Lakers/Spurs Game 3 Chat

Kurt —  May 25, 2008

Past results do not insure future success.

No, that’s not the fine print from some infomercial stock-picking system. That is the warning for what will come today in game three — you can be sure this will be the best effort, the best game the Spurs will have played in this series so far. If you think a blow-out win at home is a good barometer of what will happen on the road against the Spurs, well, why don’t you ask Chris Paul and Byron Scott about that.

What has been amazing is that despite all the hype around the Lakers offense, through two games it is the Lakers defense that has been key (although the offense has been better, particularly in the second half of the last game). The Lakers have done a great job containing Tony Parker’s penetration so far, if you ask coach Anthony L. Macri, Jr., who wrote over at Basketball Prospectus:

In the second quarter, San Antonio made a more concerted attempt to get Parker catch-and-attack opportunities. The plan worked well in the sense that it did give Parker more penetration chances. The Lakers’ combination of Fisher and Farmer elected to push Parker toward the baseline as much as possible. This tactic limited Parker’s attack angles and pass openings. By forcing Parker this way, Los Angeles eliminated the vast majority of his options and caused the Spurs to slow their offense. In response, Gregg Popovich turned back to his tried-and-true traditional option: Duncan in the post. Unfortunately for Parker, this strategy turns him into a corner jump shooter, and the San Antonio offense ground to a halt.

The Lakers came out focused and intense in the second half, both on the defensive and the offensive end. In the first few plays it was obvious San Antonio wanted to get more middle penetration for Parker. However, the length and athleticism of the Los Angeles Lakers stifled Parker. In fact, the effect on Parker was so pronounced that the Spurs elected to put the ball more in the hands of Ginobili, with varying levels of success. Throughout the second half, the Lakers made Parker’s penetration a non-factor, so much so that he did not even look for his own offense. This was a recipe for disaster for the Spurs, and once San Antonio packed it in with eight minutes remaining, the game was over.

Then there is what the Lakers are doing to Tim Duncan, which Darius described in the comments:

The thing I like about our double teams of Duncan is that they are not hard double teams. We are not going over and fully committing 2 defenders to Duncan where the traditional kick out pass and then 2nd pass leads to an open jumper. All we are really doing is showing him the 2nd defender that’s waiting for him (usually Odom) and then zoning the backside with the other 3 defenders. This enables our length and athleticism to come into play…Odom is able to take away Oberto under the basket by using his length to disrupt passing angles and then our other defenders (Kobe, Sasha, Fisher, Radman) are quick and/or long enough to get into their rotations and contest jumpers. Did we give up a few wide open looks? Sure. But most of the time we are able to not only discourage Duncan from just taking Pau into the lane for the finish, but also still able to get back to shooters. (And on a side note, I also think this soft double is smart because it plays to the decision making of the Spurs. Duncan is too smart and unselfish a player to force anything against this type of defense. The right thing to do and what his reads tell him to do is: make the pass out and make the defense rotate. But we are recovering well enough that there aren’t really any open looks at the end of their ball movement and their roll players are mostly coming up empty.)

The guy who could open things up for the Spurs, who could create real problems for the Lakers, is Manu Ginobili. He is not quite the same with his injury, and he has not played spectacularly against the Lakers this season, but I think the Spurs will try to do more with him this game. They really have no choice. They can’t have him as a spot-up shooter, but right now he can’t even drive around Radman. Expect some new sets to get him the ball in a position he can succeed.

For the Lakers, this can be the nail in the coffin — win this and it is all-but over. The Lakers bench needs to play like it is still at home and continue to dominate the Spur bench. More importantly, the Lakers need to keep up the pace of the game or improve it — in the first two games the pace was in the low 90s, faster than the Spurs played this season but slower than the pace the Lakers prefer. If they can keep it up, it bodes well for today.

Finally, we will finish with this interesting point from Stephen in the comments:

Most NBA fans thought that the Colangelo/Stern tinkering w/the rules was going to give fast break teams an advantage and that the Suns were the wave of the future. What if the real legacy is allowing motion teams to thrive again? Players can now cut w/out being held,grabbed,etc. Teams using the old formula of waiting for a star to draw the double team and kick it out to an open 3pt shooter are routinely losing in the Playoffs to teams that spread the floor by sending players in motion and getting open looks. It reaally looks like the biggest indicator of Playoff success thiis yr is not who’s the better defensive team,but who moves more on offense.

Kurt

Posts

113 responses to Lakers/Spurs Game 3 Chat

  1. I believe SA will play more desperate tonight and play better than they did in game 2. I expect a more energized team in SA, and a better Ginobili will cause lots of problems for Laker fans like myself. I hope they can apply the same pressure defense against Parker like they did in Game 2 which was to sorta “zone” up when he gets the ball. This will be a tough game for LA, but if they stay close or finish strong each quarter, i expect a Laker W.

    Lastly, I hope to see some Ariza action again!

  2. the other Stephen May 25, 2008 at 9:49 am

    i just want to see ariza do one of his monster posters upon someone before this series is done.

  3. Warren Wee Lim May 25, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Ok its official. These 2 people beat me to the very 1st post. Blame them.

  4. the lake show is basically pacing themselves. especially, kobe. you can tell even though they are playing hard. they are saving their energy for the second half. as long as we keep the game close up until the middle of the 3rd period, we can win. the spurs have exuded lots of energy over the last series and hasn’t had time to catch their breath. these champs are the remainder of another era, not this one. i remember when jordan beat us for the ring. i was saying, ‘they are young, we are old with the greatest player, jordan can have it next year.’ looks like deja vue. except we are the young team AND we have the greatest player. spurs had their shot and will PROBABLY win today, but like that optimism we had at the end of our era with magic, we have a hungrier team that is at the start of a journey. mark this post. this series is so indicative of LA vs. Bulls ’91. a harse reality to the ignorant. this is a changing of the guard.

  5. Ha, Warren needs to be on 24hr watch for updates. Once Kurt puts a game chat post up, he can swoop in.

    I agree with everything Kurt said about the Spurs. I expect their best game with more effort, high efficiency, and new wrinkles for Parker and Ginobili to get off.

    One thing that the Spurs did well last game was off-ball screening for Parker. I expect more of those sets and similar ones for Ginobili. When the Spurs are starting their offense with the ball in those guys’ hands, we are doing a great job of funneling them to areas where there offense is less effective. But when they put the ball in another players hands and then run screen actions away from the ball, they are able to get the ball to those players on the move and in positions to attack. I expect to see a ton of aggressiveness from Duncan today and a bunch of off ball screening for Parker and Ginobili. I also would not be at all surprised if we saw a revert to some of the old Spurs sets of running the offense through Duncan (similar to the old Kings sets of Webber/Divac) when Duncan has the ball at the elbow/mid-post and all the movement starts off the ball so Tim can decide where the ball goes.

  6. 5-I think we can win even if Manu and TP play better. The Spurs supporting cast is far less talented than the Laker supporting cast and Phil is exploiting that. Guys like Jacque Vaughn and Udoka just aren’t as talented as guys like Farmar and (gasp) Luke. There other supporting roles players have shot legs, Horry, Barry, Finley, and won’t have time to recover. I really think our talent, and the schedule favor us.

  7. http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/8119878

    this links to charley rosen’s review of game 3 between the spurs and hornets. The article details Popovich’s adjustments/winning formula. i thought a good issue for pre-game discussion would be whether the adjustments the Spurs made in that game may be employed in this game. based on the afforementioned article, here are some of my questions:

    1. Will Bowen guard SFs and leave Kobe to Ginobili?
    2. Will Kurt Thomas displace Oberto to better defend Odom?
    3. To avoid double teams in the low post, will Duncan look to operate chiefly from the high post?

  8. 7- Good questions

    I don’t think Bowen will guard anyone different. He is their best defender for Kobe and Manu is injured so I don’t see him guarding him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thomas play more this game, mainly to try to spread the court and give the Spurs some offense. I think Duncan stays on the block.

  9. #6: Kwame, I agree that we can win if Manu and Parker play better. However, my concern with that thought process is that Manu and Parker are also creators for others. So, while we can survive better numbers from them, we can not survive if they inspire their teammates and make the game easier for them through their increased production.

  10. Towards the end of game one Popovich went and sat in the between Manu and Parker he looked very confident when he spoke to them. Parker and Manu merely nodded their heads as he patted one on the back and slapped the others leg.

    That spoke volumes about his relationship with his players and their relationship with him.

    What does this have to do with today’s game? Plenty!!

    Look for the Spurs to bounce back with a monster game Ginobili will leave it all on the floor tonight look for him to prove that Vujacic can NOT guard him he will drive with reckless abandon even if it means breaking his ankle.

    Parker will hit everything that he throws up 3’s, floaters, layups, freethrows and 2’s. Look for Fisher to get in early foul trouble so that Parker can go against an uproven Farmar.

    The key to tonight’s win will be the Laker’s bench. Farmar, Vujacic, Luke and Ariza must be ready for physical play to take them out of their game. Luke needs to bring one of his games from two years agon a 12 pt, 6 rebound, 5 assist game.

    The Lakers will win 101-97!!

  11. I think the word for the day is “perception.” LA is up and with a win tonight the series victory becomes a question of if not when. LA fans have a right to feel as though the Spurs can not beat you four times in five tries. Important to remember that we Spurs fans feel the same way about LA doing that to our guys, yet you’re half way there. If SA is able to win their two home games, regardless of how, they’re half way to their 4/5. Perception can change quickly in the playoffs, as quickly as a breakout performance by a star or s lucky shot falling. It only takes one to start a streak

    Everything is perception. One more successful 4th quarter possession or FT trip for TD in game one stems the tide and instead of a media narrative of how great Kobe played, the question being asked is, “if LA can’t defeat a tired and under prepared Spurs team at Staples how can they defeat them at AT&T?” Perception. At the end of the day, these are still the same two squads that split their season series 2-2, only home teams winning and separated by +1 point for SA. They finished with a one game differential in the standings. Had SA won game one, it would not have meant LA was in for a 4-1 series loss so I say slow your role in taking too much stock in game two. However, I do agree with past posters who felt the game 1 results would not so much harm SA as it would vault confidence into all those young Lakers not named Kobe & Fisher. Just imagine if this was 1-1 how much pressure would be on the young guys to win tonight? Now they can play free, as they did in game 2. Perception.

    The end result will be more clear after tonight but obvious after Tuesday. If SA gets the series 2-2 but Manu is still severely hampered by his injuries, the best SA will get is a game seven loss. They won’t win the series. He’s their closer and must be on his game for them to defeat top teams on the road who are playing well. Period. If it becomes 2-2 and Manu has at least found his shot, then game the five winner will carry the series. If LA leaves Texas with a victory in either game, that means Manu never got right and a 3-1 deficit will not be overcome with one of the big three hampered. Zenmaster Phil knows this and will align his defense as much as he can to force Manu into being a ball handler and creator, both of which he is not capable of doing at this time.

    Will the current perception become reality or a new one written come Tuesday night?

  12. Remember how everyone says that depth doesn’t matter in the playoffs?

    Yeah….

  13. #8–i’m going to disagree with you on your first and third points.

    I’m going to assume Ginobili regains his form today. Radmanovic won’t be able to defend his drives adequately, so that responsibility is shifted to Kobe. On the other end, the Spurs hope to entice Kobe into shooting more often by having Bowen guard someone else. Kobe has a difficult decision: if he takes advantage of an inferior defender, then he’ll expend a lot of energy generating scoring opportunities. if he reserves his energy for locking up ginobili, the Laker offense risks becoming a bit more tentative against a Spurs team that can afford to be a bit more aggressive on both ends of the floor. If he tries to do both, then he risks being worn out in crunch time.

    Look for Kobe to recognize the best opportunities to assert himself on offense and on defense, and play a superb, intelligent game.

    I think Duncan moves to the high post and elbow area like #5 pointed out earlier. Another reason for him to do this is to draw Gasol away from the basket and encourage Parker to drive to the hoop.

    Now that I think about it, I expect the experienced Duncan to play as opportunistically as Kobe, as he recognizes when and where to best operate.

  14. Some commentators have drawn parallels between the Hornets-Spurs series and the Lakers-Spurs. But to me, the differences are just as telling and they reveal a dark forecast for the Spurs. The Spurs and Hornets have similar styles–dominated by creative point guard, steady power forwards, and outside shooters. While the poise and experience of the Spurs ultimately led them to victory, the length and speed of the Hornets gave them fits. Yet, both teams settled into similarly styled game plans that the Spurs proved more capable of executing in big moments. The Lakers play much different than the Spurs and Hornets (faster pace, motion offense, interior passing, Kobe). The length and speed of the Lakers is even better than the Hornets and the Lakers have a significant advantage in bench production (the anemic crew of the Hornets ‘matched up’ well with the equally paltry bunch substituting in for the Spurs). These advantages of the Lakers are simply too much for the Spurs to overcome. As commentators (and I’m sure Spurs coaches and players) try to figure out how the Spurs can score some more points, it’s interesting to note that few even bother mentioning or considering how the Spurs can more effectively slow down the Lakers. Even after the first two games against the Hornets it was clear that a few key adjustments on both ends by the Spurs would make a huge difference–they made them and they advanced. Against the Lakers, the possible alterations for the Spurs are few and will ultimately prove insufficient anyways. The Spurs are still dangerous, if increasingly desperate. With the Spurs back against the wall, the Lakers should say L.O. and goodbye with a Pau to the head and a mamba strike to finish them off.

  15. Interesting Adande piece: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2008/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=Eurolakers-080525

    Even though we haven’t brought a ton of players directly from Europe, we definitely have international flavor on our team. In fact, you might say Kupchak has gotten us the best group European players not in San Antonio.

    Anyone know anything about Sun Yue? I doubt he’ll make it in the NBA, but you never know. Phil definitely likes big PGs, and if he can shoot and has some basketball IQ, he might be a good backup down the line.

  16. #14–from what i’ve read, he’s not going to be the Chinese Magic Johnson, but if he plays to his potential he’ll be a fine backup and give shorter perimeter-oriented 3s some trouble with his length. I think he’ll be a SF. To run the triangle, the 3 usually starts with a post-feed, and with his height and length, that should be relatively simple.

    That was an insightful article, thanks for sharing.

  17. I hope the league revisits the flopping this off season.
    It really bugs me when I see a guy go flailing away when the replay shows there was barely contact.
    the guy who does that endangers other players by being a body on the floor while people are jumping all around him, so it should be a foul called on the “flopper”.
    of course, this will become yet another judgement call ala the charge/block, but I think it should be implemented this off season.

  18. The Dude Abides May 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Here is a hilarious link that discusses what might happen if Tim Duncan, Robert Horry, and Tony Parker tried to fraudulently return a pair of old jeans. Make sure you also scroll down to the very funny reader replies, especially the first three.

    http://tinyurl.com/3jpc3q

  19. I agree with the consensus that this will be the toughest game we’ve seen in this series and probably the playoffs. I imagine the Spurs are upset at themselves and will want to prove to themselves what level of basketball they can play period, let alone that they can beat the Lakers. I am looking forward to seeing how the Lakers adapt to this. Do they expect it and come in ready to absorb the brunt of the impact, or do they get blindisded? If the young Lakers team wins this game it’ll be the most exciting statement of their growth that I’ve seen to date.

    I kind of see the Spurs role players making their outside shots, forcing us to play more honestly on Parker and TD. We could still grind a win out, but if this happens (and Manu gets going), it will be tense.

    I might miss tip-off though because the scienc e channel is going to have live coverage of the Mars Landing today. That’s even more tense because the rate of failure for these things is so high its like watching someone play a multi-billion game of roulette….

  20. This will be the back-against-the-wall for the Spurs. Lakers will know this, and it will be a blood-in-the-water moment for Kobe.

    As much as my reasonable side tells me that the Spurs’ role players will finally hit threes which alone make the game more even, and that they will hit the boards with rejuvenated legs, the inner(well, not quite that inner) fan tells me that tonight may be Kobe’s Ascension.

    This is a perfect game, a perfect game for the Spurs to come out blazing while suffocating us, and provide a legitimate opportunity for Kobe to do what he has not yet done in this year’s playoffs – be on fire for 4 whole quarters.

    Mr. 81, I want to see 60 and a W tonight.

  21. Mark the Filipino May 25, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I am seeing more Ariza tonight.
    Since The Machine is doing a GRREEEAAATT job on Manu as of the moment, I would like Ariza to defend Parker. As much as as Tony Parker has struggled in this series, you can’t argue more with the stats. It points out that Tony Parker has been nothing but a genius on their arena. He averages 26ppg on 52.13% shooting and dishes out 7.2 apg compared to 19.88ppg on 45.65%shooting while dishing out 5.25apg at the road. If Ariza could get on Tony’s head, then it’s probable that Tim Duncan will be the only one who will get running.
    I’ve said in the other post that we will live with the Spurs 3-pt shooting (either making it or jacking it) if that would mean taking the ball out of Duncan’s hands.
    And so far, we’re all good with that.

    As for the defense, I think these Lakers squad have been underrated. They have held the Spurs to 37.5% shooting and forced 26 turnovers on 2 games. The Lakers have defended the perimeter well (most likely the Spurs just missed them, lol!). They held their 3-pt shooting to a dismal 25.5%. They have also had 13 blocks and 15 steals in the last two games. Credit the Lakers’ defense.

    The Lakers have defended their home court. And they’ve defended it well.
    As I said, the Lakers are no Hornets, but the Spurs are still the champs.

    Game 3 is the momentum-changer of the series. I wouldn’t say we steal this one, I say we TAKE this one.

    —————-
    Spurs = The Death of a Dynasty?
    Lakers = The Birth of a Legacy?

  22. Quick question for Kurt –

    Am I calculating offensive efficiency incorrectly? According to the linked basketball prospectus article, there were 87 possessions in Friday’s game, and the team scored 101 points. That would be an efficiency of about 116 (right in line with LA’s performance in the past two series), not 109? I don’t trust my own math in this instance, which is why I bring this up.

  23. The lander successfully touched down on mars and now theyt’re waiting for it to unfurl its solar panels.

    I’m going to arbitrarily take this as a good sign for the Lakers.

  24. The Dude Abides has been trying to post this for a couple days and it hasn’t gone up due to computer issues, so here it is:

    Hmmm…maybe another computer will do the trick in letting me post here. This is a hilarious link about what could ensue if Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Robert Horry tried to fraudulently return an old pair of pants for money. The reader comments at the end are hilarious too.
    http://foodcourtlunch.com/?p=919

  25. 20. Underbruin, what is different is how the possessions are calculated. I’m not sure how he calculated his (I can ask him) but what I use (through a program) is a very basic system that tends to be higher than other systems. One of these days the NBA will start keeping that stat officially and everyone can be on the same page.

  26. Manu and Parker look poised to have big games. On the plus side, Duncan hasn’t gotten off yet, and even though they’ve been sharper on offense, we haven’t let their D rattle us so far.

    I love what Farmar’s doing so far, hopefully Sasha’s 3-pointer is on, Turiaf’s singing is on-key, and we unleash the full effect of the Bench Mob.

  27. “He’s got to go” says Phil Jackson, of Manu.

  28. The Good: Lakers +5 rebounds
    The Bad: Lakers have only 3 assists
    The Ugly: 7 TO

  29. i hate manu’s guts. but, man, is he good!

  30. Someone should tell the Spurs P.A. announcer that this is a basketball game, not a circus. Why can’t they all be like Lawrence Tanter?

  31. Everything is working out of the Spurs offense. The Lakers need to start sending sporadic double teams on Duncan, and continue to close out on the 3 point shooters. I wonder how the Lakers respond to the energy surge from the Spurs.

  32. Manu is just on fire. Sasha is driving him right and getting in his grill, but he’s stroking that three. The thing Sasha needs to do better is prevent Ginobili from getting to his spot. I think every three he’s hit has been from the same place on the floor.

  33. Sasha’s D on that last 3 was as good as it gets. Now I understand why Spurs fans were laughing at the idea of the Machine bothering Ginobli. That guy is absolutely ridiculous.

    I guess now I know how it feels when Kobe is on fire.

  34. The thing is, Lakers players have been in the face of Ginobili on his last three beyond the arc, and they still went in. Not much you can do about that.

    San Antonio’s offense is good, but what is dragging the Lakers down is just missed shots (shooting 46% eFG%). Lakers starters not named Bryant are 4 of 20 from the field.

  35. 10 pt deficit is doable, and I believe our team feels the same way thanks to Game 1.

    Manu has really bounced back, i guess the ‘role player hitting threes’ i figured was actually Manu and not Barry, Bowen or Horry.

  36. pau repeating his game 2 while LO and Fish reprise game 1. Still winnable with Spurs playing their best and Lakers (sans Kobe) their worst. The refs I thought changed the momentum with the ridiculous travel on Pau and flop/charge on turiaf.

  37. I have worries about the other two not named Kobe of our Big 3. So far Pau has not had one good game and Odom has had one. Kobe has basically had to do what he does to a greater degree to keep this game close and that’s disappointing. If Odom and Pau will not step up that means more wear and tear on Kobe as well as a very tough finals if it gets to that. I’m just tired of the disappearing act by the “superstar roleplayers” during pivotal games.

  38. Oh and those free-throws….UGH!

  39. The Lakers have 3 assists. Total.

  40. I agree with Kurt that it’s the Lakers’ offense that has them down in this game. Fish hasn’t taken many shots, but Lamar is playing like he did in Game 1 — his “finesse” shots are not going in and he needs to be agressive and go for a few dunks and put-backs. I’d like to see Sasha take some more shots (outside of a couple of games, he’s shot well on the road), and it’s nice to see Jordan’s confidence back. Kobe was somewhere in-between Game 1 and Game 2, but look for him to force SA to pay more attention to him. Hopefully the other guys can take advantage.

    It’s not just the missed opportunities for points, but misses find their way into the hands of Tony Parker, who wreaks havoc either in transition or on mismatches. No way the Lakers’ transition D, or anyone’s, can stop that guy.

  41. Phil bringing out that ol chestnut, blindside double…nice

  42. 37 – Me too. I think it all comes down to playing within yourself. Despite what the scouting reports will say, Pau has not been a good 15-foot face-up shooter in these playoffs. He needs to abandon that shot. The Spurs are sagging off Odom and taking away his drives. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but he needs to start playing off-the-ball and benefiting from the attention Pau and Kobe draw.

    At some point Kobe will have to take over, but we need 1 more player to get hot. I’d like to see Sasha take 1 or 2 to at least see if he’s hot, but they’re playing him well. I don’t want contested shots from him, either.

  43. Ok, that’s the timmy i know and love. 60~70% FTs, not 90%.

    A bit high to go hack a tim, but let’s get something going here.

  44. It seems that the Lakers are just not hitting their shots

    The spurs defense + a case of unlucky bounces I guess.

    Kobe’s trying to carry the team but teammates are missing shots that would really help our cause.

  45. Did Fish just get a T for celebrating with a fist pump?

  46. We just need to get our %’s up, 41.1 FG, 14.3 3PT, 40.0 FT will not win to many games.

  47. Three minutes left in the third, Kobe has ZERO free throws. How is that possible when he has taken 13 shots and only 3 3pointers?

  48. We’ve had our chances, but like guys have said, the offensive execution is flat. Kobe isn’t forcing the issue but no one else can do anything. Time for the Bench Mob. I want to see Turiaf and Sasha’s energy out there.

    Pau is playing like a weenie.

  49. Lakers are forcing some 3’s. They should only take open ones i think. They have the ability to drive the ball and we have the size to crash the boards for a miss. They need to claw back into single digit deficit before the 4th to have a chance at this game..

  50. 46 – I hate to question the refs, but I’ll only say this….they’ve been letting them play very physical tonight.

  51. Kurt – gotcha, thanks.

    The Lakers just can’t seem to hit their shots. Bryant has been forcing his offense a bit, but there are streches where he has looked to facilitate, and the rest of the team just isn’t connecting.

  52. Great move by Phil, getting Odom out.

  53. Gasol is being soft right now. He needs to be assertive and dunk the ball instead of tryng to lay in some of his shots. I think hes quicker than Duncan so he needs to use that to his advantage when hes guarded 1 on 1.

  54. When Tim Duncan is hitting those shots (in particular that leaning one-handed floater) there’s not a whole lot to be done.

    And this might have seemed like sacrilige after Utah, but am I the only one here who actually wants to see less Fish and more Farmar during the game?

  55. hate to say it and i know ill get some arguments to the contrary….But its no mystery to me how PAU has developed the reputation of being soft…the guy has played like a wimp this whole series…

  56. I like the way Radman is playing. He’s realized his shot is off and is going to the hoop, not forcing too many shots, making nice passes and playing within the offense.

    I’d like to see a lineup of Farmar, Sasha, Kobe, Radman, and Turiaf heading into the 4th. I have a feeling Phil might rest Kobe and bring in Luke (or Ariza), but 12 points isn’t insurmountable, and the way we’re playing tonight I just don’t think we can mount a comeback without Kobe.

  57. no movement when gasol has the ball. Ariza/Luke would help.

  58. The team has completely fogotten its offense.

  59. That’s the first kickout 3 attempt I remember seeing.

  60. The bench needs to keep this game close…or even have some momentum and cut this lead. 57- your right, this team has no ball movement and get lost at times on D. Farmar is actually playing well which is the only bright spot for LA right now. They need stop shooting jumpshots since its not falling. Attack the rim if i was LA. No shotblocker for SA in the middle right now..

  61. And the schooling of Farmar continues

  62. Laker starters not named Bryant, 11 of 37.

    Suddenly quiet around here from the commenters (non-regulars) who said that this series was all but over and the Spurs were too old.

  63. Notice how much more movement is back in the Spurs offense tonight. In contrast with the Lakers.

  64. Welcome to the Western Conference Finals, Manu Ginobli…

  65. It took all game but the Lakers defense has finally caught up to the craptastic Laker Offense.

  66. At this point, I like Kobe taking those 3’s, whether he makes them or not. He’s pissed at the way his teammates showed up today, and they need to know it.

    On a side note…..KOBE FOR THE 4-POINT PLAY

  67. If kobe’s going to take 3 ‘s , get in Ariza for Fish for the offensive boards.

  68. Ah Philip. Once again you prove that in game you never really are that good of a coach at making adjustments to what the other team is doing. Always the one thing that drives me nuts most about Phil. Hands down.

    And I’m sorry. Once again Luke Walton is taking minutes that probably should at least be EXPERIMENTED for Ariza.

    But I suppose when all the role players are feeling it for the other team it’s hard to do much anyways. I was hoping they’d tire a bit in the 4th but it doesn’t seem that way.

  69. 62 – I too hate it when people get overconfident. Game 4 is NOT a given, not at all. Although if we were going to lose Game 3, maybe a bad game is better for LO and Fish so they’re that much more aggressive and angry in Game 4.

    Has a single Laker shown up besides Kobe? Radman, maybe?

  70. I don’t know why Kobe took so long to get assertive. In the 1st quarter he noticed the Lakers needed a little boost and started taking a few jumpers. The Lakers have been sluggish in the 2nd half, what’s taken him so long to get going w/ only 7 minutes to go?

    Pau has been ineffective, actually make that: Fisher, Odom, Vujacic, and many others.

    Ginobili have his team a huge boost and is DEFINITELY their X factor.

    All the role players feel at home and are hitting their shots. (ie. Finley, Oberto, and especially B Barry)

  71. Man. Every punch the Lakers manage to land is met with a devastating counter-punch.

  72. Well Radman has a -1 for the +/- which is a Laker best at the moment for that stat.

  73. gasol needs to step up. i’m starting to see why memphis fans were not that sorry to see him go.

  74. Kobe took so long because he was trying to get someone, anyone, to remember where their manhood was and start playing along with him. Kobe can do alot but asking him to single handily take on the Spurs for the whole game is a bit much. LO, Fisher and Odom have MUCH to make up for already in this series.

  75. I feel for Kobe at times like these. He really is doing everything humanly possible. If even 1 more Laker had shown up, Kobe’s heroics could have stolen another game.

  76. Make that not Odom but Pau.

  77. Allan – Brazil May 25, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t believe we can play any worse than we played tonight after the first quarter.

    Even though, we had some opportunities to get back in the game.
    Spurs don’t scare (at least not like they did before.

    If we can pull a good (normal) game next Tuesday, we probably steal game 4 and close the deal at staples.

  78. 70 – He waited so long because those 3s really aren’t the Lakers offense. I mean, yeah, Kobe’s amazing, but that was a pretty impressive barrage even for him.

    The problem hasn’t been Kobe. The problem has been Gasol, Fish, and Odom – he waited to let them get going, and they never did. As good as he is, he can’t win 1-on-5, especially not with SA’s big 3 playing as well as they are.

  79. dumb coaching job results dumb plays.

  80. I stopped watching. Can’t remember any time doing that with this team this season. Unfortunate.

  81. Kobe out for the game. He has shot 6 free throws in this series.

  82. Jeez, 11/14 FGs for the Spurs.

    That’s just… Just horrendous.

  83. This is truly ugly. Lakers–zero effort tonight. We just let them have the game.

  84. I’m not one to blame the bench. They’ve been great all year long. This one is on the starters. They’re expected to do better.

    LO: 2-11
    Fish: 1-4
    Pau: 7-18 with some weenie shots

    Absolutely inexusable for all 3 of them to play this bad at the same time.

    On a positive note, Ariza looks good.

  85. What’s painful is that, with the way Bryant was hot, if LAL had gotten a couple more stops, the deficit could have been under 10 with 4-5 minutes to go.

  86. we were bound to have one of these games, better be it on the day Manu was having a hell of a night, instead of wasting it on a day when the spurs are having a bad night too.

    just remember that even if we drop both, we’re still even and we still have home court. really nothing to worry about. LO’s streakiness is something we’re all aware of, Gasol’s soft, Manu was due… all of it aligned just correctly, while TD also had a monster 20-20 game with parker scoring 20.

    In short, their big 3 played lights out while our 2-3 fizzled and disappeared, yet it was a pretty close game up until the 3rd…

  87. Ha…I missed Ariza doing good…damnit!

  88. Folks, calm down. The Spurs have played the game everyone knew was coming. Yes, Pau and LO sucked today, but in game 2 TP and Manu sucked for the Spurs… Paul and LO are rhythm players and a combination of some missed chippies and aggressive D took them out of the game. Let’s see how they adjust in game 4. After Pau played an awful game 3 vs Utah he was much better in game 4.

    One thing I hope will change in game 4 is Kobe getting to the foul line…

  89. Well the good new is that Phil Jackson has a lot tape to work with on showing the team what went wrong here. It would be hard to play much worse, right?

  90. Yes, Lakers laid an egg tonight. And much of it was just not being aggressive enough on both ends of the floor.

  91. I love the adjustments Phil made on Tony in Game 2. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do with Manu. The guy is so unorthodox, it seems hard to plan for him.

  92. I’m not saying Kobe needs to get going by shooting those deep 3 pointers, I’m saying ASSERTIVE on offense, which means driving to the hole, drawing the double team, and dishing off assists. I understand the Spurs drastically improved their defense by limiting penetration but for Kobe to have 1 free throw this game is just a clear indicator that he wasn’t very agressive on offense.

    I also agree that the other players need to man up and produce, but collectively struggled. In a hostile environment someone needs to prove show up and that will envigorate the rest of the players. That player is usually Kobe, and the rest of the Lakers usually feed off of his energy and showcase it, by playing physical and contesting jumpers on defense. On offense they share the ball, penetrate, and hit shots. There was no catalyst tonight and the Lakers looked like a team that was CONTENT with a 2-0 lead.

    Kobe always talks about that killer instinct, he has shown it in the playoffs, but he didn’t tonight and neither did the Lakers.

    Hope they respond on Tuesday.

  93. Eddie Rush showed up for the spurs tonight.

  94. The Lakers have forgotten that they are a versatile team…ON THE OFFENSIVE END. They might want to start pushing the ball upcourt to create easier opportunities. We all know SA is a great halfcourt defensive team. I know, i know, Phoenix tried to do that but c’mon, the way LA played offense tonight, they need something to spark the offense on the road. One more thing is that ball movement went away. Lots of iso plays for this team and mainly Gasol which was ineffective against Duncan. Lastly, the pick and roll of Kobe and Pau was gone. They should keep doing that until Duncan/Bowen finds a way to stop it. I felt that they stopped doing that which kinda threw Gasol’s game into his “soft” game which was to hope for his little hook shots to go in.

  95. Everyone has to remember that even on a night when the Spurs were shooting really well from the perimeter, the Lakers had the game within reach at the end of the 3rd quarter and once again when Kobe hit his flurry of triples.

    I still liked what I saw from the Lakers tonight, it just that their shot wasn’t dropping. Lamar was fairly aggressive, he just couldn’t buy a layup.

    This series is still very much in doubt but I like what I see from the Lakers, even in a bad loss.

  96. Lamar tried to be aggresive tonight…but i think he tried to be too agressive at times. When he drives to the basket, spurs defenders are set to take the charge. Either way, i think lamar needs to develop a dependable jumpshot which might be asking too much of him. I still think he played well, but he needs to find other ways to create easier opportunities to score.

    One way is a Lamar by himself fastbreak. His ability to handle the ball once he rebounds is an advantage for him, though he needs to be selective when he does that.

  97. I think Ira Newble was key tonight. His inability to make shots (I believe he had zero baskets) really didn’t help the Lakers cause.

    He and Chris Mihm have to step it up.

  98. The Spurs played a great game from start to finish. Big shots by everyone; momentum killers all. I really can’t see how they could play any better.

    The Lakers, on the other hand, were poor offensively. Kobe, Vlad, and Farmar were 21 for 40. LO, Pau, and Fish were 10 for 33. Nobody else took more than 1 or 2 shots (3 of Sasha’s 5 were in garbage time).

    LO and Fish have shown the ability to bounce back during the playoffs, and have had some clutch performances, even on the road. Let’s hope we see that, along with stronger moves and more made buckets from Pau.

    Phil always points out that better offensive execution usually leads to better Laker defense, and fewer transition opportunities for the opponent. Makes sense when you see Lamar try to finesse the ball in the hoop, but end up behind the backboard instead, while the Spurs grab the rebound and head down to the other end with LO trailing the play.

  99. I saw the game a bit differently.

    Lamar is the x factor, one way or another. Tonight he was 2-11, 3 for 8 from the line, and ultimately was benched by Phil in favor of VladRad. Even though Pau did not have his best game, he shooting was close to 40%, and he played good defense on Duncan almost to the end. Pau was 7-18, and Tim was 8-17.

    VladRad continued to play aggressive basketball. Farmar was great. Fisher was OK, but The Machine needs a tuneup.

    Ariza on the Frenchman for part of the game would be interesting. VladRad needs more opportujnities to score.

  100. Sorry for the extra post, but to break it down another way:

    Not counting garbage time (after Manu’s last FT) —
    Spurs “Bench”: 15 on 6-15; “Starters”: 84 on 31-56
    (consider Manu a starter and Finley a bench player)
    Lakers Bench: 17 on 7-13; Starters: 61 on 26-63
    (Kobe/Vlad: 16-30; Others: 10-33)

    These aren’t “new-style” stats, but the Spurs big three came to play, and the Lakers had only the biggest of theirs come to play.

    I have faith that Pau, Lamar, and Fish can step it up in Game 4. Hopefully that will be enough to match the Spurs. Thankfully, we only have to wait until Tuesday to find out …

  101. Mark the Filipino May 25, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    The Lakers outplayed the Lakers.

    Credit the Spurs’ D, but the Lakers just forced way too many unnecessary shots (especially Gasol).

    As I was watching the game, Lakers were not playing the T.O. almost all game long. They were not being patient about their offense. They were not passing the ball like they used to. They were just not themselves.

    Hope to see them back in Game 4.

  102. I should really wait a few more minutes before I start posting, but the more I break it down, it seems like the benches were about even, Kobe/Pau were 7 points from matching Manu/Timmy (Duncan’s FTs accounting for most of that difference), but the Spurs got 20 out of Parker while the Lakers only managed 9 out of Odom and Fisher combined (a rarity in these playoffs). I’m sure the coaching staff will make the necessary adjustments to make Game 4 more competitive from the Lakers end. I can’t wait to see what happens!

  103. the other Stephen May 25, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    this game was so bad that i fell asleep in the fourth quarter.

  104. Warren Wee Lim May 25, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Bullets from this Ugly loss:

    – Its your fault marrl and other Stephen… I sensed it from the get-go.

    – Whoever said the SPurs were pushovers and were going to fold game 3?

    – Did Manu’s ankle magically heal from Texan cooking?

    – Dude’s humor is unmatchable.

    – No live blog nomuskles? I could sense the frustration, anger and sarcasm all over your live blog all the way from the Philippines. Ditch the GF bro, take her back after we win the WCF at least.

  105. At least now you people can stop blaming Farmar.

  106. 104. Warren, nomuskles is alive and well. The same cannot be said of his laptop right now. The liveblogs will return soon.

  107. From a Spurs lens: SA played well but not great on the offensive end. Still had too many unforced turnovers, couple of missed wide open 3s from Barry (who is deadly) but they are finding their rhythm. They can play better on that end. I know the easy thing to say is the big three were lights out but truth is only Manu was. TD and Tony were more assertive, similar to the first half of game 1. That does set the tempo but TD can get 28+ per game in this match-up. Manu was lights out and I can’t expect him to shoot that well next game. I can only hope he makes it to 20 which means getting TD up near 30 and having Tony be more involved. His floater was still off early but he seemed to find it late. He also needs to take more jumpers. They’re available and if he hits them at 50% clip, the rim is his.

    These two squads are even. It’s a great match-up. Game two was an anomaly. A 2-2 series, should Tuesday night finish that way, would be no surprise. It’s not about what the Lakers didn’t do tonight or Phil not making adjustments. SA is very good. If their legs hadn’t given out in the fourth quarter of game one, that game would’ve finished like tonight’s did. They are the one team, due to their experience but mostly their defense, that can give the Laker offense some issues.

  108. no worries. so far, Lamar has shown that he can bounce back the very next game, and Kobe has shown that he can and will do what it takes to have the Lakers perform better the next time around.

    they needed an absolutely sizzling Ginobili in the beginning, who must have caught us off-guard. What I’m worried is whether Kobe can get to the line or not.

    If we can put the Spurs in the penalty, and have some of them accumulate 4 fouls by the end of the 3rd, we should be in great shape.

  109. I am not to worried about this loss, we will make our shots in the next games and that Ginobili guy can’t make the same % of 3PT shots 5 of 7, which was half of his total points in this game, again (can he?).
    GO Lakers…

  110. I feel as if Phil Jackson used this game to learn something about how the Spurs play at home. Here is what may have gone through his head, “The Spurs are in a must win game. They are returning home with the crowd on their side. They are going to make adjustments and will be able to feed off the crowd. With the complete change in scenery and the obvious intensity that the Spurs will bring to tonights game, perhaps we should allow them to win, and use it as a learning experience to prepare for game 4. Game 4 is far more attainable than game 3, for obvious reasons of desperation on the Spurs behalf, and the Lakers will be more accustomed to the AT&T Center by game 4. Let’s make this a 5 game series and go 2-1-2 to make our way into the NBA Finals.”

  111. Simply put, the Lakers shot themselves in the foot. That being said, it was a must win game for S.A. and they did just that. The Lakers unstated objective prior to these two road games was to grab one, and they still can do that. I expect Pau,LO and Fish to play better, and our defense to adjust to Manu hanging out on the perimeter moreso than he usually does. I still see a 5 game series, and in a strange way, the Lakers should view Game 4 as a Game 7, because in all reality, a win in Game 4 closes out the series.

  112. Yeah, I was watching the game with my girlfriend. Definitely makes taking losses easier. Plus, I took solace in the fact that we still have a 2-1 lead. Other than that, the game was obviously frustrating.

    My eyes say that Manu was entirely the difference tonight. His better shooting and improved explosiveness really got the Spurs going on offense, which I think fed their defense. Also, the lead allowed Bruce Bowen to stay in the game longer, which hinders Kobe’s effectiveness.

    The Lakers missed shots were often due to very tough defense in the lane and taking a lot of contested threes. It’s not like we missed 15 open jumpers that would’ve made up the difference. Yes, Pau was missing his jumper, but everyone else seemed to be taking a lot of contested shots that had a low percentage of going in. My refrain for the entire second and third quarter was that Lamar and Pau were the ones hurting us the most by not providing much inside presence in the paint on offense. Pau’s “weenie shots” and Lamar’s missed layups were often the result of very good defense and those two need to figure out how to score more off of player movement, rather than one-on-one post moves.

  113. game three thoughts up in a new thread.