Lakers vs. Spurs: In-game report
Spurs 105, Lakers 85 (final)
The Lakers' fourth consecutive road loss was painful enough.
It was the loss of Kobe Bryantto back spasms that inflicted the most pain on the Lakers in a loss to the Spurs.
Bryant first suffered the injury at the end of the first quarter, returned to play in the second and third, but left before the fourth quarter. He went to the locker room and never returned. He didn't take a shot in the third quarter.
The Lakers play the Mavericks at Dallas on Wednesday night in a back-to-back game, not knowing whether Bryant will be able to play.
Bryant already was playing with an avulsion fracture in his right index finger. Now he has the back problem.
The Lakers didn't have Pau Gasol (strained left hamstring) again, but got Luke Walton back after he missed eight weeks with a pinched nerve in his back.
The Lakers fell down by 22 points in the third, but got to within six points in the fourth before faltering.
Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 23 points and eight rebounds. Bryant finished with 16 points.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
Spurs 75, Lakers 63 (third quarter)
The Lakers came out in the third quarter and forgot about playing any defense.
As a result, they fell into a 22-point hole.
It didn't help matters that Kobe Bryant left late in the period and went to the locker room with back spasms.
Bryant didn't score or take a shot in the quarter.
Still, the Lakers made a push in the third behind the play of Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum.
Artest had 10 points in the third, bulling his way to the basket.
Bynum had eight points in the third.
Spurs 53, Lakers 41 (halftime)
Kobe Bryant started the second quarter despite having left the game late in the first to go to the Lakers' locker room because he suffered back spasms. Bryant didn't move very well, looking exactly like someone experiencing back pain.
He scored 16 points in the first half on seven-for-10 shooting.
Andrew Bynum had 11 points in the first half.
The Lakers did not shoot particularly well, making 44.7% of their shots. And they couldn't stop the Spurs, allowing them to make 55.8% in the first half,.
Tim Duncan had 17 points on eight-for-12 shooting.
Spurs 27, Lakers 23 (first quarter)
Right after Kobe Bryant made a basket over Manu Ginobili late in the first quarter, Bryant grabbed his back and limped down court.
Bryant went to the Lakers' locker room when the team called a timeout with 3:04 left in the first.
The Lakers were leading, 19-17, when Bryant left.
Bryant had scored nine points on four-for-six shooting in the first.
This was a better-looking Bryant than the one who had made just 24 of 88 shots (27.2%) in his previous three games.
The Lakers were outscored, 10-4, in the rest of the quarter after Bryant left.
Lakers forward-center Pau Gasol will miss tonight's game against San Antonio because of a strained left hamstring but he might return Friday against the Clippers, Coach Phil Jackson said.
Will Gasol possibly play Wednesday against Dallas?
"We would only wish," Jackson said wistfully.
Gasol will miss his fifth consecutive game tonight against the Spurs. He missed 11 games earlier this season because of a strained right hamstring. He is averaging 16.8 points and 11.5 rebounds a game.
Forward Luke Walton has been activated after being sidelined eight weeks because of a pinched nerve in his back. He will play tonight only if Adam Morrison continues to feel the effects of flu-like symptoms, Jackson said.
-- Mike Bresnahan
Photo: Pau Gasol. Credit: Jason Redmond / Associated Press