Donâ€™t Sleep on the Spurs. There seems to be a lot of taking the Spurs for granted this season (and in the comments on this site), but that would be foolish.
They have the second best point differential in the league (nearly tied with Phoenix). They have the fifth-rated offense in the league with 110.8 points per 100 possessions, which is noticeably better at that end of the floor than last season (107.5). Their defense is third best in the league at 101.5 (points per 100 opponent possessions), which is just slightly off last seasonâ€™s league leading 99.5.
Oh, and they still have that Tim Duncan guy. And Tony Parker. And Manu.
That saidâ€¦. When these two met last month the Lakers won. It was also one of the Lakers better defensive efforts of the season.
The game was close but the Lakers took charge late in the third quarter with a 22-3 run, one that not-so-coincidentally started when Tim Duncan went to the bench in favor of Francisco Elson (bad news for the Lakers, Elson is out with a bum shoulder). The other Spur the Lakers took it right at on offense was the aged and slowed Robert Horry (-22 for the game). The Lakers got good play all around â€” as a team they shot 53.4% (eFG%) against the good Spurs â€œD.â€ Kobe led the way with 34 points and shot 60%.
The Lakers dominated the pain that night, outscoring the Spurs in it 62-38.
Guys the Lakers miss tonight. Lamar Odom had 18 points, 11 rebounds and made key defensive plays in the last meeting of these two.
By the way, the Lakers are 11-7 since he went down. Not bad at all.
Big night for Tony Parker? From the very good Spurs blog Pounding the Rock:
Look for Parker to have a big game. He got schooled by Kirk Hinrich on Wednesday and got benched multiple times. Here’s what Pop had to say after the game:
Asked what the home team did to control the focal point of the offense, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich answered, “Not a damn thing.
“It would have made more sense if he was hurt,” the Spurs boss added. “He is fine (physically). Which is not the way he played, if you catch my drift.”
Yes, Pop. Your subtlety is not lost on us… Parker sucked the donkey balls.
By the way. From Marc Stein at ESPN:
The Golden State Warriors have agreed to trade Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod to the Indiana Pacers for Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell.
Things to look for: With San Antonio you not only have to defend the paint (with Duncan and the slashing Tony Parker) but also the three-point line. Theyâ€™ve got guys who can knock it down â€” Parker is shooting 47.8% from beyond the arc, Ginobili 42.6%, Barry 48%, and Bruce Bowen 46.7% (and he loves the corner shot).
How well do the Lakers play defense tonight? Itâ€™s a key every night but you know the Spurs will bring it. If the Lakers play D like they did against the Heat itâ€™s going to be a long night.