Lakers forward Matt Barnes prepares to block a shot by Spurs forward Tiago… (Bahram Mark Sobhani / Associated…)
Reporting from San Antonio — It's tough to somehow top a blowout victory in San Antonio, but the Lakers managed to do it.
Not only did they punish the team with the NBA's best home record (29-2 before Sunday), but they got back two injured players, one from the long-term list and one from a more recent, and grotesque, injury.
Matt Barnes returned from a 26-game absence, totaling five points and six rebounds in the Lakers' jarring 99-83 victory over San Antonio.
He looked healthy, happy and lively … maybe a little too lively, his left-handed layup attempt bouncing hard off the backboard.
"I felt good, besides, you know, point shaving on some layups," Barnes said jokingly.
Derek Fisher wasn't in a joking mood after his left elbow was bent back freakishly by Charlotte center Kwame Brown in Friday's game, but he returned Sunday for his 477th consecutive game, the longest streak among active players.
Fisher had eight points and three assists in almost 27 minutes.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wasn't surprised. He and Fisher have been through plenty of battles together. A sprained elbow? No problem.
"After the game on Friday night when I talked to him, he said, 'I'm going to be OK,' " Jackson said.
The Lakers have missed Barnes' energy, undoubtedly, his seven-point scoring average not telling the whole story.
"He had some [rough] moments out there on the floor [Sunday], but he got in the flow of it; he got running around, doing the things he does well, making some good cuts," Jackson said.
Barnes reported no soreness after playing 14 minutes.
"I just wanted to get out there and run around a little bit and bang into people and see where my body and my knee was," he said. "Everything felt fine. I'm here the rest of the season."
Bryant closer to suspension
Kobe Bryant picked up his 13th technical foul this season after elbowing Spurs guard Manu Ginobili in the first quarter. If he gets three more in the last 18 regular-season games, he will be suspended by the league for one game.
"He does have to watch his activity level out there," Jackson said.
Center Dwight Howard will be suspended for Orlando's game Monday because he picked up his 16th technical in the Magic's last game.
Players reset back to zero technicals when the playoffs begin and are suspended for a game if they pick up a seventh in the postseason.
Give Jackson a chance to tweak somebody, and he'll do it.
His latest target was the San Antonio injuries that seem to heal too quickly for his taste … or at least for the timetable supplied by the Spurs.
"They had an injury to [Tony] Parker where he had a remarkable turnaround and was able to make a comeback after a game, so that's kept them pretty intact for the season," Jackson said. "[Tim] Duncan went down one game, looked like he was going to be out for the season, was back for the next game, miraculously. They must have Jesus Christ working on their bench as a trainer."