- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 24, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There would be no blown lead in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers saw to that.

Bryant scored 22 points, Lamar Odom added 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Lakers took command late in the second quarter to rout San Antonio 101-71 last night for a 2-0 lead over the Spurs.

Games 3 and 4 in the best-of-seven series will be played in San Antonio, where the Spurs have a 6-0 record in the postseason and have won 20 of their last 22 games.

Only 14 of the 222 teams to fall behind 2-0 in best-of-seven NBA playoff series have come back to win, including the Spurs in their second-round matchup with the Hornets. But this figures to be a much tougher assignment — San Antonio has to be perfect at home and win a game at Staples Center, where the Lakers are 7-0 in the postseason.

The Lakers had to rally from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to win the opener 89-85, and didn’t take their first lead in that game until the final three minutes.

They never trailed in Game 2 — the third time in their last four playoff games that happened. After a basket by Tim Duncan enabled the Spurs to forge the only tie, the Lakers scored the final nine points of the second quarter for a 46-37 halftime lead.

San Antonio would get no closer.

The Lakers had reason to be leery as the second half began, considering the Spurs outscored them 14-2 to begin the third quarter in Game 2 for a 64-45 lead before the Lakers stormed back.

But Bryant scored seven points in the first two minutes of the third period and Odom added seven more during a 20-10 run that gave the Lakers a 66-48 lead.

It was 74-57 entering the fourth quarter, and the Lakers made it a blowout by outscoring the Spurs 14-3 to begin the final period to make it 88-60. Reserves played the rest of the way for both teams.

Jordan Farmar scored a career playoff high 14 points, Derek Fisher added 11 points, and Pau Gasol had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 54.9 percent to San Antonio’s 34.5 percent and outrebounded the Spurs 44-36.