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Spurs sweep Lakers out of the playoffs

Spurs 103, Lakers 82 (final)

The Lakers' season finally came to a close on Sunday in a game that symbolized the year. 

Injuries were the defining factor in the team's 45-37 regular season and the postseason was no different. The Lakers had to play Game 4 at Staples Center without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Metta World Peace and Jodie Meeks. Then early in the third quarter, Dwight Howard was ejected after receiving his second technical foul.

The Spurs had a slow start in Game 1 but by Game 4 the Lakers were almost an afterthought. On Sunday, the Spurs dominated with a 103-82 victory over the Lakers to complete the sweep in the best-of-seven series.

The highlight of the game, at least for the Staples Center crowd, was Bryant's first appearance on the team’s bench since his season-ending Achilles' tendon injury.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker led all scorers with 23 points as San Antonio shot 46.4% from the field for the game. The Spurs had only seven turnovers but forced the Lakers into 22 -- 20 by the end of three quarters when building a 20-point lead.

Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 16 points. Andrew Goudelock scored 14 point on 7-of-16 shooting as the team made 47.4% of their shots from the field.

Turnovers were the story of the game but injuries were the story of the season, dating to Nash's broken leg in Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Spurs 78, Lakers 58 (end of third quarter)

Dwight Howard was ejected with 9:51 left in the third quarter after drawing his second technical foul of the game. He left fuming to the locker room in what might be his last appearance with the team.  Howard is a free agent this summer.

Moments later, Kobe Bryant received a standing ovation as he hobbled to the bench on crutches, making his first appearance at the Lakers' bench since his season-ending Achilles' tendon injury.

The Lakers have yet to win a quarter in the game and are down by 20 points entering the fourth.

Spurs poiint guard Tony Parker leads all scorers with 23 points as San Antonio is shooting 45.3% from the field.

Pau Gasol is leading the Lakers with 12 points. The team is shooting 44.4% from the field but has 20 turnovers.

Spurs 52, Lakers 34 (halftime)

The Spurs dominated the Lakers in the second quarter of Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center to extend their lead to 18 points.

San Antonio point guard Tony Parker leads all scorers with 15 points as the Spurs shot 47.6% from the field.

The Lakers had more turnovers (16) than made field goals (15) in the first half.  Pau Gasol leads the Lakers with 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field but has four turnovers.

In addition to missing six three-pointers in seven tries, the Lakers also missed six of nine free throws.

Spurs 26, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)

The San Antonio Spurs made the first basket of Game 4 and did not relinquish their lead to the Lakers throughout the first quarter Sunday evening at Staples Center.

Point guard Darius Morris converted a layup at the buzzer to close the Lakers' deficit to six.  The Lakers are shooting an impressive 60% from the field but have turned the ball over eight times in 12 minutes.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker leads all scorers with eight points. San Antonio is shooting 52.6% from the field with only two turnovers.

Dwight Howard has six points, three turnovers and five missed free throws. He was also called for a technical foul after swinging an elbow, seemingly frustrated by multiple Spurs fouling him simultaneously on an offensive rebound.

Pregame

The Lakers will try to stave off elimination on Sunday as they host the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center in Game 4 of their best-of-seven playoff series.

The team, which hasn't won a game in the series, is expected to be without Steve Nash (hamstring, hip), Jodie Meeks (ankle), Metta World Peace (knee), Kobe Bryant (Achilles) and Steve Blake (hamstring).

Center Tiago Splitter (ankle) is out for the Spurs.

For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Spurs.

ALSO:

Lakers' Pau Gasol: 'We've been murdered by injuries'

Lakers' Dwight Howard struggling to avoid offensive fouls

Nash, World Peace, Meeks, Blake to miss Sunday's game for Lakers

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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