Sun, Apr 22, 2012 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Kobe’s return means nothing as Spurs rout Lakers

AP, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

The San Antonio Spurs routed Los Angeles 121-97 in the NBA on Friday, with the Lakers receiving no boost from the return of Kobe Bryant from injury.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all scored at least 20 points for the Spurs, who stayed atop of the Western Conference with their sixth straight victory.

Bryant had missed the previous seven games with a bruised left shin and the Lakers went 5-2 without the NBA’s scoring leader. Los Angeles missed a chance to clinch homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

San Antonio have now given Los Angeles their two worst losses of the season, the first coming on Tuesday in a 112-91 decision.

HAWKS 97, CELTICS 92

In Atlanta, the hosts took a stride toward securing homecourt advantage in the playoffs by beating undermanned Boston.

Joe Johnson scored 30 points, while Josh Smith had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks, who are in line to be the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Celtics No. 5.

This game, however, looked nothing like a playoff game early. Both teams shot above 50 percent and Atlanta took a 58-49 halftime lead, while Boston guard Avery Bradley scored 17 of his career-high 28 points.

Boston left Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus at home with injuries and perennial All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were rested, having played 11 games in 15 days.

GRIZZLIES 85, BOBCATS 80

In Charlotte, Memphis rallied to beat Charlotte and extend the Bobcats’ franchise-worst losing streak to 19 games.

Mike Conley had 18 points and seven assists as the Grizzlies overcame an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and then held on to get an important victory in terms of playoff seeding in the Western Conference.

If the Bobcats (7-55) lose their final four games, they will finish with the worst winning percentage in league history.

Gerald Henderson tied a career high with 32 points for the Bobcats.

Zach Randolph added 14 points for Memphis.

In other NBA action, it was:

‧ Thunder 103, Kings 92

‧ Mavericks 104, Warriors 94

‧ Cavaliers 98, Knicks 90

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