LOS ANGELES (AP) — While last week's blowout loss to the Lakers still stings the San Antonio Spurs, they found a way to feel better while moving into prime position to win the West.
Tony Parker had 29 points and 13 assists, Tim Duncan had 19 points and eight rebounds, and the Spurs handed Los Angeles its worst loss of the season, 112-91 on Tuesday night.
Just six days after the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers jumped to a 26-point lead during a comfortable victory at San Antonio, the Spurs answered by scoring 18 consecutive points during an impressive second-quarter spree. The Spurs snapped Los Angeles' four-game winning streak while dominating a meeting of division leaders — albeit with Bryant sitting out his sixth straight game to rest his bruised shin.
"It went just as well for us as it went for them in San Antonio," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "The Lakers had the kind of night we had back home when they destroyed us. So we had a good night, and we still caught a break: I looked hard, but I didn't see Kobe anywhere. I think that helped us a little bit."
Manu Ginobili scored 15 points as the Spurs (44-16) improved their position atop the Western Conference with their fourth straight win, moving a half-game clear of Oklahoma City (44-17) for the No. 1 playoff seed. Popovich didn't sit his stars in the second game of a three-in-three-nights stretch, with Duncan playing 35 minutes and Parker 30.
"After the last meeting, this game had a little more to it," Duncan said. "We love our position (in the West), obviously. We hope to hold on to it. We're facing a tough schedule, but we're feeling good, and we're staying healthy."
San Antonio, which had lost three straight to the Lakers, stretched its lead to 23 points in the third quarter — making 30 of 43 shots in the middle quarters — and hung on comfortably for its 15th win in 17 games. Parker particularly decimated Los Angeles' defense, going 14 of 20 against point guards Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake.
"I think it was very motivated," Parker said. "We weren't happy with our performance (last week), and we wanted to get it back from them. Everybody knew it. Pop didn't bring it up and we didn't talk about it. Personally, I think it was one of my worst games, so I wanted to do better."
The two perennial West powers will meet yet again for a rubber match Friday in San Antonio.
Andrew Bynum had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers, whose Pacific Division lead over the Clippers dwindled to a half-game, although the Lakers hold the tiebreaker. Matt Barnes and Pau Gasol scored 16 points apiece, but with Bryant watching from the bench in a sharp suit, Los Angeles couldn't match the depth of the Spurs, who got at least four points from 10 players.