SAN ANTONIO -- Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker scored 18 points each as the San Antonio Spurs led from early in the first quarter and beat the Los Angeles Lakers 91-79 on Sunday in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series.
Despite the double-doubles from Howard and Gasol, the Lakers failed to take full advantage of their inside presence, much to the consternation of the injured Kobe Bryant, who watched the national broadcast.
"Post. Post. Post," Bryant tweeted in reference to the Lakers' offense.
Bryant is out for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles.
Los Angeles' length caused San Antonio problems early as the Spurs missed their first three shots -- all inside the paint -- as they altered their shots to avoid Howard and Gasol.
Nash, who returned after missing nine games with a hip/hamstring injury, gave the Lakers their only lead with a jumper on the game's opening possession.
Duncan broke the drought, hitting a pair of jumpers over Gasol that gave San Antonio a 4-2 lead with 9:33 remaining and the Spurs led the rest of the way.
The Lakers shot 35 percent from the field in the first half, primarily missing shots from 11 feet and out. Los Angeles had 10 points in the paint, but could not consistently work the ball inside for attempts.
"What I would say if I was there right now," Bryant tweeted. "Pau get ur (butt) on the block and don't move till u get it."
Los Angeles pulled within 28-24 with 7 minutes left as Howard had four points in an 8-0 run, including an alley-oop dunk off a feed from Gasol to cap the run.
It was the closest Los Angeles would come as San Antonio extended its lead to 10 points in the quarter.
The Lakers shot 50 percent from the field in the second quarter, but also had seven turnovers.
Los Angeles went on an 11-4 run to cut San Antonio's lead to 54-50, but the Spurs rebuilt their lead once again.
Manu Ginobili hit a pair of 3s to give San Antonio a 70-57 lead to close the third. Ginobili was 6 for 13 from the field and 3 for 5 on 3s.
Leonard blocked a 3-point attempt by Metta World Peace and then made a layup on the ensuing fast break. Leonard faked an attempt, sending World Peace flying past him for an open shot that gave San Antonio a 76-63 lead with 8 minutes left.
NOTES: Duncan and Parker have won 593 games in 12 seasons, which is three shy of tying the Lakers' Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant for fourth all-time. ... San Antonio evened their overall series with Los Angeles at 75 wins apiece, giving the Spurs a .500 or better record against every team in the NBA.