Game Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Kurt —  November 13, 2007

Records: Lakers 3-2; Spurs 6-1
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.5 (5th); Spurs 110.8 (7th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.7 (18th); Spurs 100.2 (6th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Kwame Brown (although it could be Mihm)
Spurs: Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Fabricio Oberto

Lakers Notes: Everyone is healthy, which leaves Phil Jackson with some more interesting “who not to play” decisions heading into this dreaded Texas two-step (remember it’s the Rockets tomorrow night). With the big bodies along the front lines the next couple of nights, expect all the centers to be dressed and used, while some of the reserve guards watch the game in street clothes.

The best part of being healthy was the game Lamar Odom played against the Timberwolves. He gives the Lakers a legitimate second scoring option and that should keep opening up the passing lanes for others. So long as the Lakers keep running the offense — and not reverting to the throw-it-to-Kobe-and-clear-out offense — a team that already has the fifth most efficient offense in the league could get even better.

The Laker rotations tonight could be closer to what we all imagined over the summer, but this will be the first time they will get serious game action so their could be bumps in the road. For the Lakers to have a chance tonight Luke Walton cannot have another game off the bench like he did against Minnesota.

The Spurs Coming In: There has been some talk in the comments here about the Spurs being slow starters. If so, the league is in a lot of trouble this year because the Spurs are already the best team going. (Technically the Celtics’ numbers are better early, but if the two teams met in a seven game series who are you picking? Exactly.)

We’ve got questions about the Spurs, like how Manu Ginobli has an early season PER of 34.45. So I asked Matthew Powell from over at Pounding The Rock what is going on with the Spurs

What is Manu Ginobili eating for breakfast and where can I get some? Or, at least, what is he doing so well early on?

This has been the topic du jour amongst Spurs fans in the early season (and you can read hundreds of related words on my blog). The safe opinion is that he’s rested after not playing for the Argentine national team this off-season, but after watching him play I know it’s more than that. Though recklessness is his trademark, he’s playing with an abandon that I’ve never seen out of him; taking threes early in the shot clock, attempting ridiculous passes to the likes of Matt Bonner, even getting into the face of opponents (something he’s never done before this year).

Personally, I think he’s finally comfortable with the notion of asserting himself as one the best players in the league. Which he is, whether people notice or not. He’s currently leading the league in PER and fifth in points per 48 minutes. Is that all that surprising considering he was ninth and fifteenth in those categories last year?

I thought the Spurs traditionally started slow, so what else is going on here?

Well, their schedule has been easy, Ginobili’s been trashing defenses and Robert Horry’s and Jacque Vaughn’s rotten corpses have stayed in street clothes.

Outside of staying healthy, what does this team need to do to repeat?

Nothing. They’ll beat Boston in 5 games, Ginobili wins the MVP and I get the entire Spur home crowd to chant “Nancy boy” during all of Ray Allen’s free throw attempts.

Factoid That Would Interest Only Peter King: I’m doing some Lakers writing again at LAist. The pieces there are aimed a little more mainstream but are fun — starting with five reasons you should be watching the Lakers.

Also, I rarely link to Kobe retrospectives anymore, but I really enjoyed the new one up at Sports Hub LA — Kobe as The Great Gatsby.

Keys To The Game: One thing to keep an eye on tonight is pace — the Lakers are playing at the sixth fastest pace in the league (96.6 possessions per game), while the Spurs are one of the slowest teams (88.2, 29th in the league). If one team can force the game to be at their pace, it will be a huge advantage. Another thing to look for, the Spurs don’t foul much on defense, so if the Lakers can get to the line that will be a big advantage.

Of course, there are also the great matchups — Bowen on Kobe, Ronny/Kwame (and likely others) on Duncan, Fisher and Farmar on Parker. But the biggest test will be the guys off the bench (or Kobe when he’s in) sticking with the very hot Manu. That last one could be the biggest key.

Defense and holding on to the ball have been Laker weak points this season, but if they don’t fix that the next three games (tonight, then the Rockets, then Detroit) that Lakers record will take a big hit.

Tonight’s Game: Where The Sixth Man of the Year Happens: I think this is a great test for the Lakers and they will rise up — remember the Lakers took two of three from San Antonio last year. But unless Fisher has another .04 in him it’s hard to predict a Laker victory on the road against a hot Spurs team. Still, if you want to get a split in Texas, this may be easier than beating Houston on the back end of a back-to-back.

Where you can watch: Game time is 5:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into KCAL (9), with NBA TV having national coverage. For those “watching” online, I’ll be with you because I’ll still be at the day job during the game. Reader Dan wrote in last week to suggest the Yahoo! gamecast was the best one going, so check that out.

Kurt

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65 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. I believe the game is also on NBA TV for those people who do not live in LA, like myself.

  2. Ryan, you are correct, and I added that to the post. Thanks for the catch.

  3. When Ginobli is in the game, we need to have LO at the 3. Since Bowen will most likely guard Kobe, and Duncan will most likely have to guard Bynum/Turiaf/Kwame, the Spurs will have to put Ginobli on LO. This is a match-up I think we can exploit.

  4. New Kobe post I like up over at Sports Hub, comparing Kobe and Jay Gatsby (the main character in that book you were supposed to read in high school):

    http://www.sportshubla.com/2007/11/13/kobe-bryant-the-nbas-gatsby/

  5. My friends and I have noticed that Kobe’s biggest flaw is his lack of good instincts with when to keep the teammates involved and when to take over the game itself (even since the Shaq days). It’s an interesting comparison, but I’m not really a fan of paralleling life with novels I’ve read. It just seems naive to pigeonhole Kobe (or anyone) into a fictional character and declare he’ll never be proclaimed great because of his “tragic flaw.” Every player has flaws, even great ones. Kobe has the killer instinct, the drive, and the will to win that even other great players sometimes lack. While the comparison certainly has merit, it’s silly to draw any conclusion from it, like “Kobe won’t win as the #1 option” or “Kobe will never be great.” To me, it just feels like the kind of comparison that people write about a great player on a struggling team, until the great player finally wins one (or wins one as the #1).

  6. Manu is absolutely lighting it up right now. LO needs to be on him like stink on Britney Spears. They’re going to need to exploit him on the defensive end as well.

    I don’t mind silly comparisons of fictional characters. People need to eat, I guess. But if you’re going to make the comparison, take it to its logical conclusion. Much like Gatsby’s “life” is the subject of the novel with his surroundings and acquaintances being merely setpieces, a large amount of ink, paper, and digital bits are being devoted to Kobe despite what’s going on around him. It may very well be that Gatsby never achieved that which he set out to do, but how much does that matter? In the end, who is the one who had his story told?

  7. Mike in the Mountain West November 13, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    I have to disagree with Dan about the yahoo gamecast. ESPN gamecast is superior for watching the game because it’s more immersive combined with the radio broadcast. Although it’s a little cheesy the ESPN gamecast shows a computer animated ball fly towards the virtual bucket everytime someone shoots from the spot they shot it from. It adds a little bit of suspense and it’s easier follow the flow of the game.

  8. The Lakers are so deep right now that Phil might be advised to focus on specific matchups (on a minute-to-minute basis). That is not really his coaching style. He definitely sets his sights on the long view. However, with a back-to-back against two of the NBA’s finest, it would make sense to use a deep rotation and spread the minutes out to keep guy’s fresh. In the process, he will get a sense of which match-ups work best against these teams (who we will be seeing a lot of).

    Having said that, I think the Lakers are in a position to stay competetive against the western powerhouses because of the team’s depth in the post. Phil can throw a lot of big, strong bodies at Duncan and Yao. The key to both games will be how our perimeter guys deal with Ginobli, McGrady, Parker, etc.

  9. As I mentioned at the end of the article, Kobe is better compared to Wilt, than to the Great Gatsby. Like Wilt he yearns to win it all and begins by trying the sheer talent approach. While that accomplishes tremendous things, his goal is still not accomplished. Wilt finally got his when he got some decent (well more than decent) teammates around him and Kobe is probably in the same situation. Kobe has a tougher nemesis than Wilt ever did. While Bill Russell was always surrounded by superior talent, he was a contemporary of Wilt and Wilt was able to best him. Kobe has the problem that his nemesis played in the generation before Kobe came of age and he will never be able to show his talents in direct competition with him. He also has the added weight of winning while the idot sportswriters gave all the credit to his running mate and he is somewhat viewed as a 2nd banana – Wilt never had to compete with that, even if the sportswriters of the day disliked Wilt in the same way they dislike Kobe today (neither toadyed to the writers of their day).

  10. Kurt, I just read your 5 reasons article. Bynum is rebounding at a great rate, that means he’s jumping. He’s also dunking every time he gets close to the basket. I’m afraid he’ll roll his ankle one of these days. Bynum is huge. It would be horrible to see him go down with a twisted ankle for a while. What are you thoughts on that?

  11. If LO posts up Ginobili, be prepared for a flop-fest. Better to try to get LO started early against Finley.

  12. The refs are not allowing the flops as much in previous years – I think I would take my chances. Besides, Lamar is viewed as a very skilled player by the league and I think he gets the same benifits Ginobili does.

  13. Another fun matchup I hope to see tonight is Farmar v. T. Parker. This is a great game for Jordan to show his ability to stay in front of one of the quickest guards in the leauge. Also, I have always felt that a way to slow Parker down is to score on him and make him work on defense. Jordan, along with Mr. 0.4, will make Parker work on D tonight.

  14. I’m curious to see if the Lamar at the 3 scenario continues to reap benefits. I think this could be a sc enario that bodes well for the team, that and the fact that Ronnie has really become a legit 4.
    Lamar has a new freedom to find his spot on the floor, and if he plays tonight like he did against Minny, that’ll be a nice advantage for us.
    let’s hope our bench has a very productive night, obviously a key to a victory.
    and I hope we get to see the tandem of Fish and Farmar wear down Parker, since we don’t suffer when we bring in the bench, we should be able to wear him down.

  15. To follow up on #5, IMO whether Kobe will ever be great is not an issue. He already IS great, and has been for a while. Not perfect by any means, not the absolute best ever (whoever that might be), but undeniably great. If he never played another minute, I’d put him in the Hall of Fame. Second best SG I’ve ever seen in 40+ years of watching the Lakers and the NBA.

  16. Firstly… Hi Kurt [waves]

    Lamar has the length to make life difficult for Manu… a lil’ worried about whether he has the pace tho’. Ginobli’s deceptively quick, and oh-so-unorthodox as to his movement.
    Ronnie Turiaf – picked this! Great that he’s playing the way he’s playing, and definitely deserves a starter’s role.
    Bynum… great stuff at the moment – but he’s young: I just hope he continues in the current vein.

    I must admit to being hesitant on getting too excited about the Lakers just yet. Call me a cynic, but it’s been too many years recently where we’ve started well, only to implode.
    *Fingers well & truly crossed tho’.*

  17. i use espn gamecast, without radio since i’m usually working during that time. It’s actually not that bad except there’s not much going on during timeouts and inbetween quarters… too bad they don’t have a true ‘gamecast’ by some of their writers built in the way some sites have on college football games.

    haven’t tried yahoo yet, but unless it has some realtime chatting (broadcasting) that explains some stuff that can’t be seen via telecast, doubt it’s any better than the espn gamecast.

    i hope today’s game is competitive. all i’m asking for is a good fight, without injuries.

  18. Just to clarify, I actually said I think ESPN has the superior gamecast but that I was boycotting ESPN due to all the unnecessary spew. So I voted for yahoo.

    Dan

  19. Well our NBAtv here in the Philippines is showing New York-Phoenix now.

    Can’t see the game but I was checking the box. Tony Parker with 10 points all in the 1st q. Ok address the problem guys… shooting 4-7.

  20. Wow, Jordan Farmar just had the best dunk of his career. If we can cut down on turnovers we will win this game. Our defensive rotations are the best I’ve ever seen. 2nd Unit came to play.

  21. honestly, the police will have to come to my apartment if the Lakers keep turning the ball over like this.

  22. …because Im yellin so much, not because Im killing anyone

  23. This is a mean mean tease the Lakers are performing. Great defense, hustle and intensity, coupled with an inordinate abundant amount of terribly stupid unforced, uneccesary turnovers.

  24. wow, 5 points in an augenblick. offensive rebound, 3 pointer, block, and a layup.

    looking at stats now, KB and TD leading with 3 blocks a piece, and in general the stats say Kobe has been playing his team game up to this point…

    surprise, as i type this, Kobe launches a 3 that misses.

  25. I’m not watching the game (just gamecast), how are these turnovers happening? 14 in the first half already (with three minutes left).

  26. We started well in the 2nd quarter but the Spurs have hit too many threes. Halftime score is 38-54.

    Good Luck trying to catch 16 from San Antonio.

  27. It was 38-36, San Antonio. Then it was 54-38. In between was several turnovers, and a disjointed offense (probably because all the turnovers took the team out of rhythm). Brown was in the last 5 minutes when the lead ballooned, Phil shoulda kept Andrew on the court, he was playing great.

  28. Kwame played for the first time in the last six minutes of the half, and the Lakers were outscored by 15 or 16 pts in those six minutes. Coincidence? In my opinion, not entirely.

  29. Mike in the Mountain West November 13, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Kurt,

    If you’re able you can listen to the game online for free at nba.com.

    Everyone else who is watching, were the Spurs early scoring woes a product of great Laker defense or Spurs shots just not falling?

  30. Mike, it was a combination of both. The Lakers blocked a lot of shots in the first 18 minutes. The Spurs scoring in the last six minutes was due to wide open shots off turnovers or dribble penetration. I see that Phil doesn’t believe in the plus-minus statistic, as Kwame is on the floor to start the second half despite a minus 16 in only six minutes of play in the first half.

  31. 29. I wish I could, but it doesn’t really work in my office. I’m listening to something else right now.

  32. wow, this game went from competitive to a blowout really quick.

    we still have a quarter left, but from the box it seems that we can’t guard TP at all. 24 pts and 7 assists.

    at least we’re doing a great job containing TD, more or less, and Farmar is doing great… except he misses the freebie.

  33. Mike in the Mountain West November 13, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    If the Spurs shot a more reasonable 35% from three instead 50% we’d be within 10 instead of 18.

  34. Bowen is having a field day. 6/6 from the three.

  35. A mirror reflection of the game against the Hornets, I guess.

    If such is the case, we will have a very difficult season against good three point shooting teams. Bad news is there are plenty of them.

    Rotation defense is very slow, leaving three point shooters plenty of room and time to take their shots.

    Our guys need to work on defense. Otherwise, we can kiss our play-off hopes goodbye.

  36. San Antonio made 13 three pointers as against our 2. Thats +11 points for the Spurs right there and then.

    27 shots attempted. Wow. They had a field day shooting them threes. Not a good sign really.

    Can someone more technical break down the problem please. I am having a hard time analyzing what’s going on with our defense. Thanks!

  37. #33, a decent 3-pt shooting team will make over 50% if they have all day to shoot. In tonight’s game, as in the game against the Hornets, the 3-pt shooters had time to pull out a mirror and check their hair before a Laker defender got to them.

  38. This pointed out Laker weaknesses:

    Perimeter defense is still weak : Fisher was not a huge upgrade over S. Parker and can’t cover the quicker PGs, Farmar is still learning, Odom can’t stay with the quicker SFs (makes up for it somewhat with rebounding and ability to post up against them), Walton is mediocre at best defending, and Evans is inconsistent.

    Turnovers!!

    Three-point shooting is very inconsistent, which means they shouldn’t be taking as many as they do.

    Turiaf is still inconsistent overall, which is not unexpected, considering his experience level.

    But rebounding looks better than last year.

    Bynum is consistently looking pretty good.

    This is a learning year.

  39. The Lakers are 1) a young team and 2) in the throes of beginning to play defense. The combination means that players are rushing all over the place to deny other players that got open because their man rushed to cover someone else. Until the players stop equating activity with effective defense we are going to see open 3pt shooters in every game. The youngsters – and Kobe – must learn when to jump and when to drift.

  40. Wow, I thought Farmar needed more time in this one. He was out for stretches…and the Spurs took advantage.

    Bynum needed more touches. Reward him for earning his position.

    Lamar Odom is still getting it. I see flashes of what’s to come…

    Fish and the pick n’roll just don’t mix.

    Evans puts in mediocre effort on defense…unbelievable. He’s wasting his physical gifts.

    Note to PJ: Set up some pick and pop/pick and roll with Walton….

    NO Cook ! YAY.

    BTW Yi to me looks like a rich man’s Kukoc…

  41. Ugh… Why can’t we close out shooters in the corner? The turnovers (while annoying) didn’t bother me nearly as much as the fact that we don’t recognize when shooters are hot and stay at home on them (nasty Peja flashbacks). At a certain point you just have to put more faith in the frontline as the last line of defense and not leave a dude who’s hit 5 straight 3s to help. I guess it starts with the D on the Pauls/Parkers, but if we have the blueprint for handling Nash, why can’t we figure out similar fixes with these guys?

  42. Kurt,
    Maybe if you get a chance to run back through and watch the game, could you put up a run-through of those last six minutes. I was watching in gamecast during a meeting, and they were down by like 4, turned to talk for about 15 minutes, and came back and they were getting trounced. I know the Spurs like to go on those huge runs, but what in the world were we doing on offense?

    We just have to get more consistent across the board. That’s why SAS is so good….they play hard defense every minute of the game and make you earn every possession.

  43. 42. Due to a TiVo accident, I didn’t get to see this game, so sorry, no run through. Others who were watching may have some ideas.

  44. From my view, what makes guys like Parker and Paul different from Nash is quickness, speed, and first step. While Nash has those three things, Tony and Chris are slightly better in those departments. Nash, while being a deadly shooter, magnificent passer, and a crafty finisher (think fade aways in paint, and finger rolls with the hand on the side he jumps off of), gets into the paint with great ball handling skills and keeping D honest with other parts of his game. Parker and Paul just run right by you.

    They rarely need a head or ball fake to get the defender to shift his weight, set his heels, or anything like that, but rather just look to move past the defender with their speed and step. Playing against Nash, everyone is expecting the pass at some point. Playing against Parker and Paul, everyone is expecting to see them scorching into the paint, which makes defenses prone to (however foolish it may be when there are streaky shooters set all over the court) pack the paint once he beats that first man.

    On a different tick, it really seems as though Kwame has no desire to be a good player, or exhibit improvement. He has no drive, and it just completely baffles me. I am not expecting a career average of 20 and 10, but you think with his athleticism he could carve some sort of niche out for himself in the league. No heart, and no identity.

  45. The good news…

    The Lakers outrebounded the Spurs by 10. Bynum inhaled 12 of his own in just 27 minutes. As a team, the Lakers hit 18 out of 21 free throws. Farmar had 16 points in 22 minutes. They limited Duncan to just 5 points and 5 rebounds.

    The bad news…

    19 turnovers. 2-16 from 3 (Kobe and Farmar were a combined 1 for 9). Kobe didn’t get to the free throw line once. The Lakers learned nothing about perimiter defense from the Hornets game. They let Tony Parker and Bruce Bowen beat them on a night when Duncan was utterly human.

  46. This was the first truly disappointing performance of the season. The frontcourt played well, but Parker had his way with everyone Phil threw at him (much like Chris Paul a few games ago-anyone else notice a trend here?) and the rotations in the perimeter were weak (Bruce Bowen, 23 points?!?). I am not concerned with our offense -Kobe recognized that the Spurs defense was adjusted to him and did not force the issue, Bynum and Walton were solid and Lamar needs time – but the lack of energy in defense is alarming.

  47. Can our perimeter defense actually stop anyone? The big problem with giving help is that one guy is getting beat off the dribble in the first place.

    So…

    1. Stop the penetration
    2. Make a proper rotation
    3. Let the big guys play some defense and help them from the WEAK side.
    4. Read 3.
    5. Have I told that defensive help must come from the weak side and proper rotation follows it?
    6. If the 3-point ain’t going in, why not take more mid-range jumpers?
    7. The turnovers… I really don’t know what to say about it.

    On a bright side,

    Bynum is really improving as well as Farmar. Seeing the youngsters improving, I wonder if trading Kobe and Lamar (no, I’m not asking for possible scenarios nor anything) for some good young assets (a la Luol Deng) wouldn’t improve our offense and defense in the short term (and obviously on the long term).

    We would defer less to one player, allowing ball motion, which is of the utmost importance in this system. And we have all seen how good we look when we spread the ball around. Plus, I honestly believe that our combo of Centers/Power Forwards (not Cookie) is more than enough in the current NBA, as long as we play defense and we have perimeter players willing to share the ball while playing aggressively.

    We also did a really nice job on Duncan.

  48. 42- Sorry for the long post, here’s what I saw last night:

    We were down by less than 5 with about 5+ minutes to play in the 2nd qtr. Phil subbed out Farmar, Evans and Bynum (who were playing with great energy) and came back with LO, Kwame and Fish. None of those guys were at their best. Kwame and LO looked rusty, completley turning the triangle into a weird shape that resulted in several wasted possessions. We looked good the first quarter and a half, but the Spurs adjusted, we were collapsing hard on the block and penetrators and that gave us an early boost with some blocks and an 18-10 rebounding edge in the 1st qtr. The Spurs began making one more pass and our rotations were exposed, and Spurs shooters (Bonner and Bowen) were in their exact sweet spots. I would not have had Kobe on Bowen at any point in the game. Bowen is a stand still shooter and Kobe is a roamer on D, this is a bad bad combo.

    Kurt, you talked about tempo in your preview. I think another reason for so many turnovers was the Lakers rush to get the ball up the court and get a shot off. They will have to learn that there isn’t always a quick shot, and that defense leads to running (its pretty hard to run taking the ball out of the net all game).

    Lastly, why the hell do we send our pg’s under the screen when that ensures Tony Parker a wide-open 16 foot shot that has become a lay-up to him.

    Lots of questions, but they played hard, Kobe was making some amazing blocks and whenever they actually felt like giving Andrew the ball, he showed he can create problems for the Spurs. Phil tried, he was calling timeouts left and right in the 2nd quarter. That game really showed that we are young, and 2 of our starters (Kwame and LO) still need some games to get their timing back.

  49. Kurt,

    I wish you could have seen the game, that way your next post could be “Anatomy of an Azz Whooping.”

    Chris Mihm sucks and has no business starting. If this guy can’t suit it up and play a full game then he isn’t healthy and he needs to be inactive…..this is becoming a joke.

    Seriously, start Bynum already and reward the kid for his hard work and outstanding play. I thought that was how things worked, if you work hard and produce then you get rewarded? He can probably give us a solid 15 points and 12 reb if he played 35 minutes/game and they actually run plays for him.

    Kwame sucks. My buddies and I play a drinking game and take a chug every time Kwame:

    1) Fumbles a pass or otherwise displays stone hands
    2) Bricks a free throw
    3) Actually attempts an offensive move and inevitably makes everyone cringe and wince in horror
    4) Plays defense with his hands by his side
    5) Forgets what to do in the trianble offense
    6) Scores for the other team
    7) Forgets to jump at the opening tip
    8) Throws a cake
    9) When he invariably airballs a freethrow once a month we all take a shot

    Suffice it to say, we are thoroughly drunk at the end of every game. And no, that doesn’t make watching such horrific play feel any better.

  50. Our youngsters (Bynum, Farmar, Turiaf) are starting to come into their own. Of course the 2 who didn’t spend 4 yrs in college are not fundamentally sound on defense, but that is to be expected. The entire team has not emphasized defense in the last 3 yrs so it is not entirely a suprise that they don’t get it in one training camp. Since we got so burned down low last year – matador defense on the perimeter – I think the team is overreacting to penetrating guards and leaving the spot-up shooters open. We are swinging from one extreme to the other – another indication of a young team.

    I think the coaching staff has to have some complicity in this. One coach should be assigned defense and given real minutes in each practice. If a shooter hits 2 straight outside shots uncontested Phil has to call a timeout and remind the team – perhaps change the person guarding that player.

  51. The turnovers got so bad in the first half that I almost had to turn the game off. It was just ugly, I could just hear Chick saying “the mustards off the hot dog” all night long. Ugly, ugly game.

  52. The problem is the defense collapses way too quickly. Even before Parker or Ginobli got to the free throw line, the Lakers double teamed leaving a wingman wide open for the 3.

    When will they learn not to double-team and rely on their center or weakside help. Kobe and Turiaf looked for the block in the paint and got burned on the perimeter. I posted several days ago, about Kobe’s “opportunistic defense.” Looks great, but doesn’t win. See Bowen’s 3 pt FGM vs. FGA.

    Very sloppy game overall. Farmar and Bynum were very exciting to watch though.

  53. For this team to improve:

    1) Get rid of Cook, Sasha,, Evans, and maybe Kwame.

    2) Get a solid backup 2 for Kobe. (Sasha & Evans don’t cut it, it’s the lineups witn Evans that lost the game for us)

    3) I still think we need to upgrade the PG position. (this is mainly b/c of defense)

    Everything else seems to be OK. Turiaf needs to be able to play more minutes. Odom needs to work the rust off. Somebody needs to stepup if Kobe goes cold. The center position is a mess against the better teams. Bynum is the only guy that can hang. I think Jackson won’t start him b/c he wants Bynum to peak around playoff time. Seems wise.

  54. @52

    Easy, like someone said before, you don’t put Kobe on a shooter. His “opportunistic D” last night early was what was keeping us tight in the game. This is what we want because Kobe is an awesome weakside help on D because he can get so far up there. But the thing that really needs to be done is for the Lakers to stop helping Bynum with his D on the block. Unless he’s facing Shaq there’s probably no reason at all he can’t D his man straight up alone. He ain’t a baby and since he likes to swat alot then let him.

  55. So being able to blame youth for failure is why the Lakers keep drafting 19 year old PG’s year after year.

    Interesting.

  56. Last nights game was bitter sweet. They were able to stop Duncan but geez, Parker, Bowen, Ginobli, Bonner. How do you get beat by Bonner? He’s like another version of Cook. But we left all these jumpshooters open and basically played catch up all night. I applaud Kobe for his defense but nobody else stepped it up. Fisher played a bit out of control and they didn’t get their rhythm on offense at all. The Spurs definitely know how to play to their strengths. I think the Lakers are trying to find strengths besides Kobe’s scoring prowess. Odom should have scored more than Bonner, Bowen, and Ginobli. The combo of Fisher and Farmar should have slowed Parker. Fisher & Farmar only had 1 foul each?? Radmanovic was disappointing too. No help off the bench let alone trying not to be a defensive liability. He must go against Cook in practice. They share common skill traits. Basically nobody brought their A game for 4 quarters. We were teased for a quarter and a half. But even then we only scored 15pts in the 1st quarter. Kobe distributing the ball and concentrating on help defense just didn’t work against the Spurs. Kobe needs a 2nd scorer if we want to see consistency. Odom really has to step up. I’ve never seen a team that doesn’t try to expose the other teams weaknesses. Odom was being guarded by Finely. sometimes Ginobli. Odom just doesn’t get it day in and day out like say a Nash. Nash revels in the mismatch and makes you pay the price. The Lakers sort of glance at the mismatch and run the triangle to allow the Spurs to regroup. 12pts for Lamar the whole game. That is pathetic for someone who wants to be considered an all-star. What really makes me sick is watching Boston with their 3 all-star lineup still undefeated. While Kobe is here in the West trying to teach these guys how to win. How to make everyone around him better. I think that even Jordan himself in his prime would not be able to get this young team to the promise land. Jordan worked with an all-star on his side and veterans. I guess the coaching staff with all those years of experience is stil not enough to take this team to the elite status. I guess they think that Phil is going to babysit them forever or this is all they are capable of acheiving or Phil’s system is not suited for these guys and their potential.

  57. 53. (Paul)

    I don’t mean to beat the Bynum-should-start horse to death, but not starting him so he will peak at playoff time is obsurd. This guy was a top pick in the NBA draft and is making millions of dollars. He has shown improvement every year and last offseason was clearly his most productive. He is producing at an extremely high level and he should be given the starting spot he has clearly earned. What more can he do besides damn near lead the league in rebounds/minute and shoot 58% from the floor. Sure he still has a long way to go, but given that our other two options, Chris and Kwame, are horric NBA centers, Bynum should clearly be starting and logging 35 min./game. That way come playoff time this team has chemistry, Bynum is in much better shape, and he will have learned all that much more. If management is going to hang their hat on this guy then the least they can do is play him. And by the way, I don’t even like Bynum that much and I’ve advocated “shipping him out” for a veteran big man. But facts are facts and the fact is this guy is producing and shoud be our starter and go to center. Enough with the childish psycological games, start the guy already.

    And to all those that say don’t fix what ain’t broke, by that logic we shoud lower Bynum’s minutes so he will be even more productive….lol.

  58. 53. Yes, Sasha and Cook need to go. Dead weight. They remind me of guys I play against in rec league bball.

    On Kwame… his natural ability is there. But you can’t change who someone is. This is the fatal flaw in scouting. Recruits think they can “develop” a player with “potential”. Attitude and desire are a big part of being successful. Bynum has it, Kwame doesn’t.

    I personally think Evans is a good backup for Kobe. He just needs more time to get into his rythm. He can’t do that with guys like Sasha and Cook taking up his playing time.

    Luke can’t shoot this year. Maybe he got comfortable with his fat contract and forgot to practice in the offseason. Great energy, terrible rythm.

    Java Critt will be our answer for the quick PG’s out there like Parker and Paul. I can’t wait to see this guy get more time on the floor.

  59. 54,

    Please review Bowen’s stat lines. Kobe’s responsibility was to cover Bowen. If Kobe doesn’t get a block, will the ball automatically go in? 50/50, but probably not as his 2nd and 3rd blocks that game were contested by other players already.

    When the Lakers played Phoenix, did Kobe continually leave Bell open? No.

    PJ needs to stress the importance of covering your man and letting the big man contest the dribble-drive:

    T-E-A-M D-E-F-E-N-S-E

  60. Carter,
    You want quick? I suggest you look at Farmar. However, he is young and has to get his defensive legs together. He did play for Howland, so we know he has some foundation. I think Crit is more likely to develop into a 2, with some time at the 1, rather than replace Farmar. He would seem ideal to back up, then replace Kobe over time. I know that is heretical, but we have to think future to stay afloat. Right now he needs a crash course in defense – think D-Fenders anyone?

  61. The Lakers have some issues to address, but let’s not forget who they were playing. The Spurs make a lot of good teams look bad. It’s what they do.

    Tonight’s game is the big one. They know they got schooled last night. Let’s see if they come out with some fire.

    And don’t be too hard on Mihm and Kwame… yet. Don’t forget, Kwame has played like 5 NBA regular season games in the last year and Mihm has played about the same in the last 2 years. It’s gonna take a little while before they return to form. Even so, those guys didn’t lose the game for us last night. Mihm and Brown only played a combined 21 minutes. Yes, Brown was on the floor for a big run, but so were 4 other players who weren’t doing their jobs. If we want to compete, we will need Kwame to be productive. Bynum can’t play 48 minutes a night. And I’m much more concerned about how we match up with teams like San Antonio in May than the middle of November.

  62. Did anyone see Kwame catch the ball at the free throw line and immediately make a move towards the basket? He dunked with authority. Where is that fire the other 47 minutes and 45 seconds? We all know Kwame has a gifted body but he just doesn’t realize his own talent. When he’s fouled he doesn’t have the presence of mind to adjust and get a basket plus the foul, he just throws the ball off the backboard and goes to the line. Is there anyway Kareem or anyone else on the Lakers can finally help Kwame or is that just a pipe dream?

    Farmar looks great 2 MEAN dunks in the game, I ilke the idea of using Crit against the quicker guards. Let him learn now and see if he can contribute. If he is completely lost move on. It seems our penetration defense can only improve.

    Finally, let’s not get all rattled up about this game. The Spurs are the champions and it seems that they have not missed a beat, but have improved.

    Great execution and cashed in on the inept Lakers perimeter defense. They just hit their open looks, sounds simple huh? Ginobili is bringing it and has his confidence level setting on BUST YOUR @$$ MODE. This is not good for the rest of the NBA.

  63. Ginobili made the laker defense look horrible. he was constantly picking it apart. what’s gotten into him???

  64. Ginobli took the summer off. He’s played deep into the playoffs and in the summer in ’03, ’04 and ’06. Taking off the summer of ’07 will make him even more dangerous this spring in the playoffs.

  65. We should have traded Evans for Hassell when we had the chance…