Spurs spoils Kobe's return, roll over Lakers
Kobe Bryant returned to the lineup Friday night, hoping to give the Los Angeles Lakers an added boost but it didn't matter.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all scored at least 20 points, as the San Antonio Spurs ran over the Lakers 121-97 and spoil Bryant's return.
The Lakers (40-24) went 5-2 without their superstar, but with only two games left in the regular season, Bryant returned as he aims to get into a rhythm before the playoffs begin.
Bryant wore a black sock over his lower left leg, with what appeared to be a shin guard protecting the injured area. He scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field.
The Spurs (46-16) stayed on top of the Western Conference, while the Lakers missed a chance to clinch home court in the first round of the playoffs.
San Antonio has defeated Los Angeles in convincing fashion twice in four days. The Spurs defeat the Lakers 112-91 last Tuesday, and followed it up with another rout.
Duncan led the Spurs with 21 points, eight boards, three assists, three steals and two blocks, Parker had 20 points and 10 assists, and Ginobili added 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
San Antonio held a precarious 56-52 lead at halftime but used a strong third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 35-21 that broke the game open.
Andrew Bynum scored 17 points for the Lakers, Matt Barnes had 14 points, Pau Gasol added 11, and Metta World Peace chipped in 10 points in losing cause.
Gary Neal scored 12 points of the Spurs bench, while Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Boris Diaw added eight points each, as San Antonio used another balanced offensive effort to extend their current win streak to six games.
The Spurs return to action on Sunday night, when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.
(Photo by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)