The San Antonio Spurs pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to the brink of first-round NBA playoff elimination by taking a 3-0 series lead with a 120-89 victory on Friday — the worst home playoff loss in Lakers franchise history.
Tim Duncan had 26 points and nine rebounds, and Tony Parker had 20 points and seven assists as the Spurs methodically seized control of the series by dominating their third straight meeting with a Lakers team missing its top four guards because of injury.
The New York Knicks also took a 3-0 series lead by beating Boston, while Golden State edged Denver by two points to move ahead 2-1 in their series.
Los Angeles’ Dwight Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added his first career playoff triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Lakers could not make up for the absence of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Andrew Goudelock scored a career-high 20 points in his first playoff start.
“We’re playing fairly well,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Whether the team you’re playing is whole, or banged up like the Lakers are ... we have to bring the energy and the professionalism to play.”
The Spurs can close it out in Game 4 today.
The 31-point margin exceeded their 29-point home loss to Portland in 1999-2000 as the heaviest playoff defeat in Lakers history.
“The first half, we gave everything we had, and it obviously wasn’t enough,” Los Angeles coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Our guys played as hard as they can play.”
With Bryant and Nash joined by Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake on the injured list, the Lakers started Goudelock and Darius Morris, using a starting five that had never started together for the second time in three games. Morris added 24 points, getting 12 in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks closed in on their first playoff series win in 13 years by beating Boston 90-76.
Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and Raymond Felton added 15 points and 10 assists for the Knicks, who will go for the sweep in Boston today.
They will have to hope they have J.R. Smith, who inexplicably threw an elbow right into Jason Terry’s face with 7:06 left and was thrown out of the game with a flagrant foul 2, an automatic ejection. The league office will review the play and can fine or suspend Smith.
Jeff Green scored 21 points for the Celtics, who will try to become the first NBA team to win a series after trailing 3-0.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry played through a sprained left ankle to score 29 points, helping the Warriors to a 110-108 win over Denver.
Curry also had 11 assists, Jarrett Jack added 23 points and seven assists, and Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry each scored 19 points to help the Warriors rally from 13 points down in the third quarter.
Golden State still had to sweat out Andre Iguodala’s missed three-pointer as the buzzer sounded, but when it missed, it set off a gold-confetti celebration throughout the announced sellout crowd of 19,596.
Ty Lawson had a career playoff-high 35 points to go with 10 assists, and reserve Corey Brewer scored 16 points as the Nuggets dropped back-to-back games to lose their advantage in the series.
Game 4 is today in Oakland.