LOS ANGELES (AP) — Manu Ginobili scored a season-high 20 points, Kawhi Leonard added 18 and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 108-95 Friday night for their 13th consecutive victory.
Kobe Bryant scored five points on the 10th anniversary of his 81-point game against Toronto, still the second-highest scoring performance in NBA history.
While the Lakers honored Bryant during the game with highlights of his 2006 effort, Ginobili was the one putting on a throwback performance. The Argentine veteran, who is nearly 13 months older than the 37-year-old Bryant, went 9 for 10 with four rebounds and four assists while the Spurs rolled to another businesslike win, their 20th in 21 games overall.
D’Angelo Russell scored 18 points for the Lakers, who have lost five straight and nine of 10.
Bryant never appeared to be close to doing something spectacular in his anniversary game, going 2 for 9 and picking up six assists in 27 minutes.
The 20-year veteran missed his first five shots and didn’t score until 5 1/2 minutes remained in the first half. He spent the fourth quarter with ice strapped to his sore right shoulder after his lowest-scoring performance against the Spurs in his career.
Despite playing without injured LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio kept its streak intact heading into its much-anticipated showdown with the defending champion Warriors in Oakland on Monday.
The Spurs led the Lakers throughout the final 3 1/2 quarters, stretching the margin to 25 points.
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan didn’t have to do much as they returned to San Antonio’s lineup after sitting out Thursday’s blowout win at Phoenix. Parker had 10 points and Duncan added four in 22 minutes.
Staples Center showed highlights of Bryant’s most prolific individual performance before and during the game, drawing wild cheers from the crowd. The ticket stubs for this game carried a photo of Bryant from that night. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who shared a warm pregame visit with Bryant, was asked if Kobe’s performance was unfathomable: “No.”
Cleveland coach David Blatt’s firing was the 221st head coaching change in the NBA since Popovich took over the Spurs in 1996. “All of us in the business know how it works,” Popovich said of Blatt’s ouster despite a 30-11 record. “We always feel badly when it happens to a colleague, and this is another case. He’s a heck of a coach, but circumstances often dictate what happens to some coaches. It’s got really nothing to do with their abilities.”
Spurs: Aldridge skipped the game with back spasms. David West started in his place and scored eight points. … Bryant’s farewell game in San Antonio is Feb. 6.
Lakers: Rookie F Larry Nance Jr. missed his third straight game with a sore right knee. … Former Lakers guard Jordan Farmar attended the game.
Spurs: At Warriors on Monday.
Lakers: At Portland on Saturday.
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