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They Have Bounce-Back Capability

May 11, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

As the Lakers try to chisel their names onto another sector of NBA playoff history, the Spurs simply try to relive more recent history from this season.

The Lakers are trying to become the eighth team to win a playoff series after losing the first two games -- Houston did it most recently in 1995 against Phoenix -- and the Spurs are attempting to bounce back from a loss, something they succeeded in doing throughout the season.

The Spurs are 20-4 in games after a loss and were 2-0 against Phoenix after losses in the first round.

"We come back from stuff like this very well," David Robinson said. "And we will."

Not without improved shooting from the perimeter.

The Spurs' three young perimeter players, equal parts energy and offense in the first two games, were less effective in Game 3.

Starters Stephen Jackson and Tony Parker combined to make four of 20 shots and Manu Ginobili had eight quiet points on two-for-four shooting.

"Sometimes they have those nights where all three of them are having a tough time being consistent at both ends of the court," Coach Gregg Popovich said. "Other nights they've got it down to a science. That consistency is something that's not going to be there all the time in their first season together, but it's been there more often than not or we wouldn't be in the position we're in."

Bruce Bowen also had a rough time Friday. Two days after scoring 27 points, he made one of seven shots and scored three points.

"They were the aggressors [Friday] night from the get-go," Bowen said. "They had their fans backing them and we just didn't come out and play as well as we could have. They jumped on us and we retreated."

Robinson, 37 years old and in his final season, played only 15 minutes Friday and scored four points on one-for-three shooting. He had been averaging 9.4 points and 24.9 minutes in the playoffs.

"I didn't think he was moving very well," Popovich said. "I think he was struggling ... because of his knees and his back. It's not new."

Robinson sat out the second game of the Phoenix series because of a sore knee.


A day after Devean George's faster-than-expected return from a sprained ankle, the Spurs said they were neither stunned nor undone by his unexpected appearance in the Laker starting lineup.

Coach Phil Jackson had said George would be out until at least today, but George returned Friday to a standing ovation at Staples Center.

"You just play with whoever's out on the court," Popovich said. "You're not in their camp. It could be a bad ankle sprain, it could be medium, it could be light. Nobody really knows but them."

Said Ginobili: "He had a great game, especially in the first quarter, but the fact they surprised us with that didn't have anything to do [with the Lakers winning]."

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