Getting statted up: Ginobili had 4 third quarter turnovers, Parker 2 as the Lakers for the first time this season showed signs that they can play lockdown defense against a contender in a crucial part of the game. It is a Phil jackson signature to finish quarters strong, especially third quarters, and the Lakers did that. The run was initiated with 5 consecutive offensive possessions going to the cup, 3 by Kobe, one by Smush, one by Kwame.
Odom and Walton were both +9 to lead the team.
The Lakers out-rebounded the Spurs 9-4 in the third quarter, and 41-33 for the game, 13-5 on the offensive boards.
Robert Horry was -22 and Tony Parker a -14.
The Spurs were in the penalty with 6:46 left in the 3rd quarter.
So much for that sprained ankle: What can I say? I guess he’s healthy. His frequent forays to the basket set the tone for the rest of the offense. Smush followed suit. The ball went frequently into the post and the bail out threes were dropping. And even Pop was impressed:
“The Lakers’ pressure was great in the second half and I thought we folded under that pressure,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Absolutely folded. End of story.”
“But when the Lakers pulled away with a 22-3 third-quarter run, he wasn’t carrying them. He was enabling them. Bryant’s energy was infectious, and seemingly everyone in a Lakers uniform benefited from it. Lamar Odom found his shooting stroke. Luke Walton forced turnovers and ran the floor. Kwame Brown crashed the boards. And when it was over, you could tell why people in Los Angeles are saying this is a different Bryant and a different Lakers team than the one that flamed out in the second round of the playoffs last season against Phoenix.”
Random observations: NBA’s Greatest Moments was a 1984 Finals recap and then David Robinson was interviewed? Yuck PTFSW… Cracked fingers and lotto bounces? “How many leather balls does your team have in storage?” asked Mr. Stern… Kwame, one alligator, two alligator, three alligator, and get out of the paint!