Spurs roll past Kobe-less Lakers
Tony Parker scored 17 points and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed in rolling to 99-85 victory Friday night over a depleted Los Angeles Lakers team that potentially has lost Kobe Bryant for the season.
Kawhi Leonard had 15 points and 14 rebounds, Manu Ginobili scored 15 points and Tim Duncan added 14 points for San Antonio, which has won nine of its last 12.
Nick Young scored 17 points to lead the Lakers, who lost their seventh straight. Rookie point guard and San Antonio native Jordan Clarkson had 11 points and four assists in his first career start.
Bryant tore his right rotator cuff Wednesday in New Orleans. The injury will be re-examined Monday before the Los Angeles Lakers decide whether the superstar guard needs potentially season-ending surgery.
The Lakers failed to hit the rim on their first two shots and shot 29 percent from the field in the opening quarter while searching for a consistent scorer without Bryant.
One of the few bright spots was Clarkson, who had six of the Lakers’ first eight points in his first career start. He finished 5-for-9 shooting from the field.
San Antonio cruised after jumping out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter against a Lakers team that was already minus Steve Nash and rookie Julius Randle before losing Bryant.
San Antonio shot 6 for 23 in the third quarter, but still maintained a double-digit lead.
Wesley Johnson’s 3-pointer pulled the Lakers within 76-66 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. San Antonio responded with a 7-0 run in the ensuing minute, including a 3-pointer by Patty Mills after he stripped Ronnie Price of the inbounds pass.
Lakers: The Lakers have missed 323 total games this season due to injury, which is almost 50 more than Denver, the second-highest team. … C Tarik Black missed the game after spraining his right ankle Wednesday against New Orleans. Black had six points and two rebounds in 20 minutes in the 96-80 loss to the Pelicans. … Clarkson, a rookie from Missouri, played in just 26 games before receiving his first career start.
Spurs: San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich is five wins shy of 1,000 career victories. He is 995-460 in 19 seasons with the Spurs. … G Marco Belinelli (strained left groin) missed his eighth straight game and 14th overall. … G Danny Green is the only guard among five players in the league that are averaging at least one steal and one block per game this season.