Lakers/Spurs Game 5 Chat

Kurt —  May 29, 2008

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

They are not the best team in the Western Conference Finals, but you have to say this about the Spurs: They carry themselves like champions. They fight for what they have. And if there is one thing we can count on with the Spurs, it is that they will not go quietly — expect their best game tonight. If the Lakers can get up by 20 on them the tenor may change, but even then don’t count on this veteran and driven team to just roll over.

From one poet to another, there’s a fun interview with Ice Cube (It Was A Good Day) over at ESPN the magazine. No doubt he knows his Lakers.

Mag: First off, the Lakers look good, but is this team capable of winning the title??
Ice Cube: I think so. You know, now we gotta concentrate on having better situational possessions. Our clock management is not where it should be, and I think some of our rotations are a little stale. ??
But they got one on the road.?
Yeah, but I almost pulled my hair out when our first team was sitting down late with a seven-point lead, I’m like, ‘This isn’t the regular season!’

Take the Lakers starting five, and give me the equivalent rapper.?
I would have to give myself Kobe. For (Derek) Fisher, I’ll go with Nelly—he’s small with a tight, smooth kind of game. For Lamar Odom, I’d say DMX…??
Why, because he’s well-rounded like you? Sort of a Swiss Army knife player
Yeah, for sure.??
(Vlad) Radmonovic??
He’s somebody who’s kind of sporadic, kind of unpredictable. Maybe Old Dirty Bastard. Yeah. That’s him.??
Gasol? I don’t know any rappers from Spain.?
Yeah, me either. I’ll just let him rap.

By this point in the series there aren’t any secrets left (especially between these two teams). The Lakers know they need to force Manu right, make Parker a jump-shooter (forcing him right as well of possible) and crash the boards hard. They need the defensive intensity from game 4 that pushed the Spurs players out of the positions they like. Ball movement and increased pace will get LA good looks and likely enough points. Kobe has to trust the offense and not get into isolation mode. The Spurs role players have been less impressive outside of Texas, but if one gets hot (um, say Barry) the Lakers need to give him a little extra attention.

If you are looking for some good reading/talking points while waiting for the game to start (or waiting for TNT to avoid leaving the Ronny Turiaf cam on), check out this great post from Ziller at Ballhype about the value of combo guards. Or, read up on the various statistical player measurement stats and how they stack up. Or we can discuss Doug Collins to Chicago (last time Collins was a coach and had the #1 pick it was Kwame Brown, how did that work out?). Maybe the most fun would be to set an under/over on how much money Sasha is fined next year for flopping.

For more game day reading check out the witty and smart Brothers K at Lakers Blog or SportshubLA. Of course, there is Spurs Dynasty and Pounding The Rock.

Coming into this series I thought the Lakers in five was horribly optimistic, but part of the fun of this Lakers squad is how they constantly exceed expectations. I have a good feeling about tonight, and not just because Shoals is on board (and he is one of the bloggers I most admire). This team just knows how to rise to the occasion, and this is one of those moments.