On Tap: The San Antonio Spurs

Kurt —  March 30, 2006

Top reason you don’t want to live in San Antonio: Hard to beat this one.

Playoff preview? Maybe, not likely, but maybe. Right now the Lakers are the seven seed 2 games ahead of Sacramento, who has cooled faster than Schwarzenegger’s re-election chances. That means Phoenix is the odds-on choice for the Lakers first-round opponent, but it’s not impossible that the Lakers could slip to eighth and San Antonio could hang on to the one seed.

Tony Parker sits? Parker did not play Tuesday night when the Spurs beat the Clippers due to a bruised right shin. Former Pomona-Pitzer coach Greg Popovich said Parker may miss two or three games, but then again could play against the Lakers. What do you think matters more to him: Having Parker play a relatively-meaningless game against the Lakers or be as healthy as possible for the playoffs?

Somehow, I doubt we’ll see Parker. Hopefully, we’ll still see Eva Longoria.

Speaking of the Clippers: I know, we try to ignore that other team in Staples (especially when they have the better record, one of the signs of the apocalypse), but I did want to point out that there is a great new blog for the team out there, Clippersblog. Expect quality as it’s from Kevin Arnovitz, the Slate magazine Fray editor who is a season ticket holder. (One must assume because he can’t get Laker tickets.)

Not to ignore those who have been doing the work at Clippers Topbuzz for a while. And thanks to a personal favorite, LA Observed, for pointing us to the new blog.

If no Parker, how much do the Laker chances improve? No Tony Parker means more Nick Van Exel and Beno Udrih. Can Smush Parker stay in front of either of them?

Against the Clippers, Beno got the start but Nick the quick played more minutes. Both have torched the Lakers off the bench this year — Beno is shooting 71.4% (eFG%) and Van Exel 50%. The good news is those are some small sample sizes, so maybe things will be different when they start.

The bigger problem has been Manu Ginobili, who has averaged 18.4 points on 69.4% shooting in three games against the Lakers. Then there’s Michael Finley, who has averaged 16.3 points per game on 71.3% shooting in those same three games. Oh, and they have some guy named Duncan too that’s supposed to be pretty good.

That said, the Lakers beat the Spurs earlier this month in one of their better games of the season. The Lakers took control of that game in the second quarter when Kwame Brown was on the floor (just trying to come up with some positives here).

The Lakers coming in: The Lakers bothered to play 24 minutes of defense against the Hornets Sunday, but that was enough. They’ll have to do better against San Antonio.

The few days off couldn’t have come at a better time as the Lakers have an assortment of small injuries — not enough to keep guys out of games but enough to slow them. Kwame’s hamstring, Kobe’s back, Smush’s thumb, Bynum’s ankle, all needed a little time off.

Standing up to Kobe: The LA Times Laker blog (which is not so much a “blog” in my mind as just a couple other beat reporters posting online, but that’s a discussion for another day) had an interesting interview with assistant coach Brian Shaw yesterday. Read the whole thing, but the part I thought relevant was how the veteran team Lakers — Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Ron Harper — used to get in Kobe’s face when he did something wrong, but that this younger team just meekly defers to him:

Is that something that’s especially important now that there are younger guys on the team, to still have guys around who will say, “You’re wrong.”

BS: It is, and we don’t have any. I don’t think we have one guy on the team who will stand up to him and say, if they were open and he shot the ball with three guys on him, “Hey, pass me the ball.” You should have done this, or you should have done that. We don’t have those types of personalities on this team.

Key to a Laker win: Lamar Odom. Kobe will get his points but having Bruce Bowen shadow him slows Kobe’s efficiency — he is shooting 48.5% (eFG%) on the season but just 41.5% against the Spurs. Still, he’s averaging 32.3 points per game.

But Lamar Odom is averaging 17.7 points on 63.4% shooting plus 10.4 boards per game — he is the match up the Lakers need to exploit. Also, Kwame is going to have to have another good defensive and rebounding game, basically do what he has done recently but now against better opposition.

That, and they need to play defense. Especially on the perimeter, where the Spurs are both well spaced and pass the ball very well. Oh, and you might want to keep an eye on Bowen in the corner.

to On Tap: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. I know its a longshot, but Memphis is losing games, and has some tough ones remaining. I think its obvious we match up better with Denver. Therefore, tonite, and the rest of the season, is a great opportuinity to build momentum going into the playoffs and possibly steal the 6th seed.

    I like Eva Longoria, but Im more of a Jessica Alba kinda fella. Hopefully the goods and kwame b. can keep bringing it


  2. Your right Kurt, the perimeter defense is the key.
    Every time the Spurs have beaten us, it becuase they rain wide open three’s like they’re free throws.
    We stop that. We Win.

    Watch Kwame lock up Duncan tonight!!

    I also agree with Kwame B.
    Lets close this season out with a huge run to get momentum and more importantly that 6th seed.

    What the HELL is going on in Texas.
    A man can’t go to a bar and Drink?
    Where is he supposed to go?
    They deserve to lose big time tonight.

    Go Lakers



  3. Do they arrest strippers for indecent exposure, too?

    Looks like Mihm might make it back before the end of the season per the LA Times.


  4. From San Antonio Express:
    “…Even with Parker sidelined, Popovich said Tuesday morning he didn’t plan to play Nick Van Exel for the remainder of the trip…Tim Duncan has scored at least 20 points in six of the past nine games. In the previous 30 games, he had four 20-point performances…Beno Udrih (sprained left ankle) is questionable.”


  5. Interesting Gatinho. So, who else do they put out top, Barry? It may really end up being about Kwame trying to stop Duncan.

    And, for the record, I’d rate Alba ahead of Longoria. But I think that recent poll that had Scarlet on top was dead on.


  6. I’m quite sure getting arrested for getting drunk in a bar is the 2nd sign of the apocalypse..

    The 3rd sign? Perhaps that NBA players wear tights…or that they’ve now just been banned..


  7. Jessica>Scarlet

    oh yea, GO LAKERS!


  8. Rumor’s of Kobe’s back troubles and it potentially locking up. 42 minutes and 35ppg is a heavy load to carry for 82 games. He says the injury is new to him. I’m sure it was new to TMac too once upon a time.

    If only the Lakers were a team instead of…
    (via thebasketballjones.net)

    Yeah, Scarlett for the win. They can’t be real, but they aren’t fake.


  9. notreallyimportant March 30, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    As a pomona student I would like to thank Kurt for mentioning my school (which never ever happens, anywhere at any time).

    That being said, I hope Sasha completely destroys SanAN and goes for 40.


  10. notreally, my wife is a pomona grad. She was the team stat girl back in the Popovich era.


  11. Hey, will give the fray-editor good information on the NBA if he will restore my capacity to post on Slate…..lol…really…

    Could talk about the NBA all night…..love it…….