The Los Angeles Lakers pushed back against the San Antonio Spurs in an attempt to avoid going back to L.A. with a two-game deficit, but it wasn't enough as the Spurs cleaned up the first two games, final score 102-91. The Lakers hung in throughout the game, keeping the Spurs in striking distance. San Antonio outscored the Lakers in every quarter, though, as the Lakers couldn't string together matching stretches of offense and defense.
Dwight Howard was active through the night, looking more engaged that he did in game one, but did struggle with fouls. He missed the majority of the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul and the Spurs took to attacking the rim during that period. Howard finished the night with 16 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks.
The Spurs ran away in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles got away with trying to keep pace with San Antonio, but by the final frame of the game the the Spurs were ready to put the game away.
Making matters worse for the Lakers, Steve Blake exited the game early in the fourth after straining his right hamstring. Blake continued providing offense for a team lacking much help from the perimeter, finishing with 16 points while going three-for-seven from beyond the arc.
Tony Parker took the role of Laker-killer in Game two, scoring 28 points and dishing seven assists, hurting the Lakers from the perimeter and around the rim as he darted into the paint. Tim Duncan scored 16 points and had five rebounds.
The Lakers hung in, but with San Antonio shooting 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from beyond the arc, it was a mountain to overcome with a team lacking players prepared to climb, and the Spurs took Game two. While the Lakers defense performed just slightly better, the Spurs offense was roaring in Game two.
Game three is Friday in Los Angeles, and perhaps a change of scenery can help the Lakers get back into the series. Though when a series has Darius Morris playing meaningful minutes, and Blake is keeping the offense floating, it's a stark contrast from where the season is in comparison to the team that was supposed to be out on the floor when brought together.
It's a long road ahead for the Lakers, but we all knew it would be when Kobe Bryant went down.