Spurs drain Lakers, Nets top Celtics

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2003

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers didn't merely lose. They were humiliated by an opponent seeking two years' worth of revenge.

Getting the bulk of their offense from an unlikely source -- defensive specialist Bruce Bowen -- the San Antonio Spurs trounced Los Angeles 114-95 Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series.

This one became lopsided early and stayed that way, with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal watching the entire fourth quarter from the bench.

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Bowen, whose main job in this series is to defend Bryant, connected on seven of his eight 3-point attempts and finished with a career playoff-high 27 points while also having enough energy to harass Bryant at the other end.

San Antonio built a 13-point lead in the first period and extended it each quarter. The Spurs led by 17 at the half, went ahead by 33 in the third quarter and led by 27 entering the fourth.

O'Neal had an easier time on offense that he did in Game 1, making 10 of his 14 shots for 27 points. Bryant scored 24 points, though he needed 23 shots to do it, but Los Angeles -- playing without injured small forwards Rick Fox and Devean George -- got little offense from anyone else.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- This time, the New Jersey Nets didn't blow all of their big fourth-quarter lead against the Boston Celtics.

Richard Jefferson scored 25 points and made the Nets' first basket of the quarter after they let Boston back with a 14-0 run, leading New Jersey to a 104-95 victory Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in their second-round series.

Jason Kidd added 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Kenyon Martin had 14 points and 10 rebounds and again dominated his matchup with Boston's Antoine Walker.

Walker had just seven points on 3-for-15 shooting.

Paul Pierce, who turned his ankle late in the game, led the Celtics with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. But he also had six of Boston's 21 turnovers, and Walker had five. Tony Delk added 19 points.

The best-of-seven series will move to Boston for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Monday.

The Nets took a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter, only to have Boston pull to 82-80 when Pierce hit two free throws with 7:49 to play.

Jefferson hit two free throws and Martin one to push the lead to five points with 6:33 to play.

A basket inside by Eric Williams cut the gap to three points. With the shot clock winding down and the Nets' bench screaming ''butter'' -- the watchword to shoot in a hurry -- Jefferson elevated on the right wing and nailed a jumper to give New Jersey an 87-82 lead with 5:26 left.

A missed shot by Walker and a 3-pointer by Kittles gave the Nets breathing room, and Jefferson added some highlight film material with a reverse slam.

After using a 15-5 spurt at the end of the second quarter to take a 51-45 halftime lead, Kidd and the Nets seemed to take command in the third quarter, hitting 13 of 20 shots from the field, including nine of their first 11.

Kidd, who only had four points, three rebounds and two assists in the first half, had 13 points, four assists and four rebounds in the period. He had four points and three assists in a 12-point run that gave New Jersey a 71-55 lead, and he scored the final nine points to give the Nets a 82-66 edge entering the fourth quarter.