tony parker

The San Antonio Spurs kept insisting the playoffs were a new season and that their woeful finish to the regular season was not as grave as it appeared.

After 16 straight postseason appearances, San Antonio should know what it’s talking about.

Tony Parker had 28 points and seven assists and the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-91 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 16 points each, Manu Ginobili added 13 points and Matt Bonner had 10 for San Antonio, which had lost three straight entering the series.

”I thought we played two pretty good games on the defensive end of the court back-to-back,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”That was our goal at the beginning of the season and we did it for most of the year, as I said, until maybe the last three weeks of the season it dissipated. We got it back for these two games.”

Dwight Howard and Steve Blake had 16 points each to lead Los Angeles. Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol added 13 points each, but no other player had more than nine as the Lakers shot 45 percent from the field…

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 Blake. Parker’s run gave the Spurs a 75-65 lead with 3 minutes left in the third…

Howard had heated battles with Bonner and Duncan in the first half. After getting tied up midway through the second quarter, Duncan and Howard walked down the court glaring at each other with Howard jawing at Duncan.

– Reported by the Associated Press