Tony Parker had 24 points and six assists, Kawhi Leonard added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs survived without Tim Duncan for a 91-85 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Parker hit the tiebreaking jumper with 2:13 to play, and Manu Ginobili capped his 20-point performance off the bench with a key defensive play and a dunk in the final seconds of the Spurs’ road opener.
Duncan sat out after bruising his chest in Wednesday’s season-opening victory over Memphis. Boris Diaw hit a key 3-pointer with 1:40 to play and scored 14 points while starting in his place.
Pau Gasol had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who finished their season-opening string of three games in four days with two losses after their season-opening win over the Clippers.
After San Antonio erased an early 15-point deficit, the teams traded 14 lead changes in a tense fourth quarter. Parker put the Spurs ahead to stay, and Tiago Splitter made an impressive tip-in with 1:10 left to cap a 9-1 Spurs run.
Kobe Bryant sat out for the Lakers, and is still weeks away from a return after tearing his Achilles tendon in April. In their absence, the Lakers and Spurs played the first game between the perennial Western Conference powers without either Duncan or Bryant on the court since November 1996, when Bryant was a rookie and Duncan was at Wake Forest.
Jodie Meeks scored 14 points and Wes Johnson added 12 for the Lakers. Steve Nash had five points on 1-for-8 shooting and five assists in his return after sitting out Wednesday’s game at Golden State in a bid to rest the 39-year-old point guard during back-to-backs.
Los Angeles trimmed the Spurs’ lead to 87-83 in the final minute, and Diaw missed two free throws. But Ginobili stripped the ball from Meeks on the way to the basket and then dunked on the other end with 11 seconds left to seal it.
The Spurs started slowly without Duncan, missing 10 of their first 12 shots and falling behind 33-18 early in the second quarter. Parker got San Antonio rolling with a 15-2 run, erasing most of that lead in 3 1/2 minutes.
Ginobili’s 3-pointer put the Spurs ahead with the first basket of the second half, but the Lakers kept it close before the back-and-forth final quarter, which featured 10 lead changes in the first 6 minutes alone.
Before the game, Bryant said he’s progressing well in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon in April, running on flat ground and doing more work on a weight-bearing treadmill. Bryant will need at least two more weeks of conditioning before considering a return to practice, he said.
Xavier Henry had three points on 0-for-6 shooting in his first home game since his 22-point performance while leading the Lakers’ upset win over the Clippers in Tuesday’s season opener. Henry also got a 2-inch cut on his forehead in the second quarter when Johnson accidentally kicked him as he tumbled to the court.
With a bandage wrapped all the way around his head, Henry hit two free throws with a smile before heading to the locker room for nine stitches. He returned for the second half.
NOTES: The Spurs aren’t sure when Duncan will be back. San Antonio has two more games on its trip, including Saturday night in Portland. … Henry had a concussion test while in the locker room, but showed no symptoms and was allowed to return to the game. … Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Andy Garcia, Jamaal Wilkes and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer attended the game.