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May 26, 2017

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Spurs gallop past Lakers as Thunder crackle Rockets

SAN ANTONIO, Texas--SanAntonio's star trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for 53 points Sunday to lead the Spurs to a 91-79 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in their NBA playoffs opener.

With Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant sidelined by a torn Achilles tendon, the result was exactly what many expected in the first game of the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series.

And it was just one of the lopsided results in the West on Sunday, followed by the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder's 120-91 triumph over the Houston Rockets.

Duncan posted the 139th playoff double-double of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Parker added 18 points and eight assists and also made three steals, while Ginobili, showing no sign of the hamstring strain that sidelined him late in the regular season, contributed 18 points.

Spurs point guard Parker noted that without Bryant, the Lakers were "a totally different team."

"It's not an excuse," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said of Bryant's absence. "I thought we had good shots, we've got to knock them down."

Recuperating from tendon surgery, Bryant still made his presence felt with a few pointers for his teammates on Twitter.

"Nothing worse than watching your brothers struggle and u can't do anything about it," he tweeted after the game ended.

Even with point guard Steve Nash back from an extended injury absence, the Lakers — the last team to clinch a playoff berth — clearly have a tough task ahead of them when the series resumes on Wednesday.

Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol did what they could. Howard scored 20 points with 15 rebounds and Gasol delivered 16 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.

Nash scored 16 points in 29 minutes on the floor, but the Lakers couldn't overcome 18 turnovers and lackluster 3-of-15 shooting from three-point range.

"We can't get discouraged that we lost the first game," Howard said. "We saw a couple of things that we could have done a lot better, and we'll do a better job in the second game."

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 24 points with six rebounds and four assists in the Thunder's rout of the Rockets.

Russell Westbrook delivered 19 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds while Serge Ibaka added 17 points and seven rebounds for the victors.

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