For one final time, Kobe Bryant would face off against the San Antonio Spurs. And for one last time, he would make Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers games ever so thrilling down to the final moments.
Tony Parker had 25 points as he led the Spurs to a 119-113 win over the Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center as the Silver and Black continued their Rodeo Road Trip.
LaMarcus Aldridge rebounded from a poor effort against the Clippers on Thursday and scored 16 points. Kyle anderson added 14 and Tim Duncan chipped in 12 for San Antonio, who played without Kawhi Leonard for the second straight night.
Friday’s epic duel would be the final chapter for Bryant against the Spurs, a team he always loved playing against and made him work even harder to be a better athlete.
“We’ve played against each other for many years and it’s been great,” Duncan said. “It’s always a great game when you’re playing against him. You always know you have to bring your `A’ game, because he’s going to bring the best out of you.”
Bryant played his final game against the Spurs by trying to hand them one final defeat. The five-time champion scored 25 points and left the game briefly after dislocating his finger. Just another injury to Bryant’s body, but it was not going to stop him from finishing the game.
“It’s been so much fun competing against him and that organization for all these years,” Bryant said. “I truly enjoyed it, and it pushed me to sharpen and fine-time my game. So I’m a little sad that that matchup’s not going to happen again.”
Lou Williams scored 21 points for the Lakers, including a crazy four point play. Jeremy Clarkson added 20 and Julius Randle added 11 for Los Angeles (11-45), who were swept in the season series by the Spurs for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
The Spurs are now 46-9 on the season and will return to the court on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. when they face the Phoenix Suns inside the Talking Stick Resort Arena.