MANILA, Philippines – Andrew Bynum had a career-high 30 rebounds, while Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) had an excellent offensive performance as the Los Angeles Lakers routed the San Antonio Spurs, 98-84.
Bynum struggled with his shooting (16 points, seven-of-20 from the field), but he still dominated the game thanks to his work on the boards.
Bynum's 30 rebounds included eight offensive boards. His previous career-high was 23, set last year.
"It's great to have 30 boards, but my shot's not working and I'm a little upset about that," Bynum admitted after the game. "For me, I'll remember shooting poorly."
World Peace had his best scoring game in a Lakers uniform, tallying a game-high 26 points, including a surprising five-of-eight clip from beyond the arc. The former Defensive Player of the Year has struggled with his game early this season, but has gradually improved over the last month.
"We played at our tempo," World Peace said. "We don't want to play at a fast pace, because then you put Drew (Bynum) in a situation where he's running suicides."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the Lakers "beat us to death."
“There’s nothing else you can say about it. They rebounded well and were physical. It was a really poor performance execution-wise, and competitiveness-wise,” he added.
The Lakers outrebounded the Spurs 60-33, and no San Antonio player managed to get more than five rebounds. Tony Parker collared the Spurs' lone offensive rebound of the game, which happened during the third quarter.
"All in all, we just did not play well," said Tim Duncan, who had 14 points and two rebounds. Danny Green led the Spurs with 22 points.
The Lakers broke the game open in the third quarter, after two free throws from Green that put the Spurs within nine points, 49-58. World Peace then triggered a 13-2 run, capped by a step back jump shot that put the Lakers up 20 points, 71-51.
The Lakers' victory puts their record at 37-22, 1.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the lead in the Pacific Division. The Spurs drop to 40-16 and remain one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top spot in the West.
CP3 pushes Clippers past Thunder
Chris Paul had a monster second half and the Los Angeles Clippers pushed past the Oklahoma City Thunder, 100-98.
|Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (3) scores, as Oklahoma City Thunder's Kendrick Perkins (top) and Serge Ibaka defend, late in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, April, 11, 2012. Photo by Steve Sisney, Reuters.
Paul scored 24 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, including a driving lay-up with eight seconds left that proved to be the game winner.
The Thunder had a chance to put some space between themselves and the San Antonio Spurs, but fell to the Clippers for the second time this season.
"Chris made plays down the stretch. He's just got that competitive edge about everything. His attitude and approach rubs off on guys and he was locked in tonight," said Clippers coach Vinny del Negro.
The Thunder's All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 42 points, but they shot 10-of-35 from the field.
Durant's three-pointer with 32 seconds left tied the game at 98-all for the last time, but the Thunder could not stop Paul who made the game-winning shot in the next LA possession. Durant then missed a three-pointer with two seconds left that could have won the game for OKC.
"Not giving them buckets around the paint was one of our keys tonight," said Thunder coach Scott brooks. "It was not one of our better games. Our defense was a second or a step slow, and we didn’t have it on offense."
"We didn't play good enough to win," he added.
Thanks to the Spurs’ loss to the Lakers, the Thunder remain the top team in the West. But San Antonio will still have a chance to catch Oklahoma City with 10 games to go in their schedule. The Thunder have only eight games left to play.
Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz remained in the hunt for a playoff berth after beating the Houston Rockets, 103-91.
Gordon Hayward scored 29 points to lead the Jazz, who are just one game behind the Denver Nuggets for the last playoff spot in the West.
Goran Dragic scored 19 points for the Rockets. Houston lost for the first time in five games and is now tied with Dallas for the sixth and seventh playoff slots.