NBA: Spurs bounce back from tough loss to demolish Lakers

San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard poured in 31 points in just three quarters during their game against Los Angeles Lakers.
San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard poured in 31 points in just three quarters during their game against Los Angeles Lakers.PHOTO: AFP

SAN ANTONIO • Kawhi Leonard poured in 31 points in just three quarters as the San Antonio Spurs dominated in every facet of play on Thursday with an emphatic 134-94 blowout of the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Spurs' 134 points were a season high, as were the 72 points scored by the Spurs in the first half, and the 40-point margin of victory.

Pau Gasol added 22 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker had 13 points each.

The Spurs were in a bad mood heading into Thursday's home game after losing by three points to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

"I respect the way the Spurs played tonight - granted we didn't put up a ton of fight - but it's beautiful to see championship teams and the way they came out after one loss," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "How (that loss) made them play and how sharp they were - there's a lot to learn from being in this game, from watching them."

All 13 players who took the floor for San Antonio scored, and the Spurs (31-8) outshot Los Angeles 60 per cent to 41 per cent.

"You always want to handle a loss by bouncing back the next night," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

The lowly Lakers dropped to 15-28 on the season. They were led by Julius Randle's 22 points, but the rest of Los Angeles' starters combined for just 20 points.

In Madison Square Garden, Joakim Noah recorded his fifth double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to help the New York Knicks beat his former team the Chicago Bulls 104-89.

Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks (18-22) with 23 points as the Bulls fell to 19-21.

Former Bull Derrick Rose contributed 17 points. It was reported by the New York Post on Thursday that the Knicks had fined Rose US$193,848 (S$276,727) for failing to appear in Monday's 110-96 defeat by the New Orleans Pelicans.

"The team fined him a pretty hefty amount - the amount of the fine for missing a game," Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Rose explained that he had travelled to visit family in Chicago.

He returned to the team on Tuesday and apologised to team-mates and officials. He told reporters prior to the Knicks' win over the Bulls that he did not regret making his unscheduled trip.

"Family over everything," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs bounce back from tough loss to demolish Lakers'. Print Edition | Subscribe