Apr 26 - Los Angeles. A Lakers team that started the season like a championship contender is about to end it painfully after being destroyed by the Spurs 120-89 at L.A. and falling in a 0-3 hole in the Western Conference first round.
Already playing without Kobe Bryant the Lakers received the news after game 2 that their already thin backcourt wouldn't be able to include Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks, all out with injuries. D'Antoni had to start game 3 with Darius Morris, who was buried on the bench all season and Andrew Goudelock, the MVP of the NBA's D-League who was signed fill out the roster after Kobe was injured. In fact, they did a good job, combining for 44 points and seven 7 but the Lakers weaknesses were the same as usual, they were horrendous in defense and playing against an excellent basketball team like the Spurs they had no chance. San Antonio shot 61% from the field with Duncan and Parker making 21 of 30 shots.
The Spurs ended the first quarter with an 11-4 run to take a 30-18 lead, went up by 18 in the second and things just went downhill for L.A. after that ending with the Lakers worst home playoff loss in history.
Howard finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added his first career playoff triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Spurs were far too much for a team that's paying the consequences of bringing a coach that was unable to notice that his roster, as good as it was, was too old to play running basketball: nine of the Lakers' 15 players were on their injury report for this game, and Metta World Peace played despite getting fluid drained from his surgically repaired knee.
The only good news for the Lakers management, who saw nothing but empty sits by the end of the fourth quarter, is that this series is just about to end so they will be able sit down and take some time think about the future.