Kobe Bryant walks to the bench after the Spurs' Danny Green hit a go-ahead… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers, playing without point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake, lost a close one Tuesday night to the San Antonio Spurs, 84-82.
Second-year guard Darius Morris started but didn't make a field goal on five attempts. Reserve Chris Duhon managed five points, but his three assists came with two turnovers and three personal fouls.
When the Lakers fell behind late, interim Coach Bernie Bickerstaff turned to an interesting lineup that helped the Lakers get back on top (until Danny Green nailed a three-pointer with 9.3 seconds left).
Bickerstaff left Morris and Duhon at the bench with Kobe Bryant running the offense as point guard.
"Every year in the triangle offense, that's what I did. I was pretty much the facilitator and I scored as well," Bryant said. "When Steve gets back, I'll go back to finishing, which is what I do best."
The Lakers "big" lineup also included Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison and either Jordan Hill or Pau Gasol.
"I thought we had the foot-speed to play and create problems for [the Spurs]," Bickerstaff said. "Kobe has the ability to handle the ball with Blake and Steve Nash being out."
Defensively, World Peace matched up with Tony Parker.
"I thought he did a really good job on Parker, in terms of the size and staying with him," Bickerstaff said.
The group nearly pulled out the win, save for a couple of misplayed rebounds that gave the Spurs enough extra possessions to gut out a win.
"We just had to come up with the ball," Bickerstaff said. "We had the ball in our hands. We just had to come up with it."
Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich drew up a fantastic play to get Green his game-winner, while the Lakers failed to execute in their final possession, an errant Gasol three-pointer from the corner.
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You can email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org.