GAME 4:  LAKERS 111 - SPURS 82

Making history

Kobe Bryant with a spectacular lay-upLos Angeles Lakers swept the San Antonio Spurs, mercilessly, without anesthesia, the way they did it to Portland and Sacramento.

Eleven playoff games without a single defeat. Eleven victories in a row that match the NBA record set by the 1989 Lakers. One more victory to own that record. Four more victories to be the only team in history to go through the playoffs undefeated.

You watch these Lakers playing, and it doesn't seem crazy to sweep the Milwaukee-Philadelphia series winner. You watch Shaq been dominant, you watch Kobe exceed every adjective.

This fourth and final game for the West Conference Final Series, was over before it started. In the first quarter Kobe Bryant made his first 6 shots and the Lakers led by 14. Not much comparDerek Fisher celebrates one of his three-pointers with Bryanted with 26 of the second half, that ended 64-40. In third period San Antonio reduced the deficit to 17, but that was all, they never were closer.

This was the sad end of the story for the best team of the regular season, that became only the third team in history to win the regular season to be swept on the Playoffs.

Derek Fisher, who missed 62 games of the regular season with a stress fracture in his right foot, led the Lakers with 28 points, including 6 of 7 three-pointers and 11 of 13 shots overall.

Kobe Bryant conducted the team and finished with 24 points and 11 assists in 34 minutes. For Shaquille O'Neal were enough 27 minShaquille O'Neal dedicates his point to his fatherutes to score 26 points and get 10 rebounds. Rick Fox scored 12 points, including 3 three-pointers.

Five players scored at least 10 points for San Antonio, but none scored more than 15. The team ended the game with 3 of 16 three-pointers, and a horrible 13 of 59 over the series (22%).

In six days the really important thing will begin, the Lakers will have the home court advantage. Philadelphia and Milwaukee don't seem to be a threat for Los Angeles. So, lets say that we will need just a little bit of luck, and we will be watching history.



Derek Fisher (LAL) 28 pts 6 of 7 3-pointers
Kobe Bryant (LAL) 24 pts 11 assist
Shaquille O'Neal (LAL) 26 pts 10 reb


GAME 3:  LAKERS 111 - SPURS 72

A sweeping force.

Kobe Bryant looking for his way to the boardForget about the predictions.
Forget about the home court advantage.
Forget about the Twin Towers.
Forget about the "big match".

The Lakers gave the San Antonio Spurs their worst defeat of the season.

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal scored 71 points, one short from the entire Spurs team.

In the first half of this first game at the Staples Center, San Antonio had his chance to dominate when the Lakers weren't effective, but didn't know how to take it, and like in all the series, suffered his bad aim from long range. Los Angeles had one of its worst offensive quarters of the playoffs in the second, making just 29 %. But still won the first half 54-44.Rick Fox blocks a shot

The third quarter began, and with 8:39 remaining Antonio Daniels free throws were the last sign of an even match (61-54). From there, the Lakers had a 37-12 run that ended with 6:30 remaining in the last quarter, with the score 98-66 and the Spurs demolished.

David Robinson made his contribution with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Antonio Daniels scored 17 points and Duncan, after getting his personal playoffs record the previous game (40 points), disappointed with only 9 points. The Spurs finished the game with 1 three-pointer of 12 attempts.

For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant (36 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) showed again his impressive game, scoring from all the angles, and make clear his interest of keeping his teammates happy, specially Shaq.Tim Duncan shows his disspointment O'Neal, after being criticized by Jackson for his lack of energy on the previous game, was dominant under the boards, scored 35 points and got 17 rebounds.

The Spurs have lost this series, that is a fact. And the way the Lakers are destroying rivals lately, the best that can happened to San Antonio would be this series to end here at L.A. next Sunday, and not having to come back home to be embarrassed again.


Kobe Bryant (LAL): "It's always fun when you win, we're playing really, really well"

Horace Grant (LAL): "I think we're playing better than those teams in Chicago" (Horace Grant won 3 titles with Chicago and Jordan)


Kobe Bryant (LAL) 36 pts 9 reb 8 assist
Shaquille O'Neal (LAL) 35 pts 17 reb
Tim Duncan (SAS) 9 pts 13 reb
David Robinson (SAS) 24 pts 12 reb



Can anybody beat the Lakers?

Shaq and Kobe celebrateIf someone can, be sure they are not those who depend on a small tattooed guy's humor. No matter how many MVPs he brings to L.A. Not even mention Milwaukee. The powerful Portland couldn't. Neither the nice Kings.

If someone can, that's the San Antonio team. With its Twin Towers, with its best Conference record and home court advantage, with its only 8 games lost at home in the regular season, and its cero lost games at home in the Playoffs, with the Duncan's 40 points.

But the Lakers won its 17th consecutive game, the 9th in the Playoffs and the second at the Alamodome. The Kobe's 28 points, the Shaq's 19 and the contribution of Fisher (16) and Horry (11) were enoughKobe makes his way.

San Antonio was 14 points ahead somewhere on the first half that ended 46-38, with 25 point from Duncan. The leadership continued until 50 seconds before the end of the third. And with 6:18 remaining on the last quarter 2 points from Duncan gave San Antonio their last advantage (76-75). From there, everything was for Los Angeles that with a 13-5 run liquidate the game.

The final shot came from a three from Bryant, with 1:10 remaining (85-78).

Tim Duncan scored 40 points and Antonio Daniels 24 (both personal Playoffs records). Robinson got into foul trouble early and the team scored a poor 4 of 16 3 pointers.

Shaq and his worst nightmarePhil Jackson, who is trying to get his 8th ring was ejected because of a second technical.

To recover its home court advantage San Antonio must win the next two games at the Staples Centers, beginning next Friday. Something that does not seem very probable.


Gregg Popovich (SAS): "We are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league, those are shots that we take and need to make."


Kobe Bryant (LAL) 28 pts 7 reb 6 assist
Shaquille O'Neal (LAL) 19 pts 14 reb
Tim Duncan (SAS) 40 pts 15 reb
Antonio Daniels (SAS) 24 pts



GAME 1:  SPURS 90 - LAKERS 104

Bryant and his maturity.

Kobe Bryant enjoys his great perfomanceThe big question in L.A. the past years was if this wonder kid would become a man.

And that day finally arrived. Finally Kobe seems to have controlled those moments of out-of-control game. Finally kobe, 22 years old, is so good as he always thought he was.

23 assists and only 6 turnovers against Portland. 37 points averaged in two decisive road games against Sacramento. "Normal" performances for Kobe lately. But last Saturday a more important challenge arrived. On the court were the most dominant NBA players, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal, and the hardest team the Lakers will find in this Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs. It was the perfect chance for Bryant to show his maturity. And he took it. He was the star of the game with 45 points and 10 rebounds, bringing silence and disillusion to a city that did not expected this.Shaquille O'Neal dunks the ball over David Robinson

36.068 spectators dressed on black and white, with their mouth opened because of the amazement, observed the show Kobe gave them: 7 attempts without a miss at the beginning of the game, 3 dunks to extend a 9 point lead into an unrecoverable 16 point difference, alley-oops, rebounds, and bows from his teammates after some too much spectacular play.

Shaquille O'Neal contributed with 28 points, 6 of 8 free throws, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. The other Lakers to make at least 10 points was Derek Fisher, with 13, including 3 of 4 attempts of 3 points, and 7 rebounds.

For San Antonio, Tim Duncan finished the game with 28 points and 14 rebounds, Antonio Daniels with 20 points, and David Robinson with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

With this victory the Lakers won their 16th in a row (8 in the Playoffs) and took away from San Antonio the home court advantage.

Bryant and Fisher after a played finishedThe key of the first half difference for the Lakers (51-42) was the 11 turnovers committed by the Spurs, cause mainly for the Laker good defense.

Kobe Bryant was 3 points short of his Playoff record (48 against Sacramento, the last game), but established a mark anyway, because nobody had scored 45 against San Antonio in Playoffs. The record belonged to Hakeem Olajuwon, 43 points in the 1995 Conference finals, playing for Houston.

Today, the comparisons with Jordan are unavoidable. Some say he has a long road ahead to get where Jordan got, and that is true. But it is true (also) that Kobe Bryant is right now, much more than Jordan at 22.


Shaquille O'Neal (LAL): "I told Kobe that he was my idol... I'm serious, I think he's the best player in the league, by far"

Horace Grant (LAL): "He played like number 23"


Kobe Bryant (LAL) 45 pts (Playoffs record against SAS) 10 reb
Shaquille O'Neal (LAL) 28 pts 11 reb 6 assists 6 of 8 free throws
Tim Duncan (SAS) 28 pts 14 reb
David Robinson (SAS) 14 pts 11 reb