Spurs rout depleted Lakers, on verge of sweep
by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — So it had come to this.
The NBA team that started the season with more expectations attached to it than maybe any team in the league entered perhaps its penultimate game of the season with basically no expectations at all.
The injury-depleted and possibly emotionally drained Los Angeles Lakers were going to go down — down hard — to the San Antonio Spurs in this one. Everybody, even Lakers die-hards, knew it.
This is what happens when, in pretty much a must-win playoff game, you start Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris in the backcourt against Tony Parker and the Spurs.
A mild earthquake rolled across Los Angeles during the first quarter but was hardly felt inside Staples Center, where Lakers fans were already shaking their heads at what would become a 3-0 deficit in this Western Conference first-round playoff series after the Spurs had completed a totally predictable 120-89 victory Friday night.
Game 4, and perhaps the end of this soap opera of a Lakers season, is Sunday in Staples.
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni set a relatively low bar when deciding that Morris, who averaged 4.0 points and 1.6 assists in 14.2 minutes in 48 regular season games, would get the start at the point.
“He knows the plays,” D’Antoni said.
And it had come to this, too. Before the game, the assembled media, with little else to do, surrounded the locker of Goudelock and peppered the D-League MVP with questions about how his scoring skills — he averaged 21.1 points in 51 D-League games with Sioux Falls and Rio Grande Valley — might aid the Lakers in their time of desperation.
He said he’d shoot without fear, without hesitation.
And if he shot without accuracy, the Lakers could always go to their last remaining healthy guard, Chris Duhon, who averaged 2.9 points this season.
Unavailable to the Lakers on this night due to a wide range of injuries were guards Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks. Bryant is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Blake was ruled out after a hamstring injury in Game 2. Nash (back/hamstring) and Meeks … [For more on Spurs rout depleted Lakers, on verge of sweep, click here.]