The San Antonio Spurs are usually the team rolling out to an early 20-point lead by being more clinical and sharp than their opponent. That wasn't the case Sunday, when an early surge from the Los Angeles Lakers effectively knocked the Spurs out in the first quarter on the champs' way to a 99-83 victory. L.A. outscored the Spurs 34-13 in the first quarter. The Spurs simply don't give up 34 points in a quarter, and simply don't score as few as 13 points in a quarter. That both happened in the same quarter at home against a rival the Spurs would like to bludgeon with a dull object is something amazing.
The early offense came from Kobe Bryant, who scored eight on 4-9 shooting in the first quarter. More important were his three assists -- he found Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Ron Artest free, and Gasol scored seven in the first quarter, while Fisher and Artest had five each. The Spurs are trained not to allow multiple opposing players to get hot, but all of the Lakers were scoring early in this one.
Meanwhile, only Tony Parker had his offense on track early for the Spurs. He scored six points on 3-6 shooting in the first quarter as San Antonio shot 6-22 overall. It didn't get a whole lot better from there -- the Spurs finished the game shooting 36 percent from the floor, with the second unit dropping 31 in the fourth to make things somewhat respectable-ish.
The Spurs are now 2-1 against the Lakers this season. The teams don't meet again until the final week of the season. San Antonio is up seven in the loss column on the Lakers.