April 17, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) moves in to the basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Spurs Pull Away In Second Half To Rout Lakers, 121-97

The San Antonio Spurs retained their lead atop the Western Conference standings with a huge win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs Final Score: San Antonio Stellar In 121-97 Victory

The San Antonio Spurs will stay in first place in the Western Conference standings after Friday night's games thanks to a spectacular performance against the Los Angeles Lakers. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were so dominant in the third quarter that they didn't need to close out the game as the Spurs coasted to a 121-97 win.

Duncan scored 21 points while Ginobili and Parker added 20 apiece. None of them scored in the fourth quarter and all three of them played under 30 minutes on the night. Duncan grabbed eight rebounds while Parker dished out 10 assists for a double-double.

Realizing that the game was well out of hand early in the fourth quarter, Mike Brown opted to rest Kobe Bryant at the end of his first game back from injury since April 6. Bryant was 7-12 shooting and scored 18 points in his 30 minutes on the floor. He was his team's leading scorer as Ramon Sessions, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum all struggled offensively.

Gregg Popavich was able to use all 12 of the players on his team, and 11 of them made a field goal. It was an incredibly impressive balanced performance by the Spurs, who looked very much like a deserving No. 1 seed on Friday night.

For more, check out SB Nation's Spurs blog Pounding the Rock and our Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs Score: San Antonio's Big Three Running Away With The Game

The Los Angeles Lakers closed out the second quarter well and cut the San Antonio Spurs' lead to just four points at the break, but San Antonio responded with an absolutely stellar third quarter. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were all terrific offensively, and the Spurs lead 91-73 at the end of the third quarter.

Ginobili isn't taking a lot of shots or playing extended minutes, but he's been incredibly efficient. He has 20 points on 6-8 shooting in just 20 minutes of play. Duncan has 21 points, while Parker has 20 points and 10 assists. The Spurs are shooting a ridiculous 62 percent from the floor, and they already have 21 assists in the game.

Kobe Bryant has upped his game in the third quarter, but he's not getting a ton of help and the Spurs have been too good on offense for Bryant's scoring to make much of a difference. He has 18 points on 7-12 shooting, with 11 of those points coming in the third quarter.

For more, check out SB Nation's Spurs blog Pounding the Rock and our Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs Halftime Score: Tim Duncan Stellar, San Antonio Leads 56-52

Gregg Popovich's persistent resting of Tim Duncan is paying serious dividends Friday night. The San Antonio Spurs veteran sat out of Wednesday's win over the Sacramento Kings and the rest appears to be doing him good. He's been the best player on the floor for his team against the Los Angeles Lakers, and his performance is the biggest reason the Spurs lead 56-52 at halftime.

Duncan is 8-12 from the field and leads all scorers with 16 points to go along with five rebounds and two blocks. Tony Parker is also having a fantastic night with 11 points and seven assists, while Manu Ginobili has 10 points off the bench. Andrew Bynum has been the biggest star for the Lakers, with 12 points. Kobe Bryant has looked a bit rusty, and he's 2-6 from the floor with seven points in his first game since April 6.

San Antonio is shooting 58 percent from the floor to LA's 45 percent, but the Lakers are getting to the free throw line at a much more consistent clip. Their 13-14 performance from the charity stripe is keeping the game close. San Antonio has committed a lot of fouls and they might run into a bit of foul trouble in the second half if they're not careful. Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter both have three personals.

For more, check out SB Nation's Spurs blog Pounding the Rock and our Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs Score: In Kobe Bryant's Return, San Antonio Leads Early

After one quarter on Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the San Antonio Spurs by a 32-25 margin. Tim Duncan has scored 12 points in the paint, and Tony Parker has already registered six assists.

Kobe Bryant, who is seeing action for the first time since April 6, has five points so far on two-for-four shooting. Andrew Bynum has 11 points, but in all, the Lakers are shooting only 44 percent to the Spurs' 68.2 percent.

The Spurs entered the game with the best record in the Western Conference, but lead the Oklahoma City Thunder by only half a game. The Lakers sit in third, a game ahead of the cross-town rival Clippers. While the Lakers can do no better than hold onto their No. 3-seed, this game offers one more chance for them to play against an elite team with Bryant in the lineup.

For more, check out SB Nation's Spurs blog, Pounding the Rock, and our Lakers blog, Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Spurs: Rematch Will Likely Yield Different Result

Kobe Bryant is expected to return for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, leading to what should be a better game than this week's earlier game against the San Antonio Spurs.

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