NBA - Lakers close in on playoffs berth
By Mohan Labra Ramchandani
Tue, 16 Apr 2013
LOS ANGELES -- The L.A. Lakers are one game away from capturing the 8th and final playoffs berth in the Western Conference. The Lakers reached this point by narrowly edging the San Antonio Spurs, 91-86, Sunday night at the Staples Center.
The Lakers played without Kobe Bryant, who was lost for the season after blowing his Achilles Friday night against the Golden State Warriors. But center Dwight Howard carried Los Angeles on his shoulders with 26 points and 17 rebounds. Howard also made eight of 17 free throws.
Steve Blake also came up huge for the Lakers by finishing with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists. Blake, who started in place of the injured Steve Nash (right hamstring injury) sizzled from 3-point range, making four of eight attempts. Pau Gasol struggled mightily, missing 14 of 17 field goals for seven points and 16 rebounds.
San Antonio was held to just 33 of 89 field goals (37.1 percent) and got 23 points and 10 rebounds from center Tim Duncan. Danny Green pumped 16 and Gary Neal had 12. Tiago Splitter added 11 points and 10 boards.
The Lakers can enter the playoffs outright by beating the Houston Rockets Wednesday night at the Staples Center. (MR)
Photo: Dwight Howard after his 26-point 17-rebound output. (PhilBoxing photo by Mohan Labra Ramchandani).
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