Antonio McDyess tipped in a missed shot by Tim Duncan just ahead of the final buzzer to give the San Antonio Spurs an 89-88 victory over the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
The Spurs improved to an NBA-best 41-8, matching the fifth-best start in NBA history through so many games. The only four clubs with better starts all went on to win the NBA crown that season.
The Lakers trailed 87-86 with the ball in the closing seconds when Spanish forward Pau Gasol was fouled with 22 seconds remaining. The Spaniard sank both shots from the line to seize an 88-87 lead.
San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili missed a 3-pointer but McDyess grabbed the rebound and moments later Tony Parker drove the lane, only to have his shot bounce off both sides of the rim and out.
But the ball went out of bounds off the Lakers to give the Spurs a final chance with 5.6 seconds to play. Duncan fired a jumper over Gasol and McDyess leaped high to deflect the miss back inside the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
Parker scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting while Richard Jefferson added 18 points and Ginobili contributed 14 points for the Spurs, who also had eight points and eight rebounds from McDyess.
Parker scored 14 points in the second quarter while McDyess scored six of his eight in the final quarter.
Gasol scored 19 points and Kobe Bryant had 16 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in a losing cause to power the Lakers, who fell to 34-16 and in second in the Western Conference behind the Spurs.
Lamar Odom scored 16 points off the bench for the Lakers, who also had 13 points from Ron Artest.
The Spurs had matched their biggest lead at 79-71 with 7:45 to play but Bryant ignited a Laker comeback hitting a jumper and making a long pass off a turnover to Artest for a fast break layup to pull the Lakers within 79-78.
San Antonio answered with a 3-pointer from Jefferson and a 3-point play from Parker sandwiched around a Gasol tip-in for an 85-80 lead.
Odom pulled the Lakers within 85-82 and Gasol added a free throw, but Duncan hit a jumper over Gasol to stretch the Spurs’ lead back to 87-83, only to have Odom sink a 3-pointer with one minute to play, setting up the final drama.
Heat 104, Magic 100
In Orlando, LeBron James had 51 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists to lead Miami past Orlando.
It was a season high for James and the fifth-highest total of his career.
The Heat exploited a thin Magic front line that was missing injured starting forward Brandon Bass. They led by as many as 23 points. Dwyane Wade added 15 points.
Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 22 points. Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds, but only one point after half-time and was just 3 for 13 at the free throw line.
Warriors 100, Bucks 94
In Oakland, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry combined for 15 points in the final 4:38 to lift Golden State over Milwaukee.
Ellis hit a jumper with 17 seconds left to put the Warriors up by four. He scored 24 points to lead Golden State. Curry had 16 points.