Jamaal Wilkes scored 26 points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 25 as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs, 113-100, tonight to take a 2-1 lead in their National Basketball Association Western Conference final series.
It was the first time this year that the Lakers had won in HemisFair Arena. Game 4 of the best-of-seven series will be played here Sunday afternoon.
The Lakers won with what Wilkes called "an unstoppable tidal wave" in the third period. The defending NBA champion Lakers, trying to become the first team since the Boston Celtics in 1969 to repeat as title winners, had trailed by a point at halftime, but outscored the Spurs by 34-19 in the third quarter.
"Our defense triggered in the third quarter," said Wilkes, who scored 12 points in the period. "When we pitch the ball up like that, it's like a tidal wave."
"We just had great defense and good timing," Abdul-Jabbar said. "We disrupted their offense and made them make mistakes. In the last half, we didn't let them do what they wanted to do."
Abdul-Jabbar won the matchup of 7-foot-2 centers by holding Artis Gilmore to 17 points. Gilmore had 14 rebounds to 10 for Abdul-Jabbar, but the Lakers outrebounded the Spurs, 52-44.
The Lakers also limited George Gervin to 15 points, which is a minor victory in itself. Norm Nixon had 22 points for the Lakers and Magic Johnson 13.
The Spurs were led by Mike Mitchell's 23 points but every time they rallied, either late in the third quarter or throughout the fourth, Abdul-Jabbar quieted a boisterous partisan crowd with a skyhook or Johnson and Wilkes worked another fast break.
The Lakers scored six straight points to take a 58-53 lead early in the third period. They had another six-point run about a minute later and led, 66-57, with 7:19 remaining in the period.
The Spurs cut it to 72-67 with a 6-0 run, but the Lakers scored six straight later in the period to make it 80-67 with 1:41 left.
The Lakers led at the end of the third period, 86-72.
The Spurs' Mike Dunleavy made two three-point goals within a minute at the start of the fourth quarter, but San Antonio couldn't get a sustained rally going. The Spurs pulled within 96-86 when Mitchell made two foul shots with 7:46 remaining, but got no closer.
The Spurs battled back from an early deficit with nine straight points that gave them a 21-16 margin on a layup by Gervin with 4:20 left in the first period.
San Antonio stayed ahead until Bob McAdoo came in late in the quarter and scored six quick points. Mitchell made a 18-foot jumper to end the quarter with the Spurs ahead, 29-28.