Lakers center Dwight Howard is fouled by Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard in… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Spurs 120, Lakers 89 (final)
The San Antonio Spurs dominated the Lakers in Game 3 of their first-round playoff matchup to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 120-89 victory on Friday night at Staples Center.
The Lakers couldn't overcome injuries to Steve Nash (hamstring/hip), Steve Blake (hamstring), Jodie Meeks (high-ankle sprain) and Kobe Bryant (Achilles). The starting backcourt of Darius Morris (24 points) and Andrew Goudelock (20) was strong offensively but the Lakers had no answer on defense for San Antonio.
The Spurs were led by power forward Tim Duncan with 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting. Point guard Tony Parker had 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting along with seven assists. San Antonio converted 62.7% of hits shots from the field, scoring at will throughout the game.
Lakers center Dwight Howard struggled to stay on the floor because of foul trouble. The Spurs eagerly fouled him with multiple bodies whenever they could. Howard lost his composure more than once, committing a couple of costly offensive fouls and getting rung up with a technical.
In almost 31 minutes, Howard led the Lakers with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and 7 of 15 from the free-throw line while collecting 11 rebounds. Power forward Pau Gasol had a triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Lakers shot 43.2% from the field and had 13 turnovers. They hit 15 of 25 from the free-throw line. What they didn't do was defend a lick.
Spurs center Tiago Splitter left after the third quarter with an apparent sprained ankle.
Game 4 is on Sunday.
Spurs 85, Lakers 63 (end of third quarter)
The Spurs pushed their lead over the Lakers to 22 points to end the third quarter as they continued to shoot well from the field.
San Antonio is now shooting an impressive 62.7% for the game. Power forward Tim Duncan has made 11 of 14 shots for 22 points while point guard Tony Parker is 9 of 14 from the field for 20 points.
The Lakers are shooting 43.3% from the field. Guard Andrew Goudelock, starting in place of injured Kobe Bryant and Steve Blake, lead the team with 20 points
Center Dwight Howard was called for his fourth foul with 4:44 left in the quarter on an offensive charge. Howard, who was also called for a technical on the play, has 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 23 1/2 minutes.
San Antonio center Tiago Splitter needed to be helped to the locker room at the end of the third quarter after he fell to the court under the basket. The nature of his injury was unclear, although it appeared to be a sprained ankle.
Spurs 55, Lakers 44 (halftime)
The Lakers fell behind San Antonio by as many 18 points in the second quarter of Game 3 before making a run behind the scoring of reserve-turned-starting guard Andrew Goudelock.
The second-year guard, who was signed in mid-April after theAchilles' tendon injury to All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, hit back-to-back three-pointers and scored 12 points in the qaurter as the Lakers closed the deficit to 11 points by halftime.
Goudelock leads all scorers with 14 points, making 5 of 8 shots from the field. The Lakers are shooting 42.9% for the game.
Point guard Tony Parker had a big second quarter for the Spurs and leads them with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Power forward Tim Duncan also has 12 points, as does Lakers center Dwight Howard.
The Spurs are shooting 59% from the field.
Despite a starting lineup, which featured Darius Morris at point guard, and rotations the Lakers have never used in games this season, the team has only four turnovers.
Spurs 30, Lakers 18 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers looked overmatched in the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 on Friday night at Staples Center.
Playing without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks, the Lakers turned to Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock and Chris Duhon to play in the backcourt. The trio combined for four points on 1-of-7 shooting.
As a team, the Lakers shot only 34.8% from the field. Dwight Howard sat after 5 1/2 minutes when he was called for his second foul.
The Spurs shot 61.1%, scoring at ease with Tim Duncan leading the way with eight points.
Pau Gasol had six for the Lakers.
A shorthanded Lakers team will host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night at Staples Center in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
Steve Nash (hamstring, hip) and Jodie Meeks (ankle) are doubtful. Kobe Bryant (Achilles) and Steve Blake (hamstring) are out.
Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock might start as the Lakers try to overcome the Spurs' 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Spurs.
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Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks still doubtful against Spurs in Game 3
Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.