- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The Los Angeles Lakers are the West’s first team in the playoffs. Kobe Bryant made sure of it.

Bryant scored the last of his 23 points on a 3-pointer with 1:46 left, and the Lakers secured a postseason spot with a 102-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

The Spurs have been the West’s No. 2 team most of the season, and Los Angeles validated that pecking order. The Lakers also wrapped up the Pacific Division in the final rematch this season of the 2008 Western Conference finals.

Tony Parker and Michael Finley led San Antonio with 25 points apiece. Drew Gooden made his Spurs debut after being signed a week ago, but played just 3 1/4 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds.

(This version CORRECTS APNewsNow. corrects score throughout. Lakers 102, Spurs 95.)



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