Game Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Kurt —  December 13, 2007

Records: Lakers 12-8; Spurs 17-4
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.2 (8th); Spurs 114.4 (3rd)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.1 (12th); Spurs 104.9 (10th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Vladamir Radmanovic, Andrew Bynum
Spurs: Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, Matt Bonner, Francisco Elson

Lakers Notes: First game of a back-to-back against teams that are 8-2 in their last 10.’s Hollinger has the Lakers with the toughest schedule in the league so far and I think they’ll keep that title for at least another week. Yippee!

The Kwame Brown update: He practiced yesterday and likely will be back to provide some post defense and drop some passes next week. Luke Walton may come off the bench tonight, if you believe Phil Jackson.

As for tonight, with one game in the last six days, the Lakers should be rested and have all their holiday shopping done. (And if you are a player giving away the Lakers gear you take for free from the team store, that’s cheating. Buy something.)

The Spurs Coming In: Tim Duncan is officially listed as questionable for tonight. However, seeing as he wasn’t the one who beat the Lakers last time they played that doesn’t mean a ton. He only had five points.

Now, Tony Parker is also listed as questionable because of a sprained ankle (I bet we do see him) but if he is slowed just half a step, well, he’s still a step quicker than just about every Laker but they’ll be closer to him when he hits that little floater in the lane. The ankle has seemed to bother Parker’s shooting, he is 19 of 50 from the floor in his last three games (sans Duncan).

Despite the Duncan injury the Spurs have continued to bring Ginobli off the bench the last couple games, going with a starting five that puts a lot of pressure on Parker to provide the scoring. When Ginobli does come in he is lighting it up, shooting 42.9% from three in his last 10 games.

Parker and Ginobli are carrying the scoring load of late, although the Spurs role players are all capable of having a big night. Matt Bonner dropped 25 the other night. Hope his mom clipped that story for the scrapbook.

Last Time These Two Met: Bruce Bowen, 23 points, 6-6 from three. That should bring back some not-so-fond memories.

The reason that Bowen had a big game (and the Lakers lost) was that Parker and Ginobli got into the lane at will, the Laker defense collapsed on them and the Spurs kicked out to wide open guys at the three point line. There was other fun, like when the Lakers guards went under the screen on the pick and roll, and San Antonio drained the open shot behind the screen. The Lakers defensive goal was to defend the paint and they got burned by a team that could space the floor and shoot.

Also, the Lakers had a lot of empty trips thanks to 19 turnovers, plus they shot 2 of 16 from beyond the arc (the Spurs defend that shot as well as any team in the league.

Keys To The Game: My guess is we will see Parker and not Duncan, but that could well be reversed. And if Duncan starts maybe Ginobli does too to provide a guy who can penetrate to the first five. Popovich will make that call close to game time and most likely will not call me to let me know his plans in advance.

The match up I’m looking forward to seeing: Ariza on Ginobli. I think Ariza’s length and athleticism could give the Argentinean problems, plus Ariza likes to go to the basket and that may get a foul or two on Manu.

The Lakers cannot really stop Parker or Ginobli one-on-one, the problem last game was that the entire perimeter defense collapsed on those two when they started to drive, leaving Bowen and others wide open looks from three. The Lakers have to trust their rotations, trust their bigs coming from the weak side to make some blocks. If they do that, you go a long way toward stopping the Spurs (and playing better defense on the whole).

Tonight’s Game: Where We Miss The First Five Minutes Because The Early Game Runs Long Happens: Yes the Spurs have injuries to their big three, but part of what has made them THE SPURS the last decade is that they play their system well, right down to the 12th man on the bench. This team is no pushover, regardless of who plays. That said, if the Lakers stay disciplined on defense and stay in their system, they can win a close game. This will be a good measuring stick for just how well the Lakers are playing now.

Where you can watch: We all get to spend some time with TNT tonight, and here are 15 reasons to watch the doubleheader tonight (from Hardwood Paroxysm). What we need to do is come up with a TNT studio hosts drinking game….

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

  1. Good anaysis.

    I was shocked when I read the Spurs likely starting five–Finely, Bowen, Bonner, Elson. Those seems like over the hill and scrubby players, of course that is never the case with the Spurs so I’m sure they will play well. It just seems funny that is the lineup of the defending champions.

    I disagree with your statement that b/c Duncan didn’t beat us last time they won’t miss him much. (1) Perhaps the reason why other plays beat us so much was because our defense was so focused on Duncan, and (2) Duncan is always capable of having a big game no matter how poorly he played last time. Not having Duncan is a big blow and it signficantly increases our chances of winning this game.

    I too am looking forward to seeing Trevor guard Ariza, but my guess is he won’t be the stopper everyone expects. I think he’s getting slightly overrated for his defense–tonight will be a good indicator. I do like his athleticism, but I’m not ready to say he is a stopper.

    I really hope the Lakers come out and play this game with 100% focus and intensity. None of this Lamar missing, Luke sucking, and the team turning the ball over crap.

  2. I’m not sure how Trevor would guard Ariza, but hopefully he will guard Ginobli instead.

  3. I’m not exactly sure what the ESPN Accuscore Projection is, but it has LA as favorites tonight at a 57% chance of winning….

  4. 1. I don’t mean to downplay Duncan’s role, he opens up a lot of things for them. If he is playing and Kwame sits, the Lakers will need a good defensive game from Drew.

    And, I don’t think anyone can shut down Manu, but like anyone you can slow him, make him less efficient.

  5. “He practiced yesterday and likely will be back to provide some post defense and drop some passes next week.”

    haha, poor Kwame.

    I’m interested to see how Trevor guards Manu, but I’m more interested in seeing if Kobe does. Manu is playing more minutes, especially with the Spurs a little shorthanded, so I expect him to be out there for stretches with the starters.

  6. Also don’t forget about Duncan’s defense, just because he wasn’t great offensively last game he is a great defender that they will sorely miss.

  7. I think Barkley plays the drinking game before he hits the air. All-star Slam dunk contest 2 years ago, captured Charles drunk on-air “If I weren’t just drinking that would have been a great dunk. I mean if i was drinking, because I didn’t, he wouldn’t have received a strong vote from me.”

    Anybody remember that?

    Keys to success (not mentioned by Kurt):
    1) Kobe and LA cannot afford to play opportunistic defense. Last time, it left Bonner and Bowen open for 3s. It might suit the Lakers best to play zone defense. Haven’t seen much of it from Phil, but it will take away those wide-open looks.

    2) The Lakers cannot settle for 3 pointers against this team. Drive the lane and get them in foul trouble. If they switch up to a zone, put the shooters in.

    3) Limit turnovers. Fisher and Farmar need to handle the ball. Keep it out of Kobe’s and Lamar’s hands. Bowen is a good defender and Ginobli + Parker + Horry will step in for a flop. If the Lakers limit dribbling and move the ball around efficiently, they will find seams and not allow players to setup for the charge.

  8. 7- I agree with you about not settling for 3’s. To add to that, I think the Lakers should make a concerted effort (like they did agaist G.S.) to pound the ball to Bynum and Kobe on the block. Also, defensivley, Stephen Jackson had a lot of success defending Ginobli by playing him honestly, mainly, not falling for pump fakes, and staying in front of him. Easier said than done

    How bout: take a drink everytime Kenny Smith speaks 30 seconds without making 1 point (pour small shots)

  9. I think I would rather listen to Barkley and Kenny Smith than Bill Walton and Stepehen A. Smith. Honestly I don’t think either one of them have ever made a coherent remark in their life.

  10. Part of Bill Walton’s charm is that he doesn’t try to make a coherent remark. I despise Stephen A. Smith and I mute the TV everytime I hear him and change the channel every time I see him.

  11. 9-That’s like saying you’d rather drown than get buried alive…anything is better than getting buried alive. ha. I don’t really think Barkley and Smith are that bad, but Kenny Smith is just one of those guys that starts making one point and never gets to the end of it.

  12. Mike in the Mountain West December 13, 2007 at 3:16 pm has a nice scouting report up. A great feature of their new website.

    Here is one of the graphs I found particularly interesting,

    “Offensively, the first priority is to keep our turnover number low. We must be smart with the ball and value each possession. We need to be ready to take advantage of certain things that San Antonio likes to do defensively. For example, we know that they will use some zone on side out of bounds and after time outs. Also, when Finley or Ginobili end up guarding Lamar , they like to front so we must be ready with our pressure release.”

    Not ever having played organized ball I’m unfamiliar with what “fronting” is and what they mean by “pressure release”. Can one help with that.

  13. In my mind, keeping Ginoboli’ s penetration to a minimum is crucial. He gets to the line constantly and kills you from there. Mix in Kobe and Ariza on him unless Kobe picks up some fouls.

    The Lakers should also look to pick up the pace against this team. They are hurt and not particularly young. Easy baskets in transition, particularly by our younger big men running the floor and getting their defenders into bad spots would help quite a bit. Hopefully without the turnovers.

    Parker will be Parker against the Lakers. But make it hard for him on defense. Injuries tend to exert their worst effect on players while playing defense. I might even bring in a little Crittendon to throw a big body at Parker who can score in the lane. a few fouls early and he will sit, and that ankle will stiffen up some.

  14. I think “Kenny’s pictures” are the greatest invention since “teh internets.”

    Is Greg Anthony still around? That guy used to get under my skin with his wanna be pretentious, intellectual insights. Tim Legler would make a great point and Greg would inevitably follow up with “yeah, but here is the real key to the game” and then go off about the impact of some guy picking his nose. Without fail Greg would try to make a point that nobody else in the world had thought of, which I guess is his job, but it got on my nerves–much like John Madden.

  15. the Lakers need to come out with some SERIOUS INTENSITY, right out of the gate! play hard D, scrap for the loose balls, Ronnie needs to get it quick if Vlad is an early space cadet. I’d like to see our guys get a lead and maintain it, and build it with the second unit, thus giving our starters some time to “save” a little bit because tomorrow night at GS won’t be a pushover, and the Clips on Sunday…well, I just hope the Lakers don’t forget about those other teams, if they can win 2 out of these 3, I’ll be happy, and a W doesn’t count more if it’s against SA, or GS or LAC.

  16. TNT Drinking Game:

    Take a drink every time:

    1). Barkley says “First of all”.

    2). They start to play the music to go to commercial and someone is still making a point.

    3). Barkley screams “Ginobili”

    4). They have a technical issue like the video/kenny’s pictures not working

    5). Barkley says he loves someone or says someone stinks. (So if he says “I love Kobe, but his teammates stink”, that is 2 drinks)

    6) They show a picture of someone’s head attached to another persons body.

    This should be enough to get you adequetly drunk.

  17. In the previous SA game, the Lakers took a “let’s focus on Duncan, collapse the lane and force the other guys to beat us” defensive mentality to the tune of Matt Bonner scoring 15 and Bruce Bowen dropping 23. Well, with my convoluted logic I think we should try something like that again… Imagine: Duncan doesn’t play, an improved Farmar guarding a recovering Parker, new Laker Ariza guarding Manu, Kobe outside, Bynum inside, Lamar doing something more than sitting on his hands… I’d figure Bonner and Bowen need to go for a combined 50 for them to get a win tonight. Ha. Of course, I’m oversimplifying… Its a testament to the Spurs system that they’ve won 5 out of the last 6 (mostly without Duncan), but I’m hoping that the Lakers are starting to gel and start realizing their potential…

  18. wow Darius, that was spot-on. I remember the first time Ginobli emerged, playoffs ’03, and Barkley just kept screaming “Ginobli”…if only Horry’s three didn’t rim out in Game 5 the Lakers would’ve went back to LA up 3-2. We would’ve won our 4th straight title and Shaq would’ve been resigned…I know they tighten those damn rims!

  19. Mike in the MW (12): Fronting is defending a man in the post by playing in front of him (between him and the ballhandler on the perimeter), rather than behind him (between him and the basket). The objective is to deny him the basketball. Since most guards not named Smush can make a pass over a fronting defender alone, this tactic usually requires the man defending the ballhandler to crowd the ball, to prevent an easy pass.

    This in turn invites the ballhandler to dribble around his man. If this happens, the post defender may be required to help, and the weak side defenders must be ready to rotate.

    Not exactly sure what “pressure release” is intended to mean here–it usually refers to a mechanism in a basketball hoop–but it might mean swinging the ball around the perimeter quickly enough to gain an easier entry on the other side of the court.

  20. 12. I know what “fronting” is. Thats when the opposing playing tries to prevent the post entry pass by playing in front of the offensive player. But I am not sure what “pressure release” is and how that would help if Odom is fronted in the post. If someone can shed some light on that it would be appreciated

  21. 12. First off, that scouting thing on the Lakers web site is my favorite new feature. I plan on having more on the Lakers web site in the coming weeks. Great stuff.

    Everyone (particularly Brian in 19) explained “fronting” well. I always heard pressure release in terms of moving to create passing lanes for a guy trapped by two defenders, but I would think the principle would be the same, giving the ballhandler another good option if the post player is being fronted. I think Brian is right, what you’d like is two quick passes around the perimeter that can get an entry pass on the other side of the court before the defense can really set up.

    If someone has a better definition, we’d love to hear it. I could be wrong.

  22. Kurt (21). I think you are right on about the “pressure release”. Definitely has to do with creating an oppurtunity to beat the fronting defense. A specific play that they could be refering to is the the flash from the weak side to the FT line. When the post player in the “hub” of the triangle is being denied the ball, the backside forward flashes to the FT line. This creates a great oppurtunity for high/low action or just a standard ball reversal to create offense on the backside. I’m just guessing though, pretty obscure the way the term is used in their write up.

  23. 12/21: The triangle offense essentially has it’s own vocabulary, worthy of it’s own dictionary. Not exactly sure what it means within that context, but I think people have suggested some good ideas.

  24. Darius, you are on fire today. First, great point about the flash to the free throw line, if the post guy can seal you can just dump it down for two. And, great drinking game.


    that’s what i found when i googled pressure release. so yeah, i think it’s a play used against teams that overplay (fronting), two quick passes to a cutting man when you can’t pass directly to the wing.

    Tim not dressing could make it a fun day for Bynum. I really hope so. 🙂

  26. it shows how much class the folks around here have, not one joke about (the other) “pressure release” …(well except maybe this one…)
    from darius-
    This creates a great oppurtunity for high/low action or just a standard ball reversal to create “offense on the backside”.

  27. Pretty funny stuff there, Chris. Although I was speaking strictly in basketball terms, that seems like some Jay-Z “monster of the double entendre” word play on my part, unintended as it was.


    Here’s a happy story. Santa and Rudolph sitting in a tree…

  29. The Abominable Snow Bumble…
    rolling in his grave.

    – 5 –

  30. Key points to beating the Spurs:

    1. Limit turnovers to 10-12. Anything more than that would be disastrous.

    2. I would allow Bowen to beat me once more rather than GInobili hitting 10 free throws. Limit his penetration, play good, honest defense. Manu will likely hit the 20-ftrs and the threes but make him do so. Not the free throws!

    3. Tony Parker will make us look bad once more, esp if he goes brokeback on us. Rotating bigs will be key but free throws will kill. Give Tony the 18-ftr, not the scoop teardrop.

  31. Derek, happy story indeed. closest we’ll get to Kobe saying ‘I was dead wrong, I apologize.’ at least I think that’s what he said. still being arrogant and can’t quite fully apologize, adding the ‘lit a fire a bit.’

    … for some reason, I half expect him to totally rescind that remark after getting blown out by a TP/TD-less Spurs.

    … no, I’m not saying we’re gonna get blown out, but IF it were to happen…

  32. Lakers are building up some momentum, hopefully this train can take this Duncan-less team out. Really the Lakers need to show some toughness and make sure their opponents know it’s not alright to have a lay up line. Bynum or Turiaf needs to send Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to the ground and make em remember why they shouldn’t penetrate.

    Also like a lot of you guys want to see someone contain Ginobili, whether it’s Kobe or Trevor. Let’s use our early season strategy of balance on offense and not get burned on wide open jumpers. That means staying at home on defense. Yea I’m speaking to you Kobe.

  33. 28-Awesome!
    I haven’t felt this way about a laker team in a long time….a real long time. I lost my Laker heart when Shaq came to town and broke up the mediocre Laker team I grew to love, you know, the one with Sedale, Vlade, Peeler. That team kinda sucked, but they played well together without a star. I’m finally growing another Laker heart after all these years. I just hope they don’t break up the team in the near future.

  34. I was watching some E! news just now, and Ryan Seacrest reports that Tony Parker won’t be playing tonight.

  35. the other Stephen December 13, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    i don’t care what all of you say. if we lose, we might go back to the stone age. or not.

  36. I reiterate, Walton should not start. there are several reasons why, mainly floor spacing, defense and energy. Things Turiaf, Vlad and Ariza all bring to a team that can’t have all of its ‘hustle’ guys come off the bench.

  37. Huge break missing both Parker and TD. They better take advantage.

  38. Five 3-pt attempts in the first six minutes. Not good, and not smart.

  39. Wow, did we just shoot 28.6% from the field? and still within a point of Spurs? That’s pretty nifty.


  41. Turiaf offensive interference + national television = 2 points.


  42. We’re making the spurs look sloppy. 8 TOs to our 4. But in general, not quite the kind of game i expected against a team missing two of the best players in their respective positions.

    And what’s up with our threes? Oberto that much a presence that Bynum can’t work around him? He did block Trevor, so he’s more than just a scarecrow, but still, this Bynum kid had the audacity to say he was disappointed that TD wasn’t starting…

  43. Happy Holidays John. Hope the Clippers can turn it around.

    Bynum is getting to be a good passer in the post

  44. Barkley-did the “Ginobli”
    Kenny-got lost during one of his points

    drink drink (responsibly of course)

  45. Somebody fill me in; what was the technical about?

  46. Bynum lost his cool. He thought he was getting fouled all game. Hopefully he will learn to stop complaining. He snapped, got 1 tech, didn’t relent soon enough and got tossed. He has a habit of complaining, its one he needs to break

    we need to win this game. bench has been better than starters again this game. Hopefully ariza, jordan and vlad can help kobe close this game out

  47. I believe the first T on Andrew was for his tangling up with Oberto, and the second was for his jawing with the official. Why there was no T on Oberto is beyond me, but the Spurs were getting increasingly “physical” in the quarter without fouls getting called, so the Lakers (especially Andrew) were starting to get frustrated.

  48. That Horry dude on the other team, he’s quite productive for an old man. 4 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 6 points on 2-2 shooting. Ouch.

    If only Kobe got some calls during his drives. It’s hampering our offense, our defense, his %, our temper…

  49. John R. might be on to something, I mean it’s obvious that there is a Laker conspiracy once Bynum got tossed…clearly the reason why the Lakers went on a big run and won this game…and letting Ginobili getting away with push off after push off and almost hurting Fisher? Another reverse psychology move by the ref’s to put this game away for us…
    Kudos David Stern, you truly work in mysterious ways

  50. Man, the Spurs are so deep. Finley/Horry/Barry is a nice trio to have for the playoffs.

    Bench did it again. Don’t really like Walton, especially if he’s shooting 3’s, might as well have Vlad in there for that. Kobe is having a great season. Rony played some big minutes, great energy

  51. 1) ugggglyyyyyyyyyy. if we play like that tomorrow night we’re gonna get smacked.
    2) what happened to the luke walton of last year?
    3) is there an online petition somewhere that i could sign to stop odom from shooting 3’s? although, his layup percentage isnt much better
    4) did the ref’s swallow their whistles? there was a lot of missed calls down in the paint and things got really chippy. its getting too be quite ridiculous how few calls we’ve been getting, especially on kobe’s drives

  52. Odumb is such a bonehead, it’s so obvious his tentativeness always hurt our offense. He’s also absent in the defensive side. He’s guarding ol’timer Finley and he looks owned by everyone he guarded. An example was that last 2 mins of the game with only 8 secs to play (even somebody shouted it on play) and he just dribbled and tried a Three. ODUMB!!! and that last fastbreak plays..he can’t get a lay with just finley guarding. Why can’t we just set him up like Turiaf….ODumb!!! please dont try to create for yourself. Please stick to just rebounding and maybe I can learn to appreciate you while you’re still with us.

    Walton is just out-of-sync tonight (look when they’re on a huddle and he’s always the one who’s being lectured to be out of place) wish Ariza or Vlade had his mins during 2nd half.

    Big props to Ariza, Turiaf, Mamba, Fisher and Jordan for keeping us in a game. I felt bad for Vlade since the refs keeps getting him out of the game due to bogus calls, but he still had game.

  53. Dirtiest team in the league, bar none.
    The NBA really, really should do something about the Spars (no, not a typo – just a more applicable name).

  54. We shot 48% from inside the arc (32/67) and 29% from 3pt range (6/21). Odom was 70% from 2 pt. range. We have to make a concerted effort to get the ball inside early and often. The 3’s that come from double teams out of the post or penetration are fine, but the other 3’s are counter-productive to the offense and hurt transition D.

    Nonetheless, we beat a fundamentally sound, great coached team. We beat a lineup of Barry/Ginobli/Bowen/Horry/Oberto. Thats a combination of 1st defense, olympic MVP, national team players and all champions. Our young team got physical back with them, and we won ugly.

  55. Without Duncan or Parker the always chippy Spurs had to play dirty. It’s a shame they got away with it as often as they did, but the Laker showed that they could play through that. The 2nd half 3-point shooting kept S.A. in the game. Would have been nice for the Lakers to get a blowout (and some rest for the starters), but even without their 1st and 3rd best player, San Antonio can stretch out a game. Let’s not forget: they have the most productive bench in the league. For those who worry about the Lakers playing tomorrow night like they did tonight… don’t! The Warriors will make our offense look awesome as usual. The Spurs pushed our boys around, but the undersized, over-eager Warriors will show their soft underbelly like they always do.

    PS: I acutally like the Warriors, but Nelly-ball can’t touch the Triangle.

  56. Maybe Odom would thrive much better off the bench with Farmar as the main post threat.

    Then Phil could try Radman or Walton starting at the 4 spot.

  57. Did you just suggest we start Farmar is our best post threat? Okay…..

  58. Sign me up for the petition to make LO stop jacking up threes. Leave the threes to Vlad, Kobe, and Jordan. Give credit to the Spurs for making this a Brokeback Mountain situation that kept them in the game with all penetrating and kicking back to the perimeter. The game was fugly, but a win is a win. The situation of Drew getting ejected confused me. Did anyone else get confused with the officiating?

    On another note, the Bench Mob impresses me everytime I see them play. They bring life into the game and make it fun to watch (unlike the Spurs).

    Before I finish, I would like to apologize with my sad attempts at humor =]

  59. maybe John R is right, there is a conspiracy theory that the Lakers are the cause of global warming too.
    but it has been a while since we heard from him.
    it was a pretty physical game tonight, good thing Ronnie was healthy, i think he was a major factor for us getting the W tonight.
    Maybe he should be our number 2 center all the time???
    (I know, PJ likes to play players by match ups)
    but I think we will be seeing more of this. (specially when it really counts)

  60. I think he meant Farmar + Odom as our main post threat off the bench 🙂

    Anyway, ugly, ugly ball though Bynum clearly gaining more confidence and a sense of swagger. We spoke so fondly of our bench but forgot that SA has a fairly good bench of their own, Manu/Barry/Horry.

    Maybe we ended up ‘saving young Bynum’s legs’ for tomorrow against the Warriors, where he will play an integral part. Yeah, it’s been that kind of a season for us, where every wrong seems to be a right in some odd way…

  61. Am I the only one that sorta liked the ejection? I mean, ya, Bynum’s got to learn to keep his cool, and his absence could have been costly, but I still thought it was worth it for a few reason. First, I’m a believer that these kind of outbursts now earn respect down the road. Oberto was being a punk, and next time these teams meet up, or this crew refs Drew, I expect some make ups. Also, I definitely think it got us fired up a bit, which we sorely needed all night. But most of all, it was AWESOME to see Kobe turn on a dime from trying to get Bynum to shut the hell up to getting in the face of the ref to show he had his boy’s back. That kind of stuff pays off down the road.

  62. And by the way, for those slamming Odom: Yes he again did not have a great night, and he still had 15 points on 50% shooting and added 8 boards. That is valuable.

  63. 56/60. My bad. I get it.

    I agree about Odom and the threes. Drives me crazy to see guys just pulling up and shooting them early in the clock like they did tonight.

  64. 61.

    You are absolutley right about how Kobe got into the ref’s face to defend Bynum. That shows the team cohesiveness and brotherhood that we need to be a powerhouse.

    Have you guys notice how on national TV, the station, almost always tries to go to commercial or a stats presentation when there is an altercation between players. What I am citing here is sometime in the third or maybe second when Lamar got into an argument with on the Spurs players?

    Anyways, long live Bynum.

  65. Stat of the night?

    Zero fourth quarter turnovers for L.A.!

  66. I wanted to see the game live but I guess I’ll have to settle for the replay tonight. One good thing about replays is that you notice the “other” things that happen on and off court therefore you “see” the whole game better.

    Another thing that is very good about this game is the 8 total turnovers and the Win of course…

    Spurs are a burly team. You do not take them lightly and they are not light. They are dirty and we should brace for that if we meet them in the playoffs.

  67. Ugly game. The Lakers came out flat. They had no energy, though they picked it up after Bynum got ejected and put the game out of reach in the 4th. If they come out flat like that against GS, and take 3’s early in the shot clock, they will get ran out of the building. But if I was betting on thegame I would put my money on Phil Jackson and the Lakers. Nellie doesn’t have much success against Phil Jackson.

  68. Two tough games coming up. Warriors want revenge, Clippers would love nothing more than to beat the Lakers (or anyone for that matter).

  69. I think Carter brings up an excellent point…
    the ejection for Andrew was a pivotal point in the game, because the team, mostly Kobe, instantly came to his defense, which was a huge sign of support.
    then it looked like they then went on and “won it for the gipper” so to speak, because they turned it on right after that.
    I liked Kobe’s comment, that he was proud of him for his first ejection, …’went out in style’.
    I think one of the keys to any teams success is their team chemistry, that’s why we lost to detroit in the finals that year, they had it, we didn’t.
    the Spurs and the Suns both seem to have “it” (each others back), and maybe as a result of this summer’s crazy off-season, we are now getting “it” like we haven’t had it in years.
    so young Andrew’s ejection was good for the game ;ast night, and maybe even better for the team, and the season, if it results in more team chemistry!
    if Andrew continues to grow like he has between last season and this one, he is going to be a beast down low, and the lakers should benefit from this for years.
    good point Carter…

  70. 50 – i’ll be signing that petition

  71. I haven’t heard anyone comment on the SA defense. They did a pretty good job of holding us out on the perimeter and we didn’t do much diving through the modified zone. This is where I really get frustrated with LO – he could cut repeatedly, but doesn’t and is left with a long spot-up, contested jumper.

    There was one play where Kobe brought up the ball, dribbled over to the side – was double-triple teamed – and none of the other Lakers moved to where he could pass to them without passing over the top. Finally he took a degree difficulty 12 shot and missed. When any teammate gets double-teamed shouldn’t at least one player move to create some type of a passing lane? Just asking.

  72. Mike in the Mountain West December 14, 2007 at 10:41 am

    One thing I was really glad to see was much improved defense. You can see it in the 11 steals and the Spurs 41% shooting. There were several times where the team really hustled to rotate and help each other. We also got them commit a 24 second violation, a sign of good rotations and tough D. Hopefully we learned something from this and will keep that up.

    It’s true that technically the Spurs bench produces more than ours does but almost half of their production comes from Ginobli, whereas we get it from everyone. As a unit I think our bench is the best in the league, bar none. Our bench could probably outplay the starters on several of the bottom feeder teams (Minnesota, New York, Miami) or at least have a shot at beating them.

    Most teams can be categorized as either young teams with potential for the future or veteran teams that are trying to contend. We kinda have both on the same team. We have veterans like Kobe, Lamar, and Fisher. I’d also count Brown, Walton, and Mihm as veterans. Then we’ve got our young team of Farmar, Bynum, Crittenton, Ariza, Vujacic, and Turiaf. I never would have thought a team that is split like that would work but it really seems to be.

  73. 71- Craig, 100% agree with you. When Lamar had a big second half (13 pts) he was on the block, taking advantage of Ginobli (6’5). Also, Lamar is an inconsistent shooter, but I don’t think it’s mental, I think it’s mechanical. When Lamar is squared up AND steps into his shot (as opposed to his infamous pull up, fadeaway mid-range shot) he is a good shooter. I guess that is mental too, because he can’t discipline himself to square up and step into his shot everytime.

  74. I’d still consider this a good game for us. We played well enough to win, not all that great throughout but still were able to put the clamps on at the end. With the long break since the team played last there had to be some rust. The Spurs are championship stock and made an expected strong stand.

  75. I like this quote form Kobe

    “Not much to say. He lost his cool for a second, he got tossed,” Bryant said. “Andrew should be proud – first ejection, national TV, he went out in a blaze of glory.”

  76. I went to the game last night. It’s REALLY different watching at Staples vs. watching on television. First of all, those time outs take FOREVER! We need to do something about this. When play by play announcers say that a time out is called to try and stop the momentum of the other team, they aren’t joking. The effect is magnified at Staples where so many people just go to be seen, they aren’t gonna be up cheering with all their heart. Timeouts KILL the energy at Staples. There was only one time in the game when the crowd actually got loud and that was only cuz the scoreboard told them to. I would love to have LA fans be as loud/passionate as golden state fans, or sacramento fans a few years ago.

    The music selection at Staples Center is terrible. Safe, innocuous and totally crap.

    The half court short in between the 3rd and 4th quarters by the fan looking to win some cash was awful. It looked like a hooked golf shot. It was way left. I felt bad for the guy. He got a substantial boo.

    @64. Lamar got into an argument in the fourth quarter, when the game was pretty much sewn up. Kobe kept pushing him back towards half court so that he wouldn’t get a technical. I’m not sure why he was so angered.

    Re: Bynum’s ejection. That was really confusing from the nosebleed seats. He and Oberto were tangled up but not looking at each other right at halfcourt. Also, Bynum had already knocked ginobili to the floor earlier in the game. And then all of a sudden there was a technical. Which I could understand. Although I echo the sentiments of wondering why it wasn’t a double T. Maybe Bynum started it. And then I have no idea why Bynum was so upset or what he said. Because it was actually a different official not near Andrew who gave the second one. He was standing right next to ginobili and I thought maybe Ginobili got a T for something. Bynum didn’t even seem like he was doing much to earn the second one. But after he got the second T is when he really exploded. Multiple Lakers held him back. I forgot to look at Phil’s reaction but it didn’t seem to phase him. This was the first point the crowd kind of got into it. A lot of boos when Finley was shooting the free throws, although, he made the second one and quieted the crowd down again.

    In person, it seemed like the reffing was fairly consistent in letting physical contact near the basket go. Lots of times players would go to the basket and seem to get their arms hit and no whistle would sound. Ginobili and Luke were the most frequent victims of this pattern.

    I don’t know if they showed it on TV, but I was a little bit amazed that Craig Sager got an interview with Phil Jackson during a time out or between a quarter. You’d think he was busy drawing up plays or thinking about adjustments.

    Who was this Darius Washington character? He was no Tony Parker but quite passable as an NBA player.

    Lakers did a good job clamping down on Ginobili but were fortunate to have the Spurs miss A LOT of open looks. They had to scramble a lot on defense. A healthy Spurs team would have killed the Lakers with all those open shots.

    Sasha and Kobe kept leaving Bruce Bowen open for threes. I think that hurt them a lot, especially when they were just sagging off, not actually giving rotation help.

    I agree with the sentiments that Kobe took a lot of ill-advised shots. In person you can tell how difficult/low-percentage a lot of his fadeaways are. Many of them came up short. I also agree that the Lakers were shooting jump shots without looking inside first. Our players aren’t jump-shooters. Much more successful around the basket.

    Lamar’s game didn’t seem as bad in person as many previous comments have complained about. He was getting a lot of rebounds, playing active defense. Basically having a pretty typical Lamar game. The only knocks I had were the missed dunk early in the game and the ugly three balls.

  77. Lamar is falling prey to some bad habits that seem easily corrected (which is what makes them so frustrating to watch night after night): the well-documented early, gaurded jumpers; the lack of post-play; the infrequent use of his natural advantages over shorter, right handed players. The team is still playing well, but that has a lot more to do with the improvement of our youngsters than the veterans who shouldd be carrying us (Kobe, of course, excepted). I’m happy with where the team is at, however I can’t help feeling that they could be a couple steps further ahead if Odom and Walton could simply give us a reasonable approximation of what they gave us last season.

    On a more positive note, Trevor Ariza could be a real impact player for us. He really knows how to stay with his guy and rotate on the perimiter, and I think it may be rubbing off on some of the other players. I love to see a young guy finding his niche on a team. There are key junctions in a game when he is the only small forward I want to see on the floor.

  78. Paul,

    When you say kwame/Odom for J.O., I hope you don’t mean both of them. (BTW there is no issue in Bird “going” for that. He’d jump at it the way J.O is playing). I’d trade Brown and filler, but given how J.O. looks this season, he’s not worthy of any deal involving Odom.. He’s down a block and 3 defensive boards from the last two seasons and his mobility has become a real issue. Part of it is the running system he’s in, but the Lakers are a faster offense this season too. And I’m not even sure the 2007 J.O. is that much better than Kwame on defense.

  79. I like Ariza too, but that doesn’t make me want to make any trades at this point, I think the team still is building chemistry, and should only improve as the season progresses.
    I think Ariza will earn more minutes as the season progress, agree that it’s nice to see him attack the rim and look for put backs on offensive boards, and he hits his free throws! like you said, when he becomes consistent on a mid range jumper, he’s a solid player.
    however, I don’t think JO is an answer, seems to me that he’s lost a step, and seems to be constantly injured.
    I agree a back up PF, with guts and hustle would be nice…but I don’t think it’s JO, too expensive, too many risks.

  80. This is the first season Kobe is exhibiting the leadership abilities of Jordan,Magic,Bird. He is out there willing this team to believe. Pretty remerkable if you can think back 120 days, and the firestorm that surronded the team.

  81. The proposed trade comment has been deleted. This team is 13-8, playing well, coming together and some people can’t stop wanting to pretend to be GM. I can’t say don’t do it, but I will say don’t do it here. Until there is actual confirmed trade talk going on, that topic is dead here.

    (And people get double foolish points for talking about JO as if he was the JO of two years ago and thinking he’s the answer. Have you seen him this season?)

  82. Evaluating the keys to success (not mentioned by Kurt):
    1) Kobe and LA cannot afford to play opportunistic defense. Last time, it left Bonner and Bowen open for 3s. It might suit the Lakers best to play zone defense. Haven’t seen much of it from Phil, but it will take away those wide-open looks.

    a) A nice bright spot for the Lakers yesterday. However, they did let Bowen get open, but stopped the dribble-drive. Excellent defense end of 2nd and start of the 3rd. B+

    2) The Lakers cannot settle for 3 pointers against this team. Drive the lane and get them in foul trouble. If they switch up to a zone, put the shooters in.

    a) The Lakers settled for 3s early and only the bench connected consistently. LO, stop shooting 3s. The Lakers got Bowen and Ginobli in foul trouble early.

    3) Limit turnovers. Fisher and Farmar need to handle the ball. Keep it out of Kobe’s and Lamar’s hands. Bowen is a good defender and Ginobli + Parker + Horry will step in for a flop. If the Lakers limit dribbling and move the ball around efficiently, they will find seams and not allow players to setup for the charge.

    a) Excellent ball control and movement. Only a couple of silly passes. Very few fast break points for the Spurs and only a couple of offensive fouls by the Lakers.