. The Spurs got within 81-79 in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers scored seven straight points… The Lakers were up 77-70 heading into the fourth quarter. Barry’s 3 brought the Spurs within 77-75 and his running jumper got them to 79-77… Los Angeles came out with energy and took advantage of sloppy play by the Spurs to lead by as many as 14 points in the first quarter.
InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Lakers shot 44.7%, the Spurs 40.0%. But the Spurs shot a bit better from three-point range (though under 30%) and hit 24-of-26 free throws, the Lakers 14-of-19. The Lakers had 9 more rebounds, but the Spurs had 5 more assists. And the Lakers had 14 turnovers, the Spurs just 8.
For the Lakers, Bryant (14-of-29) had 28 points, 10 rebounds and just 1 assist. Lamar Odom on just 9 shots (and 8-of-9 free throws) had 16 points and 9 rebounds. Vladimir Radmanovic (5-of-8) scored 11 with 6 rebounds. Pau Gasol (4-of-7) had 10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. Luke Walton needed 10 shots for 9 points off the bench.
For the Spurs, Tim Duncan shot just 10-of-26 (plus 9-of-11 free throws) for 29 points, 17 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Tony Parker (8-of-17, 7-of-7 free throws) scored 23 plus 4 rebounds and 9 assists and just one turnover. Brent Barry (7-of-14, 5-of-12 threes) had 23 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 27 minutes off the bench. Francisco Oberto, Mike Finley, Robert Horry and Ime Udoka did very little. Manu Ginobili in 36 minutes off the bench was lousy, shooting 2-of-8 for 7 points and 7 assists.