Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Darius Soriano —  January 14, 2009

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers

Records: Lakers 30-6 (1st in West)  Spurs 24-12 (3rd in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.1 (2nd in league) Spurs 108.3 (11th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.8 (5th in league) Spurs 104.3 (6th in league) 

Projected  Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Spurs: Tony Parker, Roger Mason Jr., Michael Finley, Matt Bonner, Tim Duncan

Lakers Notes:  Just an entertaining game last night.  It was a hard fought and chippy effort from two teams that always play eachother tough, so the fact that the game came down to the final possesions is not a suprise.  There were, however some suprises.  VON WAFER!  Who knew?  Well, apparently The Kamenetzky Bros did…and have been on his bandwagon (for various reasons) since he was originally drafted by the Lakers.  Von’s always been a little bit of a character (love the haircut), so check out that little tribute to a guy we once had, but now is playing quite well for the undermanned Rockets.  As for a suprise from the Lakers, it was nice to see Lamar back in the lineup and doing the things that he can do that help this team win.  I was not expecting him to be back this soon, but was happy that he could come into the office with the team being a bit understaffed at the moment.  Kwame A. summed it up well in the comments:

What a difference Lamar Odom makes, the guy does a lot of stuff that helps a team win. Rotations on defense, attacking the basket, moving the ball from strong to weak, etc. The next time he runs somebody over, or steps in-bounds before throwing the ball in, give the guy a pass, cause we wouldn’t have won tonight without him.

Overall, last night might not have been our best game and we needed some Kobe heroics at the end, but that was a very good road win.  We played a motivated team that, while undermanned themselves, had some strong performances from (the afforementioned) Wafer, Carl Landry, and Yao.  I would have liked to have seen some different defensive strategies employed (O’ where have you gone, strong side zone?) but in the end I’ll take a win any way we can get one.  We’ve had lot’s of trouble on the first night of back to backs (four of our six losses have come in that type of game) and I’m happy that we could fly out of Houston with the victory.  Which leads us to tonight…

The Spurs Coming in:  The Spurs are currently playing some very good ball.  Sure, they’ve beaten up on some soft opponents and lost against Orlando in their last game, but overall they’re right where you’d expect them to be.  Currently sitting 3rd in the Western Conference (in a percentage tie with the Nuggets), they’ve battled through Ginobili’s early season recovery from surgery and Tony Parker’s high ankle sprain to prove that, once again, they are one of the elite teams in the West and a true contender for the title.  And speaking of the Spurs’ injuries, in some ways they have been a blessing in disguise for this team.  While Parker and Ginobili were out, other players stepped to the forefront and showed that they are capable of being contributors for this team.  First is the starter at SG, Roger Mason Jr.  Castoff from the Wizzards, Mason has proven to be a very reliable outside shooting threat (47% on threes) and has been a steady player (double digit scoring in two thirds of their games) for the Spurs.  Also benefitting from the absence of Parker and Ginobili is rookie George Hill.  We know Hill as the guy that our coaching staff was hoping would fall to us in the 2nd round of this past draft.  A guy we hoped could compete for backup PG minutes with Farmar.  The Spurs know him as a smooth and poised guard that can score in a variety of ways and a guy that will surely help them as a spark off the bench in some important games this season and in seasons to come.  From what I’ve seen of him, our coaches were right to want this kid and the Spurs are (once again) ahead of the curve in drafting players that can really contribute for them. 

However, eventhough these new faces have emerged, the Spurs are still built on the big three of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili.  There aren’t enough superlatives to describe these guys, so I’m not going to on and on about them.  However, I will say that Tony Parker is quietly having another strong season.  He’s coming off a 31 point, 6 assist effort against the Magic and is averaging a cool 21 and 7 on the year.  I’ll also add that Tim Duncan is having a throwback type season.  His leadership when Paker and Ginobili were out was masterful and he continues to be the catalyst for this team.  His consistency has always been his trademark, but this season is a testament to this quality.  In 36 games, he’s had only  five games where he’s scored under 17 points and only nine games where he’s had less than 9 rebounds.  As for Manu, his minutes are down almost five a game, but the efficiency is still there.  He’s still got a PER over 21 and is still a threat from anywhere on the court.  More crafty than explosive at this point, he’s getting the job done night in and night out.

Keys to game:  Defensively:  As mentioned earlier the Spurs are still all about the Big 3 and any plan to beat this team starts with them.  Parker is the exact type of guard that gives the Lakers fits.  He will continuosly try to get to the rim and will test our rotations on penetration as well as our ability to recover to the perimeter when he drives and kicks out to shooters.  He’ll go to the P&R on ten straight possesions if he needs to and we must be disciplined in our defense or he will hurt us.  Per our normal strategy, we must try to make him a jumpshooter by going under screens and then trying to contest the jumper when does shoot.  If we chase him over the screen, the big man must be ready to show hard while also not letting Parker split the double and get into the lane.  If Parker shoots ten teardrops tonight, we have not done our job on defense.  Another big key to stopping the Spurs attack is trying to contain Duncan.  He’s taken a more active role in early offense this season and is getting more post up looks early in the clock.  We must fight him for position and play sound position defense.  I expect for Bynum to start out on Timmy and traditionally Andrew’s size and length has bothered him.  If young ‘Drew can stay out of foul trouble, it will go a long way in limiting Duncan’s effectiveness.  We must also be very aware of the three point line and recognizing where the Spurs shooters are.  San Antonio leads the league in Three Point FG % and there are many shooters to track.  We can’t give wide open, stand still looks to Finley, Bowen, Mason, Bonner, or Hill.  We’ll need hard close outs tonight and I’d like to see us run them off the 3 point line and make them create off the dribble instead.  Bowen and Bonner are especially less effective when they have to put the ball on the ground (and they’re also their best % shooters from deep) so it’s even more important to track them (Bowen will be in the corner and Bonner loves to Pick and Pop to the top of the key) and get them out of the places where they like to shoot from.

Offensively:  This is a team that, in the recent past, has had trouble containing Kobe.  Over the years and through their great battles, Kobe has learned to dissect Bruce Bowen’s defensive tendencies and really hurt the Spurs.  This was most evident in last years playoff series against San Antonio where Kobe shot 53% from the field and basically killed the Spurs.  He’ll have a different matchup tonight with Mason on him to start, but I would not be suprised to see Bowen get some extended minutes on Kobe.  As for our bigs, like last night, this will be a test.  Duncan is one of the best defenders of our generation and will likely hold down whoever he matches up with.  I would think that he’d battle Gasol, but Popovich may not want Bonner attempting to keep Andrew off the offensive glass.  So, I say, whoever Duncan doesn’t guard should be our main option on the block.  Obviously Gasol will get his touches regardless of who’s on him, but if the Spurs put Bonner on him he should be featured on offense on nearly every possesion.  If the Spurs put Bonner on Bynum, this should be another chance for ‘Drew to get it going on offense.  Andrew (despite last night’s effort) has been playing quite well on offense in the last several games and this could be another good night for him.  Also, we must move the ball from side to side and make the Spurs move on defense.  While their D is anchored by Duncan, they also start players whose calling card is not on that end of the court.  Parker, Bonner, and Finley can all be taken advantage of and are not the most instinctive defensive players.  If we run crisp sets and really move the ball, we will end up with open looks and we will score.

One final note:  This is the first meeting between the Lakers and the Spurs since we eliminated them from the Playoffs last season.  Think about how much we wanted to beat Boston when we saw them for the first time.  Now apply that same perspective to the Spurs mindset and that of their fan base towards us.  Not only do these franchises have a rich history and storied rivalry over the last ten years, but there are fresh wounds on their side.  So don’t be suprised at an even greater level of hate by their fans towards us tonight.  Expect there to be boos and expect Fisher to be a primary recipient.  If you don’t know why, maybe you forgot about thisIt’s apparent that they haven’t.  And then for old times sake, there’s always this.  So, expect a hard fought game and expect there to be a real home court advantage with the crowd going crazy. 

One final, final note:  For other thoughts on the game please go visit the excellent Spurs Blog 48 Minutes of Hell.  They’ve got a Q&A up with Kurt and will also be providing some updated posts with some solid insights on the Lakers/Spurs rivalry.

Where you can watch:  6:00 pm start here on the West Coast, the game is on KCAL 9.  Nationally, you’ll need league pass.  you can watch on ESPN.

-Darius

Darius Soriano

Posts

204 responses to Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. Darius, fantastic preview. My only additional insight isn’t really one: I’m pretty sure we’re on ESPN tonight.

  2. Great preview.

    This is a game where I’d play more Odom and less Drew. Gasol defended Duncan extremely well last spring, holding him to 42.5% shooting in the series. I’d also rather have Gasol defending the endless Parker-Duncan pick and rolls than Bynum. And none of San Antonio’s other bigs can matchup with Odom’s speed on the other side.

  3. Reed,
    That’s a great point. We’ve beaten them with a team that didn’t have Bynum, and did it in the playoffs. So you’re 100% correct that Odom is a great option in any plan to beat the Spurs.

  4. San Antonio sports writer Mike Monroe’s story begins with this gem:

    “Deep in their hearts, the Spurs knew their last best hope to qualify for the 2008 NBA Finals was lost in the silence of a referee’s whistle that didn’t blow in the final moments of their final home game of the Western Conference finals.”

    Yeah, OK. Fisher bumped Barry. Was it a foul? Perhaps. But anyone harping on that so-called “non-call” had better acknowledge that the refs also blew the call seconds earlier when they failed to give the Lakers a new 24-second clock after a shot hit the rim.

    If the Lakers had been given their fresh 24, odds are solid that the Spurs wouldn’t have even touched the ball again, or done so after watching the Lakers pad their lead with free throws after the Spurs would have fouled to stop the clock.

    LO should get some run tonight, for match-up purposes. But I think Bynum should be allowed to stay on the floor a lot against the Spurs second unit, which he should destroy. Force the Unabomber to play Duncan more minutes than he’d like to play him.

  5. Yea it seems like no one has forgotten that non call at the end of game 4 last year in the playoffs that should have been called a foul. Also lets not forget, the Spurs should have beatin us in game 1, as they were leading by 20 points in the third quarter! This is a team a long with their fans that are going to want to destroy us tonight. To me, one of the biggest keys of the game is to get off to a good start. Build up a good 8 to 12 point lead and keep the crowd out of the game. Coming out flat and falling behind early wouldnt be good at all, especially coming off a draining win the other night. Containing Parker is the key on defense and on offense needs to be efficient against the Spurs tough defense.

  6. Great post, Darius, with way too much concern for the Spurs fans. At this point, do we really care about how they feel about anything? I mean, they think they’re going to sneak up and beat us come April/May.

    Definitely need to keep force feeding Bynum and Gasol, if he shows he wants touches tonight. This could be the stretch where Bynum’s confidence starts to increase if the team continues to look for him and Phil gives him the PT.

  7. Off-topic, but I was just wondering if you guys have seen this before:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv0iDGFwADw&feature=related

    I love Radman more than ever now.

  8. I’m glad this is the 2nd game of a back to back. We usually play well in the 2nd game (Go figure?).

    I don’t think we see Kobe take as many shots this game as last night. As Darius pointed out, Kobe has been extremely efficient against SA lately. That typically means Kobe penetrating to the basket well, which turns into open looks for Pau and/or Drew.

    In a game where I expect our guys to be fully focused, I can’t see SA beating us.

  9. Darius,

    You might be right about Drew starting on Duncan. Drew needs to be in these situations, and also, it’s better to potentially have Drew in foul trouble over Pau.

  10. Only our Radman could do that … imagine something like that in the dunk contest, LOL.

    4 – yes, they forget the 24 second clock issue. Just like the KIngs on the Kobe- Mike Bibby no call. What they forget was that Bibby had a wrestling hold on Kobe before Kobe shook loose. A no-call was the only call.

    Last night should energize the Lakers. Houston played about as well as they could. A game like that shows how hungry the Lakers are this year as it was a game that was very easy to lose.

    Didn’t Ariza do a great job on Brooks? Odom showed why he is so important to the team. Powell is a solid player. But Sun drives me crazy.

    Strange as it might sound, even a loss to the Spurs is helpful as Phil gets his players ear and it is harder for the Spurs to “sneak up” on the Lakers in the playoffs – even though Phil, Kobe and Fischer respect the Spurs too much to let that happen. I agree that if the Lakers keep the Spurs from getting hot at the 3 point line they should win.

  11. If anyone saw Odom’s interview on NBA tv last night, I think it was the rare occassion where a player was right on explaining their own play. He said that he had trouble accepting being on the bench because this is his contract year, but being there has helped him because he is able to see some of the game, figure out what the team needs (which he says is usually energy) and then work to bring those specific things.

    From what I’ve seen that explains his contribution this year to a t. He may not be bringing the stats every night, but he brings what the team needs at any given point to win.

    I agree with Reed and Darius about last year’s frontcourt maybe playing better against Duncan and the p/r, but wonder if PJ will play Bynum more BECAUSE he isn’t as strong in these situations. Kind of force him to get used to it during a relatively routine January game. Its something to watch.

  12. Random spurs stats:

    –Duncan and Parker both have a negative +/- (last year they were both over +5.8)

    –Parker is hitting the outside shot much better this year (.455 eFG on perimeter shots)

    –Bonner has the 6th highest true shooting % in the league (.651) and is shooting 48% from three

    –The Spurs are the single best defensive rebounding team and the single worst offensive rebounding team. We are 5th in offensive rebounding, so something has to give.

    –We are 4th in pace and they are 27th; again, something has to give

  13. 12- I think we will play at the Spurs pace. If we approach this game the way we did the Boston game, I think we can play at the Spurs pace (something we may have to considering we are short on players and played last night) and still win.

    I like this Spurs team. Like Darius said, Mason and Hill just make them more formidable, mainly because the team severly needed a talent upgrade. I think Pop is the only guy in Phil’s stratosphere, and Duncan is having his biannual subtley dominant season.

    This will be a tough game to win, I think the key for us will be limiting our turnovers, as possessions will be a premium.

  14. Keeping turnovers low is not a problem for this team, so probably no worries there. I think limiting their points in the paint. I have no more illusions that we can shut the paint down, but it can’t get out of the hand like the 1st quarter last night. If they can, I smell another quality road W.

  15. Preparing to head to the AT&T Center to catch our Lakers playing the spurs. For those that don’t know, I’ve lived in SA for nine years. I moved here the year they won the asterisk 1/2 title. Needless to say, every win here is a good one. One of the best memories I have was taking my then-two year old son to Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals, aka the .4 game. As I mentioned in the wrap up to yesterday’s Houston comments, the fans here take the games extremely seriousIy. From projectile objects, pouring beer on people and obscenities, it is never dull.
    I ran into Trevor and Josh today downtown and they saw me with my Laker ID lanyard and had a good laugh. I was taking a break and they were headed to the Riverwalk for a quick bite. While I won’t be sitting courtside for tonight, Trevor did tell me he’d point up to the cheap seats if he got free for a good breakaway dunk. Looking forward to a hopefully great effort. The Spurs have Duncan down low, but we have to use our size to get after them and control their paint on the defensive end. I hope Fisher is ready for the Death Row treatment, but even if he survives that, Parker will be roaring to go. The locals here are out for blood (even for a regular season game). I would love to see Kobe drop 40 points for the first time ever on the Spurs and see us pull out the win.
    Go Lakers!!

  16. Reed,

    Phil gave up his beard and Pop got a beard, so does something have to give there too? ;-)

    In any case, communication between our bigs will be important. Darius is spot-on that whoever Duncan isn’t guarding should be given the green light to take it to the Spurs offensively. In any case, is Odom close to 100% now? It would be nice if we could get back to our regular rotation between him, Gasol, and Bynum, especially against the Spurs’ frontcourt.

  17. Kurt…

    I am impressed with the joke sentence you put in the preview about the strong side zone disappearing. This was the sentence.
    “(O’ where have you gone, strong side zone?)”

    the funny thing is, and i don’t know if it was intentional or not. You actually wrote that in Iambic pentameter, (how shakespeare wrote in verse, each line 10 syllables)

    I love this forum.

  18. #6. I only mentioned the crowd because as fans, it may suprise us if things are little bit more over the top than normal. I remember when Fisher got booed by the Jazz fans after he signed with us, we as fans were seemingly astonished to that reaction. I know they are different circumstances, I just thought it was worth a mention. I also don’t think that the crowd will bother the team. My note was moreso for us observers.

    #17. It was me, Darius, that wrote the post, but believe me it was completely unintentional. Which is completely typical; I can never impress anyone by actually trying.

  19. Remember, last night was Lamar’s 1st night back and this is a back-to-back. Lamar may need to play fewer minutes tonight because of this. Keep this in mind while getting obsessed about Phil’s substitutions.

  20. You know you read FBG too much when you can immediately tell Kurt didn’t write the post because it says “and Chat” rather than ” & Chat”

    Great preview. I love it when I have specific things to key in on while watching the game.

  21. 18 – Good point. I was honestly shocked how the Utah fans did Fish. That was insane, but I don’t think the Spurs fans have it in them to make national attention. Although, Gr8 Scott says they’re quick to pour a beer on ya at the game…

  22. Darius, sorry, all credit to you!

    I got a killer lineup tonight.

    The lakers are my favorite sports team, but The Syracuse Orange are a close second…and they are getting killed in this first half against Georgetown…..

  23. This is another game I can live with as long as we eke out a win.

    Go Lakers!

  24. Not to be negative, but I am picking the Spurs tonight by 7 or 8. This is a huge game for them. Plus, we are still a beat up team. I think that is gonna give the Spurs the edge they need.

  25. does anyone have a feed for tonight? god i hate having less-than-basic cable…

  26. Ugh, ESPN. I LOVE Mark Jackson.

  27. Radman for the Skills Challenge!

    Love that the ball’s going into the post. Gasol is on fire, Duncan or no Duncan.

  28. also on ESPN360 for those who have it

  29. Man, Gasol is torching them. If we can keep up this effort from our frontcourt, it’s hard to see how we can lose.

  30. Very good start, to repeat Mike Tirico. We’re in rhythm on offense and playing a good tempo. I’d like a little more hustle on our close outs, but I’m liking how we’re playing Paker so far.

  31. Pau is 6 for 6, although the stat sheet shows him 6 for 7. One of Bynum’s misses was given to him.

    I’ve never seen that before. It’s not like Pau and Drew are look alikes.

    Anyway, good start for Pau and the Lakers.

  32. Pau is on tonight! I like what I see. They are getting it inside early.

    Hopefully that’s a good sign of the end result. We have won most of the games where both Kobe and Pau have good nights.

  33. As the preview stated, Tony Parker being held to ten floaters would be a success….So far, that is far from the case

  34. oooohhhhh! You MUST be joking. Is that make-up for game 4?

  35. Wow major brain fart, Ariza.

    I haven’t seen as much of the Lakers as many on here, but my own observation from watching Ariza this year is that he’s a bit overrated defensively. No fault of his, I think us fans built him up way too much as a defensive stopper while he was injured. He’s a great, even elite help defender, but his individual defense isn’t as great as I used to think. Solid, not great.

    Still one of our best players, usually makes the right play at the right time.

  36. The clock should have started way earlier on that foul (since they both tipped it before Hill got the ball) but can’t really complain since it was a dumb thing to do either way

  37. thanks Darius – you’re a lifesaver.

  38. Our execution in transition: awful.

    I also don’t like how we’re defending the 3-point line.

    I’d like to see Odom take advantage of the Bonner matchup more. Overall though I like how balanced our offense is, we’re giving them a different look each time.

    Bynum looks very good, much more aggressive in the post than at the beginning of the season. He seems to be rounding into form well.

  39. We’re finally seeing Odom at the 3, just not in the line-up we thought we would.

  40. The way I see this, we now have 4 quality big men (an understatement). It seems like we should at least try one at the 3 to get the best possible results out of players. If we can play Powell 15-20 minutes without affecting Odom, Pau, or Bynum’s minutes (actually while increasing Drew’s minutes) it would be like having another great pickup.

    It’s a problem every team would die to have, but we still need to figure out the best way to milk the most out of our quality players. Good thing we have Phil on the sidelines, he’s the master of doing just that.

    By the way, Bynum’s defensive effort on Timmy has been tremendous.

  41. Damn…the team needs to finish those transition plays/get some pts off TOs. We’ve seen at least five breakdowns from transitions.

  42. I was remiss on not mentioning Ginobili more in the preview. Obviously, he’s also a player that can’t let just stand there and fire up wide open jumpers. He’s also a real difference maker. We’ve got to find a way of disrupting his rhythm…denying him, forcing him to a double team/trap, anything other than what we’re doing so far, really.

  43. I love how the announcers went from singing Ginobli’s praises as being so unselfish to come off the bench to excoriating the sentiment he expressed that to explain why he doesn’t mind not starting (that the opening minutes aree a warmup)

  44. Looks like we got our work cut out for us this game. Ginobli needs to be controlled or we lose this game.

  45. Great post Darius, the open shots they are getting is not good, both teams over 60 points, did not expect that.

  46. this may be the best half of basketball I’ve seen this year. I feel OK, knowing that we’ve blown a few fast breaks, and a few kobe turnovers, that won’t happen again, (I hope), so we should come out angry, and determined in the 2nd half. both teams are comfortable being within a couple points at the end of the game, they have their finishers, we have ours…gonna be a great friggin game!
    and for a change, I get to see it in HD on TV! yeah…noice..(quoting stu)

  47. Kurt or Darius,

    Just edit my comment. I guess I just got too frustrated.

  48. Anyone know why Ariza is not playing?

  49. Wondahbap,
    Your comment was held for moderation. Personally, I don’t think it was anything too bad, but we’ll keep the conversation as non-confrontational as possible. So, I’m going to delete the comment, but if you want to write something else that isn’t towards another commenter, feel free.

  50. Nevermind.

  51. Is Tirico pronouncing Sun’s name right?

  52. Trevor’s channeling some Radman tonight. That’s 6 points we shouldn’t have given up…

  53. BS Foul on Ginobli…if they have the replay, why can’t they call the shove? And Ginobli kicked his leg out!

    Kobe needs to stop Ginobli. We need to d up now!

  54. we really should be winning this game, fouls on 2 threes and a couple of botched transition plays the difference

  55. 8 pts down going into the 4th…

    Not great, but unless we get impatient, certainly doable…

    Just hoping our guys have enough in them after yesterday.

  56. Does anyone know why Sasha isn’t playing?

  57. Right now, the Spurs are the fresher, deeper team. They’re getting contributions from all their players and Ginobili is making up for an entire playoff series of injury induced struggles in one night. The game is not over by any means, but we need a gut check and close to flawless execution to pull this out.

  58. #58. Sasha is out with back spasms. He didn’t make the trip to Houston and thus is not in San Antonio.

  59. phil really will experiment in any situation

  60. Sasha is out with back spasms. He didn’t travel with the Lakers for the trip.

  61. Two minute rest goes with just -1, i guess that’s good.

    Kinda hard to picture us losing by 10 when looking at the box score. Everyone but Vlad and Powell is shooting 50%+ TOs are huge but still…

  62. With 7:54 left in the game, the Lakers don’t have one player that’s in the positive of +/- AND the Spurs don’t have one player in the negative. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen that from our team.

  63. Thanks guys…I missed yesterday’s game, so I wasn’t aware he wasn’t with the team.

  64. Not sure how Ariza getting creamed right there isn’t a call.

  65. Powell on the pick and pop is working right now…

  66. kobe and powell….kobe and powelll…..kobe

  67. Powell #1

  68. Ronny Clone!

  69. JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSH POWWWWEEELLLL

  70. So, this Powell guy, who is he? haha.

  71. I really hope we re-sign Powell. Horace Grant-lite, at the very least.

  72. Just a little bit ago down by 9, now a whole new ballgame, go Josh.

  73. holy crap, go Josh Powell

  74. have to say that kobe 3 really changed the game

  75. I like Powell’s ‘cool under pressure’ performance.

  76. And Kobe is being a great facilitator.

  77. wohoo josh powell with a foul!!!

    this is my problem with just Boxscore watching, I tend to just look at the name and not the action hehe for a minute there i thought it was another good thing. hehe that was a stretch were josh powell’s actions are all tied to positive things

  78. TD with a flop.

  79. Wow… I am just astonished at this comeback. What an effort!

  80. TESTICLE DANCE

  81. KOBE = CLUTCH

  82. KOBE!!!!!!!

  83. Momma, there goes that man.

  84. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

    MVP MVP MVP

    GOAT!

  85. Oh my god Kobe.

  86. Noooooo Kobe, not the “big balls” routine!!!

  87. Stop! Kobe time!

  88. OMG MY HEART I CANT TAKE IT

  89. Watch out for a Kick and Drive by Parker for a 3 here..they hit one against Phoenix with Mason in a similar situation

  90. YYYEEEEAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  91. Oh my god Fish.

  92. that’s just unreal

  93. Terrible.

  94. Good job Fisher…

  95. Oh my god Ariza.

  96. Come on Fish. What an awful foul. And why did we go to Ariza on that shot?

  97. How was that a foul? Is it because he kicked his leg out?!

  98. cant call that

  99. Why didn’t KOBE take the shot..

  100. Looks like those botched fastbreaks that we missed came back to haunt us.

  101. BS travel call as well…

  102. 3 terrible defensive series at the end of quarters sealed this one

  103. ginobli fouled ariza on that. bit of a hip check.

  104. 107

    Yep.

  105. well firstly, what is fish doing, secondly kobe’s got to take that shot no matter what, and thirdly I think Trevor was fouled

  106. And how on earth is that a travel? Horrible, horrible call on the refs.

  107. Great game…but we totally got jobbed. If it takes 3 of our reserves to be out plus the referees to want the Spurs to win the game, no matter what happens, I’ll deal. This was the payback for Game 4 of the WCF as far as those referees are concerned. Whatever, we’ll see them in May…we’ll see who comes out on top then.

  108. Hate to blame it on one player but, Fisher made a really boneheaded play…..and giving it to Mr. travel at the end doesnt help either….

  109. ugh. that was a heartbreaker. a great game. bittersweet game.

  110. geesh, a timeout would’ve been nice.

  111. I hate NBA officiating. I simply hate it.

  112. I’m not one to complain about officiating, but how do they blow two calls on one play?

    What the hell was Fish thinking?

  113. this is a very disappointing loss…

  114. This is a loss I can take, we had our bonehead mistakes, but it really took the Spurs a couple lucky bounces to win by 1 pt on a back-to-back roadie for us.

    Besides, we ‘found’ Powell (or better yet, he found himself).

    Anyway, darn good game, although we came up short.

  115. 113 – I’m pretty sure that we had no timeouts left.

  116. 118- we did if i recall we had 1 20 sec left and 1 full

  117. With replay…no travel on Ariza, but actually got bumped by Ginobli (more contact than the BS call on Mason), Ariza heard the whistle and that’s why he threw it up.

  118. Great freakin game. An SVU would find plenty of evidence on the court seeing how much nad was dragging around the place. Kobe-nad, Duncan-nad, Mason-nad… Just wish it ended happy for us but again, fun game. My wife said, “Fish is going to be kicking himself”. My retort, “Not before Kobe does”. Dude was pissed.

  119. Dont blame the officiating guys, it was a foul on Fisher. We play this team in LA in about 11 days, we are gonna get major payback!

  120. Not impressed. Spurs won on a combo of hot shooting and luck. Those were two very lucky shots to end the game. I’m convinced as ever thatwe r a better team

  121. I am really proud of our guys.

    This one was on Fish. We let the zebras take this one from us.

  122. we had a timeout, i dont mind not taking a timeout but only if kobe takes, at the end of the day it was a great comeback, the spurs played really well, we have 3 injuries, the refs made some bad calls, we were on a back to back and we only lost by one, good performence at the end of the day

  123. We can talk refs or we can look at the real reasons we lost. The Spurs shot 57% from the floor including 10-20 on threes. You add the bad gamble by Fish at the end of the game (which led directly to his foul by running up Mason Jr.’s back) and you’ve got a loss. The fact is we gave up some key plays in some key moments and we lost.

    All that said, I love the heart and determination that we showed in not giving up and battling back when many teams wouldn’t have made the run, much less taken the lead. We’re going to lose some games, but when the team fights as hard as it did, especially when we’re down a couple of guys it’s a nice thing to see.

  124. Is it a travel even if there was contact that caused the player to travel? Or was the contact simply ignored? And how can you ignore an obvious foul that caused a player to travel, and then call him for traveling, at the end of a game?

  125. I agree with all of you. That was the worst officiating experience I’ve seen this year. The leg kick by Mason (that’s an offensive foul) and the travel call on Ariza (block on the Gin-o-bi-li).

    The refs never determine games, the Lakers looked sloppy in the first quarter. Failed to close out and it cost them the game. I hope PJ drives home the point. I know the Lakers were shorthanded, but they do not play again until Friday.

  126. if we could turn our D on like we do in the last minutes of the game and utilize our hot offense we really would be unstoppable.

    p.s. that was more a foul if anything on ariza and i love how PJ did not take a time out after the free throw by mason

  127. Don’t these refs know that Fisher is allowed to foul the shooter when the game is on the line?

    Come on!

  128. Now, the Spurs can’t cry about Fisher’s foul last season. It’s even now, the slate’s wiped clean.

  129. Refs had nothing to do w the loss. Fish made a horrible decision, and the spurs lucked out. That’s all. Our team played great. If we see them in the po, lakers in 6, at the MOST

  130. Yeah I’m not gonna back down from my stance that the referees were terrible and definitely favored the Spurs with the calls, but the Lakers didn’t help their own cause by waiting until the last 6 minutes or so to start playing defense. You’d hope they’d get up to play the Spurs like they did the Celtics, or the Hornets when they played them in New Orleans, but apparently not.

  131. Other than the obvious 2 for 1 bad call, I think tonight was the night that Andrew Bynum grew up.

    He came up very big against an All time great tonight, and what I like best was that he wanted the ball, got the ball, and showed great patience with his moves, and TOOK position, not settled for it.

    Also, Josh played great. How deep can we be?

    Vlad still has no brain. Why does he constantly cheat in when he’s on the weak side, and leave 3-Pt shooter space, when he has no business cheating in. He’s not in position to rebound, and obviously can’t make a defensive play on the ball. Instead a skip pass is made and he’s watching 3 points go in. Why can’t he figure this out? Every game he does this, along with cutting under the basket and bring a defender, just as Pau or Drew are posting up with the ball and ready to make a move to the basket. He kills it.

    Ugh. that hurt. Big marbles shot by Kobe, 5 seconds, boneheaded play by Fish, and 2 blown calls on one play. Spurs fans might be encouraged, but they can’t feel too good. I’m proud our guys erased an 11 point lead, with 6 minutes to go, on the road, missing 2 guys, in the 2nd game of a back to back.

  132. Also, Mason totally kicked out at Fisher. Not Fisher’s fault, bad call by the refs. Though I guess what’s Fisher doing behind him when he’s supposed to be guarding him in the first place? Also, Ariza didn’t travel and he got fouled.

  133. Well… at least it was fun to see Kobe do the Sam Cassell dance.

  134. Ariza has been called for a lot of travels lately, despite it being LeBron with the open ‘crab-dribble’ talk. I hate jump on a conspiracy wagon, but there really seems to be some sort of an agenda if one player keeps getting called, with the game on the line to boot.

    But let’s think about this game for a sec:
    Kobe had 5 TOs
    Pau had 4 TOs
    (other guys had close to none!)
    Radman was 0-4 on 3s
    We let the Spurs shoot 56% and 50%
    As well as 10 more FTs
    We had some really dumb fouls
    And a terrible travel
    We were down 11 in the 4th quarter
    Bynum only had 3 rebounds
    It was a road game
    It was at the end of a back-to-back
    It was after a tough game where our main players played 40+

    And we still lost by 1 pt at the last minute.

    Wow.

  135. hey all, watched the end of that one from vacation in Vegas. Fun game to watch. Tough loss only because I thought we had it won, but that is not a loss that bothers me in that it was a good team on a back-to-back and we should still have won. Mason got Lucky on that shot as did Manu on that end of the quarter three. And Ariza did not travel.

    Great preview Darius.

  136. I ca understand why PJ didn’t take a timeout. Why let the Spurs get set?

    You have Kobe on the floor (being guarded by Roger Mason). Let the flow of the game take over, not a set play, where you can let Pop plan and make substitutions.

    We have the advantage by not calling a timeout.

  137. Disappointing end to a very entertaining game. Would have been huge to have pulled that kinda game out on the road.

    Fisher’s foul doesn’t bother me nearly as much as his gamble, which led directly to him being out of position, then fouling. When you’re in the last minute of a tight game you *never* go for the gamble steal unless you’re absolutely sure you’re gonna get your hand on the ball.

    As great as Kobe was tonight I don’t think he handled the last play particularly well. Throughout the quarter he’d made sure his passes led directly to good scoring opportunities for others, but at the end he let himself get doubled too easily and too close to half court, which made his pass go to someone (Ariza) who then had to create a shot.

    *Tough* loss, but everything considered not a *bad* loss.

  138. It wasn’t the best of officiating at the end, but the Lakers shouldn’t have put themselves in a position that allowed some bad calls in the last 15 seconds to decide the game. If they’d played better throughout, it wouldn’t have come down to that. Great play down the stretch nonetheless, coming back from 11 like that.

  139. im still pretty pissed but thats the best game Ive seen this season

  140. what a game, I’m also not too upset that we lost, in my mind we actually won it on other merits.
    the call on fish was hard to take mason swung out his leg, but…
    the shot by duncan where it slipped out of his hands and went in…
    and the travel call…
    the fact that we fought back and had them ‘on the ropes’ you could see it in their body language,
    the spurs felt lucky to escape with a win.
    we will own these guys at the end, when it counts.
    nice to see powell get some quality PT toniight!

  141. James,

    Easily.

    By the way, Kobe Bryant is simply the best professional player in the world. You can have LBJ and all his “potentia,” but that is what these guys get paid for and there is no better at it than #24.

  142. No travel. Ariza clearly took a crab dribble.

  143. 141. No doubt, no way lebron makes those 3’s kobe made tonight and last nite

  144. I usually don’t complain about the refs either but…seriously there were key moments where the call was totally one sided.

    -Ariza’s foul on the 3 on Ginobli…I didn’t see any contact at the top where Ginobli shot (maybe I can’t see very well). So if the contact was called when Ginobli kicked his leg out to get contact, that’s an offensive foul.

    -Loose ball in the foul. Ariza and Duncan dives. Duncan retrieves it but Odom was there right behind to get a hold of the ball. But refs determined that was a timeout?!

    -Ariza gets body contact from Duncan and falls down on the ground and gets no foul called. However, Josh Powell touches Ginobli on a drive and he gets an an one. The commentators may say he had body contact, but it was just his hand on the back, not even pushing him really. If you’re gonna call that foul, then you gonna call the Duncan block on Ariza where he was clearly touching his body on the way up.

    -There were like 6 key plays of the game that went the way of the San Antonio Spurs. I guess that’s home court advantage for you.

    Maybe I’m wrong about all this and am just fuming after the lost. It was a tough lost where we saw some beautiful basketball played by the Lakers at the end of the game. Just tougher when you know the team gave it their all and couldn’t get over the hump. If only the game ended 12 seconds sooner.

  145. Darius,

    I need to see this sort of effort resulting in high FG% from the opposition for a week or two before I’m concerned about the defense. As I see it, we ran into two very good teams who were up for playing the Lakers, were at home, and had hot shooting nights in spite of the D. If this becomes a pattern then I’ll worry.

    Watching the game, I was thinking about something I either read or saw in an interview with Bill Russell. He was talking about playing a game where both teams were clicking, both playing top level defense, players making difficult shots and both teams going back and forth like this for long stretches. He said he had maybe 2 or 3 games in his whole career that went like this from tip off to final buzzer and that they were the greatest experiences in his basketball career. He remembers wanting the other team to keep playing well and listening to Russell I obviously think of those games as some sort of Zen experience for the players. There were portions to tonight’s game where it looked to me like the players were experiencing pleasure in both teams playing at a high level. I know I did.

  146. There’s no just getting over a loss like this. If it has been close the whole time, and we turn sloppy in the closing seconds and lose by a point, it hurts, but not like this. Not when Kobe comes in with eight minutes to play, and you’re already kind of consigned to losing, and he puts on a show that’d have you up bright and early the next day to rewatch the fourth quarter and marvel and leave for work without needing coffee or breakfast or lunch for that matter because you’ve transcended all that — the sort of show that you’d think of years from now with a hot stab of joy — except it was negated by a whimper of stupidity. I think we’ll beat their asses in the playoffs and I think we’ll go on to win the finals but that eight minutes was for the ages and the ages got gipped and it sucks and there’s no getting over it.

  147. Does anyone else agree that Fisher makes the dumbest plays on the team? We always see it with his wild drives to the basket that are uncalled for, and now that defensive blunder… Jeez…

  148. Well, first let’s dwell on the officiating: Manu got three FTs when he kicked Ariza in the man region while shooting a three. Ariza got totally hammered by Duncan in the second half when he went up for a drive and someone knocked the ball out of his hands before Timmy landed on him. The foul on Fisher at the end was accentuated by Mason kicking his leg out, but there was a little bit of contact first. The refs missed an obvious hip check by Manu on Trevor’s travel at the end. If you “want the players to decide the game,” then either call the foul on Fish AND call the foul on Manu, or don’t blow the whistle on either play.

    OK, now that we’ve established all that, there is absolutely no way that Fish should have gambled on that play. If he deflects the pass, it only goes out of bounds. So, it’s a high risk, no reward type of play. For a veteran, Fish sure makes some bonehead defensive plays on final possessions. He got away with the contact on Brent Barry in Game 4, he got away with contact on the final play against the Heat on Sunday, and he made a bad gamble on that pass to Mason. Even if he had somehow intercepted the pass and actually controlled it, he would have been falling out of bounds. But he was too far away to even deflect the pass. Staying in Mason’s grill would have been a much better strategy.

  149. His first mistake was gambling for the steal. Even if Mason catches it cleanly, he has a much contested 3 pointer. Then after mason catches it, at that point, you have to let him be. Whether or not Maso kicked out or not, you’re not going to get that not called. Especially in that situation.

  150. No, I don’t think Fisher makes dumb plays. He crowded and contested Mason’s shot. Everybody and their mom knew Mason would get a shot from the corner. Mason did it and got contact. Call could have gone either way.

    You want to talk about dumb, let’s refresh our memories. How about a barage of Smush Parker fouling 35 feet from the hoop. Or Sasha in his rookie and second season mimicing Smush and fouling 35 feet out on the floor.

    By all accounts, Ariza made some pretty dumb fouls tonight as well. On two threes at the end of quarters.

    For all the offensive fouls he draws and his court leadership, I think Fish is a smart player.

  151. Im sorry but, you NEVER foul a jump shooter, especially at the end of a game like that. All Fish had to do was put his arms straight up, a foul that should never happen if you ask me. Im not blaming the loss on Fish, Im just saying it was bad defense gambling like he did.

  152. Sorry for the double post, but Phil should have put in Drew to defend Timmy

  153. On people’s comments about Fisher being dumb…can we please give this guy a break on one play?

    He’s been a soldier and playing 40 minutes a night since Farmar’s been down in what seems like ages ago with a body that’s way on the wrong side of 30. He’s been playing pretty well right now and we’re gonna crucify the man with one play? The team has been winning without Farmar and without Fish, we all know we would be losing. And how can people give passes on the refs making terrible calls tonight but throw Fisher under the bridge for one mistake. It was a back to back and he’s played big minutes. Give this guy some break. Let’s not be fickle guys.

  154. Fish is a smart player, but that foul was inexcusable. Not unforgivable, but inexcusable. He got beat, looked scared, and just reached out and grabbed him. Like when you startle an old man and he jerks and cries out and spills his drink on you. Drinks were on Kobe tonight and Fish dropped his.

  155. Sorry for the double post.

    wondahbap,

    I’ve been following the FreeDarko debate about Kobe v. LBJ. Obviously I’m a Lakers fan and I’ve been enjoying this 12 year, and counting, ride of watching one of the greatest playing out his career as a Laker. I was too young to see the Wilt, Logo and Baylor play. I did see Mag, Kareem and Worthy make the show. The fact that my near 3-year old son lists his favorite players as Kobe, LO and Shaq (and he has no clue that Shaq was ever a Laker) has started the healing I need regarding how Shaq left the organization. I’m in the camp were it seems obvious to me that LeBron has become the best in the game right now. The whole Kobe is mortal and LeBron is something transcendent of how the game has ever been played makes some sense to me. I get that statistically LeBron is already better then Kobe which, aside from my fantasy league, means nothing to me. I just watch LeBron and can see that he can now take over a game in ways that I’ve only ever seen Jordan do. I think he will be even more dominant then Jordan was, prime to prime. But damn, who freakin cares? We were blessed to see Jordan do his thing. Kobe is still with us and LeBron is special like no one before him.

    You and I have gone at it on political issues and fair enough, even if you and I have very little influence regarding real power in the world, at least that power means something to humanity. When it comes to basketball and our teams, when we get to this discussion of which player is better I just think of how lucky we are to have players so good that we feel the urge to make comparisons as we do.

    I can feel it, Josh Powell will be the conduit of something great for this team before its all said and done. I’m sorry, I enjoy Ronny, but Powell suits this team in ways that Turiaf might if he could stay on the court long enough. That and he was never this money from 12-14 feet.

  156. I got to side with hansoulfood. Fish was at the end of a back-to-back, playing far too many minutes, and he made a boneheaded play. Well, the Lakers made several poor plays, as did the Spurs, but not as many as the zebras tonight.

    We have gotten some benefits this season and tonight should repay all of them. Now let’s start with a clean slate.

  157. P. Ami,
    There is a blog out there comparing Lebron and Kobe and they note that Lebron is not nearly the shooter Kobe is in the midrange game and at the 3pt line. You can still plan defenses to take him to certain spots where his shooting percentage is not great. Also, his free throw accuracy is still quite a bit lower than Kobe. Sure he has more ESPN plays, but you would expect that from his game. At the end of the game Kobe has no equal. Lebron is definitely coming, but Kobe is still marginally ahead of him, at this time.

  158. 157 – Well said. Seriously, no need to overreact over a regular season game like this. The game was lost by bad transition execution, horrible perimeter D (not closing out or rotating well), and a few boneheaded plays from Ariza and Fish. I’ll live with it.

    I actually thought there were some major positives in this game:

    1) Bynum. I was very impressed with how he played today. He’s gotten high point scores before, but today most of his points weren’t created by others. He scored 1-on-1 often, taking it straight to Duncan. If we can dump it down to him and count on some offensive post moves, it adds a complete new dimension to this team (a 2nd post option on offense after Pau).

    2) Bynum on the other end. His individual defense on TD was better than Pau’s, and I generally think Pau plays TD very well. Moved his feet, arms up, bodied Duncan up, and cut off his angles of attack. Very good defensive performance.

    3) Powell. He reminds me of Udonis Haslem, a blue-collar guy who can do the dirty work and still nail the midrange jumpshot. Has the poise to execute down the stretch.

    What does everyone think we should do with our frontcourt? This much depth is a problem 29 other teams would die for, no doubt. But it still needs to be sorted out. We need to maximize contributions from all 4 quality big men. I wish we could play one of them at the 3. That would solve everything. I want to see more of Powell, but also more of Drew now, and I love when Lamar’s versatility enters the game, and yet I hate seeing Pau go to the bench. Decisions, decisions…

  159. Nothing has changed between LeBron and Kobe until LeBron proves he can make jumpers consistently in the playoffs.

  160. Hey, I love Fish just as much as anyone, but the guy does make quite a few dumb decisions, thats all I am trying to say, and the play at the end was a dumb foul that should never have happened. But I know Fish does a great job for us, but I feel my criticism is fair in this case.

  161. #149. I’m not down on our defense. I’m just saying that we lost because the Spurs were able to hit the shots they hit and they made some key plays combined with us making some key mistakes. We could have played better but the Spurs definitely played very well on offense (for the majority of the game) and there were just one too many things that didn’t go our way. We made too many mistakes and the Spurs were able to make a couple of plays and hang on. I actually think that if this game proves anything, it’s a reinforcement of the idea that it takes a truly special effort from one or more of the opposing player to beat us. Tonight it was Ginobili being amazing in stretches and a very strong performance from Mason; against Detroit they hit shot after shot that were contested; against the Pacers Granger and Ford had very strong games; against the Hornets Paul was spectacular and West had a career night; and on and on and on. Just look at the boxscores and you’ll see it takes a special effort to take us down. So I’m not down on our D at all. We’re okay…ha.

    #155. Let’s take a step back and not condemn Fisher because of a mistake tonight and then highlighting one or two facets of his game that are not his strong suit. Sure, Fisher made a mistake at the end and I’m pretty sure if you asked him he’d take responsibility for that and not make any excuses. And I get just as frustrated as anyone else when Fish forces a drive or doesn’t make the perfect play on the break. But I’ll take all those mistakes, and then some, in exchange for all the things he actually brings to the table.

  162. quality loss by the blue and gold.

  163. The thing that sucks is that Kobe played maybe his finest game of the season, he was just masterful in the fourth quarter passing out of double teams or scoring … he played the “right” way … and the Lakers still lost.

  164. I won’t even get in to the Fish call. But that was 2 steps, I counted…

  165. 164 Joe:

    I agree. I love the fact that Derek Fisher is back where he belongs. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t sometimes make boneheaded defensive plays in the final seconds of one-possession games. The difference between his mistakes and Vlad’s is that at least he knows where the ball is going and tries to affect the shooter…LOL

  166. On the last play I was hoping Kobe would attack quickly since they didn’t double him right away. He was on fire at that point, and there’s no sense running the clock down when you’re trailing. Other than that, no complaints. They staged a gutsy comeback and in the end were unlucky not to pull it out.

  167. It looked like Kobe had a chance to get a shot off on the last play before Manu came over to double. Once Kobe passed to Trevor with 3 seconds to go, Trevor has to shoot, Trevor’s much more efficient taking jump shots than slashing to the hoop.

    Overall, though, I’m a big picture guy and the Lakers will win a lot of games playing the way the did tonight shorthanded. My only regret is that in the race for homecourt advantage, the Lakers are now 3rd place in the Road Win/Home Loss standings (11-2) behind Cleveland (11-0) and Boston (12-2)

  168. ::heavy sigh::
    My heart was definitely pounding throughout the end of the game. I couldn’t believe the lakers were able to make a push to get back into the game. I couldn’t believe that the Spurs went so very cold (partly due to good defense). I couldn’t believe that Kobe made that clutch three (okay, maybe i can believe that). I can’t believe that Fisher fouled Mason (no argument at all). And that was a bogus traveling call. DVR confirms it. What a huge letdown at the end but I suppose we’ll live to see another day.

    I am not agreeing with Darius tonight. The Lakers defense (until midway through the fourth quarter) was fairly pedestrian. I’d hate to be the schmuck who has to count the number of open shots the Spurs were able to get tonight because you’d certainly need an abacus.

    I don’t think the world is falling, but the Lakers play at the end of the game was fairly worrisome if lessons aren’t learned soon. We are fouling too many people (Kobe and Fish) at key points in games. And the Lakers haven’t been able to get Kobe, Pau, and Bynum going hot on the same night in a while. This might be due to defensive strategy, but it’d be nice if they could figure out how to get that trio rolling all together.

  169. If we can beat the Magic on Friday, we will be right back on the right track. Though seeing how horrible the Lakers defended the 3 tonight, they are gonna have to find some way to defend it against the Magic

  170. ESPN’s Daily Dime showing our guys a whole lotta love. Losing stinks, but we went down fighting. Can’t ask for more… but a Win, though. ARRRGH

  171. That was a great game any way you slice it. Before I get to that let me give your boy Darius props on a dope name and phat site! I like your style bruh’. You tell it like it is, not like how you wish it to be.

    I can’t lie I am a die hard Spurs fan. I’ve followed them since the ABA days. Unlike the Lakers, SA’s championship history has been a more recent occurrence. Fraught with early controversy (“the asterisk year” comes to mind) and much (seeming) corporate disdain for this “small market” team’s success, the Spurs are a class act and do their talking when they hit the hardwood. They respect all their opponents and really enjoy the game and its team concept. T

    hey are the first of the very few transplanted “ABA” teams to win a championship. So, all respect to the late Mr. Auerbach, but what was the ABA “aspiring to be”? The template for modern ballers? Champions TOO, maybe ;)?!

    All that aside, the Lakers are the Western Conference standard bearers. With double-digit championships under their waistbands their appeal is worldwide. Go to the home games in SA and the Laker contingent is significant. You only see that with “local” teams like Houston. The former seems less traitorous than the last, fo’ sho’!

    You do have to admit that the NBA is a Big Business, an international enterprise, a money-making juggernaut. With that in mind it’s easy to surmise why “old school” NBA teams like the Celts for the East and the Lakeshow for the West have true dynasty type finals records. $$$$$$$$$$

    BTW the Spurs would not have won last year even if Manu was 100%. The NBA couldn’t take another dismal ratings hit like they did the prior years. There probably will never be back-to-backs for Tim and company. Sad but true. No one wants to watch REAL basketball, just glorified pick-up ball.

    So what I’m getting at is, yes, there were horrendous calls by that reffing group last night. After all they are the weakest core the NBA has. Know that the wack calls have gone both ways in the past, often favoring Kobe and/or Shaq– or both– especially with that hodge-podge cast they had from the last “dynasty”. Rick Fox? Horace Grant? Dennis Scott? Derek “Lucky Arse” Fisher? BRIAN SHAW?! You gotta admit all those long rebounds off of horrendous bricks and timely calls did help an already blessed duo.

    Haha. Anyway, the point is, yes we have had Timmy D. and the man every La-La Lander likes to hate because he was infinitely more athletic and talented than Shaq and SOLO for years, David Robinson, but we ain’t never had Wilt. The Iceman is legendary, but we didn’t have Elgin Baylor or Kobe. Actually I love Manu but he’s a broke Kobe. If anything I feel Parker is not only underrated and one of the top three point guards in the NBA, but he ain’t no Magic. I don’t even have to mention Kareem or Worthy. RIDICULOUS.

    Your team almost always gets the calls against us. For every bad call you can name when the Lakers play the Spurs I can give you two from this perspective. It is all relative.

    If the Spurs win it all it will be this year. The rest of the teams in the West are stacked. We make due with a core three and a cast of characters who have to buy into a system often predicated on defense and heady play. That’s not to say we cannot score. Every Super-Sized West Coast offensive team has felt the Spurs lay an offensive whuppin’ on them more than once. Ask Phoenix and Denver what it smell like…

    LA has the chance to be a dynasty if they buy into a system which is more methodical and defensive oriented. Not sporadically defensive minded, but steadfast in that conviction. No great teams play with an average or inconsistent defensive philosophy, especially late in the playoffs. Ask Dallas, Phoenix and Denver what weak defense has led to.

    The Lakers can’t shoot their load too quickly either. Pacing your game is integral in a championship run. You know this. If you guys don’t poop out at the very end and if the Lakers bully instead of being bullied, you could beat the Celts, Cavs, Spurs or whoever the NBA has to offer. You have the personnel fo’ sheez’! Oh except for Hooyabeyotch (Booyabitch?). That cat is OVER, OVERRATED! He’s annoying and almost as good as Beno Udrih. It must be the 70’s unwashed hair. That cat is just loved out there…

    I have a feeling that anything pro sport related will pander to the East Coast though, so remember that the refs are the ringers! You guys would have to play near flawless ball to win it all, like the Spurs had to, to win their 4 championships. That way the “ringers” would have to be blatantly making bad calls. They’d never show their a$$es like that, so that’s something you fans need to take into account.

    Last year’s NBA finals should give you a small inkling of what the Spurs have to endure every year before and during the POs. You guys were robbed in the calls department and then punked like a JV team by an even more stacked and “enabled” team. I watched it and it sucked. The ratings were high because the common cat doesn’t know real ball and likes to nutride.

    That game last night was a fun game to watch. I know that the Spurs respect LA. I know that Pop gives them props often. I also know that as nice as PJ is he is not gracious or even fair in returning this praise. A true adult can give kudos when they are deserved even against a perceived “enemy”. It doesn’t lessen you to say someone or something is “DOPE”! It’s good to see that most of you are not like Mr. Passive-Aggressive Zen Meister.

    Oh and our fans are he most gracious to ALL the players. Friend or foe. We have NEVER booed our team or players no matter how bad they play. Hearing that shite from most of the other good teams home crowd is perplexing. Including the Lakers crowd who I suspect are less true fans and more greedy glory hounds. I have never been to a game where fans poured beer on opposing fans or threw things on the court. Never even heard of that crap. think your transplanted Benedict Arnold Shwarzafaker, GR8 Scizzott, was mistaking a Utah game for a Spurs game. Don’t believe the hater’s hype!!!

    I enjoyed most of your takes and many of you obviously have good basketball acumen and a true love for your team and the sport.Don’t get it twisted! And IT IS THE GREATEST SPORT IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM!!!

    I look forward to the teams meeting at your crib. We ain’t going nowhere and neither are you guys. Forget NO and Utah. Portland is already running outta gas and surprises AGAIN, so it’s going to be us two in the Best Coast Finals!!! I can’t freakin’ wait! Whoever wins is gonna wax the Least Coast!!!

    Oh and I agree with some of you guys. Fisher f’ed it up last night. Fisher who has always been beloved and hyped by the LA fans is and has always been weak, weak, wack IMHO! He ain’t got no neck for f-cksake ;)! He can barely dribble, he moves like a shorter, older Horry. I mean dude just flings sh-t up while staring at the ceiling! I doubt any current team with Derek Fisher at the wheel will ever be able to win it all. Good thing you guys got Farmar…

    Peace-> ONE!

  172. Any idea how many points the Lakers gave up in the last 10 seconds of each quarter? Between the long range threes, and the fouls, it had to be nearing 20 points.

    I think we know the message Phil will be sending: Finish the quarters strong!

    If the Lakers had done that they would have had the win.

  173. P. Ami,

    I’m a bit hesitant posting this comment here, because another Kobe v. LBJ back and forth is exhausting (as BS said also).

    I agreed with Shoal’s original point about the new heights LBJ’s potential could bring us us. obviously, my choice as Best today is Kobe, but it’s true, his greatness is cursed by MJ (and Shaq).

    I don’t agree that LBJ is the best right now, but that’s fine with me if people feel that he is. My problem is with their reliance on stats to measure LBJ’s greatness. That’s how the drawn out dialogue started.

    They cling to stats, and say it’s objective. I say it’s completely the opposite. Stats can lie. They quote John Hollinger or Bill Simmons, or some bogus ESPN/ABC storyline. They still use that lame argument of LeBron’s teammates being terrible, but the Lakers are SO talented. When exactly was it set in stone that they should be?

    My whole point really wasn’t that I think Kobe is the Best, only that I felt LBJ hasn’t set himself apart using any evaluation (stats, eyeball, accomplishments, celebrity) to warrant the Crown.

    It’s too bad that these arguments are had. I can enjoy both. Most people who take sides can’t.

    As far as our political differences, it’s all forgotten. I see you as a Laker fan. I’m sure we’ll clash again in 2012, but that’s on another site, with your alter ego, and it’s nothing personal (at least it shouldn’t be anymore).

  174. this is a testament to how BAD the ESPN announcers are, even my wife commented on how they were just talking about silly stuff, not actually covering the game-
    I noticed that D Fish called a quick time out, even before PJ could get off the bench, and I wondered why… then I read this in the LA Times –
    He was injured while guarding San Antonio’s George Hill on a drive and called time out a few seconds later. He walked into the locker room with longtime trainer Gary Vitti and missed almost 4 1/2 minutes of actual game time, emerging with 3:37 left in the fourth quarter.

    and the guys at ESPN never once mentioned it, they were too busy talking about their own personal agenda’s opinion,s etc…
    man, I miss chickenstew…

  175. Argh! I don’t mind the no-call at the end, where Ariza got bumped. End-of-game scenarios, you let things like that go. But the travel!? In a league wher you have to take 5 steps for them to call it, they called it after only two steps?! Maddening.

    Kudos to Trevor for attacking the basket at that time, though, and not just looking to give it back to Kobe in a late-game situation. You know what, props to the whole team for getting Kobe so many 4th quarter assists by taking the open shot. It hasn’t always been that way.

  176. San Antonio may need a special room to display all the incidents involving Derek Fisher and their precious Spurs in the fourth quarter of games. Most of them were part of Laker victories. This went the other way. We don’t need to blame anyone for this Laker loss–especially Derek Fisher.

    This was overall a great game. The Spurs played extremely well, and, though the finish might well have involved “home cooking,” the Spurs played well enough to win.

    Mason made the game winning shot (and the free throw), much like he had done at a previous game. It wasn’t a fluke. Ginobli earlier made three great steals against Kobe and a momentum changing three at the end of a quarter. Duncan made some hotly contested shots toward the end. Their 3 point shooting percentage throughout the game was unreal.

    That with a slightly different ending, the Lakers could still have won but didn’t may provide both confidence and a renewed desire to win on the road.

    We may find out very soon in Orlando.

  177. Reflecting on the past 12 hours, I give the Lakers a W. The fellas at the Daily Dime got this one right: For being down by 11 in the 4th, back-to-back, 3 players injured who get about 20 minutes a game, against a hot-shooting Spurs, and in the face of referee adversity in the final minute of the game, chalk up a W for the Lakers.

    The Lakers won the game in the paint and the Spurs will need to continue their success from the outside, which they are unable to do on a consistent basis. I have no fear about facing the Spurs again; especially with a healthier roster.

  178. I can live with a one point loss to a hot shooting spurs team, in San Antonio, on the second night of a back to back with no guards coming of the bench for the last two games. Especially since the Spurs won by a lucky and-1 at the end because Fisher went for the steal then bumped into Mason coming back in bounds.

    That was an interesting Phil had out there at the beginning of the 4th Quarter, with a Center, two PF, and 2 SF. Trevor was the shortest guy on the court at 6’8” that had to be one of the biggest line ups ever on a basket ball court. It was pretty effective too.

    Kobe was amazing last night, he made all the right plays at the end of the game, passes to Powell (who was great last night too), attacking the basket when there was no double team, the huge 3 pointer. Even after all this time I am still amazed at the things that he can do on the basketball court.

    I thought Drew played good last night, he played pretty good D on Duncan (about as good as you can 1-on-1), he altered some shots (particularly in the 3rd and 4th), he was really good offensively. Would have liked a few more rebounds but oh well.

    The D was good in spurts. Sometimes it looked great, other times not so much. But I can live with the the Spurs hit a lot off shots and Manu was hot. When he’s hot from outside he is impossible to guard. Ariza did a good job on Parker, his length really bothered him and he is quick enough to somewhat stay in front of him. If the Lakers meet the Spurs in the PO’s I think we might see that match up a lot.

    Despite the loss, it was a great game. If you didn’t enjoy that game, then you are not a basketball fan.

  179. Looking at the last play on ESPN…it doesn’t make since if Ariza heard the whistle and he threw it up. He took one barely one step before he heard the whistle and that’s why I thought he threw up the prayer for continuation. You NEVER see Ariza take that kind of shot/floater, but maybe he would in an end of game situation. The play just seems fishy to me. It’s like they call traveling before he made a play (which wasn’t traveling by the way but just him taking huge strides).

  180. 162 – Snoopy, good post. You, Darius, and only a few others mentioned any realistic take on the D last night. I know most of the comments were right after the loss, but man, let’s be real here. Defensive intensity was 0% for over 3 quarters! Then, the last 7-8 min were total lockdown. Why can’t we go at least 50% intensity for at least 3/4 the game?

    To answer your question about the frontcourt, you’re overthinking it a little. There’s only 1 ball and we don’t need scoring from all of them. I think the most important piece is Bynum. We’re not winning without a major contribution from him on both O and D. He’s needs touches, time, & patience to get it. Pau can be effective, but he doesn’t seem to take to constant force feeding, and it hurts Bynum’s growth if you do. So mix it up and space the floor.

    Make most of LO’s min come with the 2nd unit. He wants to play off people and bring energy, so let him. Let Powell get 12-18 min per, based on his play, fouls, and matchups. As exciting as he is, I don’t see him ready for primetime yet. If we can’t keep Odom, next year, he may be able to breakout then.

  181. Great game last night.

    I didn’t get a chance to read though all 183 comments (wow!), but I was very impressed with Bynum’s play. I thought that was one of his most complete games of the season. He didn’t force a lot of missed shot, but he defended Duncan well.

    Cheers.

  182. 182. “Despite the loss, it was a great game. If you didn’t enjoy that game, then you are not a basketball fan.”

    Amen. I was out of my seat for pretty much the entire 4th quarter. Even if our defense wasn’t what it could have been for most of the game (is it ever?), you have to live with a loss like that for the reasons Kurt noted, not to mention Duncan’s off-balance prayer that magically went in right before Kobe’s 3. A win would have made that the best regular season game I’ve seen in a long, long time…but I’ll settle for a hugely entertaining basketball game that didn’t quite end the way I would’ve liked.

  183. Nice comeback boys. Being a Spurs homer, I really hate that Kobe guy. Mabye cause he’s so damn good.
    Quick comment on fouls- End of 3, Trevor hit Ginobili’s arm before the kickout, end of 4- Fisher fouled Mason before the kickout.
    Why oh why didn’t Kobe take the last shot(I was sure he was going to-glad he didn’t)? I don’t want to hear about double coverage or any such bs, the has got too many tricks up his sleeve.

    One last comment- a lot of you guys seem happy with the loss(for valid reasons). But writing off The Spurs in Jan? This team is just STARTING to turn the corner. Getting better each game. Look for a WCF rematch. Should be fun. Spurs in 7.

  184. Wanna see this game from the other side?
    http://www.poundingtherock.com/
    Game thread in 2 parts- 1300 comments

  185. Bruceleebowen,

    Thanks for your insight and the link. But me, I didn’t see anything in last night’s game to think that the results would be any different from last year’s WCF.

    If anything, I’m encouraged, due to the circumstances, and Bynum’s success against Duncan, in case you want to Manu wasn’t 100% route.

    Spurs have only beat a good Laker team once (’03).

    There were some bad call, but we’re fine with it. Don;t mention Ariza “pushing off” without mentioning Manu’s blatant push off on a 3-pt attempt. I would’ve loved to see Kobe drive left on the last play, but I think he knew no whistle was coming. That said, there was nothing wrong wit the pass, but I’d rather him shoot that shot.

    It took everything your team had to beat us in those circumstances. We’re fine.

  186. Fact is the Spurs still have NO answer for Kobe. He killed you guys last year, and was very efficient again last night. You also haven’t contained Pau. Now Bynum is back?

    Sorry, can’t see it.

  187. Of course you don’t with those homer goggles on…..

  188. My homer goggles are no bigger than yours…

    You just picked your guys to win in 6.

  189. The Spurs are a formidable opponent for sure. I stay away from predictions because my crystal has been on backorder for several years, so I’ll leave that stuff to those that got their’s on pre-order.

    I will say, though, that for the Spurs to win, they’ll need to exploit us on the wing defensively while also containg our many weapons on offense. We’ve been going away from our SSZ for (what seems like) weeks now and Phil has gone back to his philophy of not doubling the post and having our players play more straight up man to man. Last night, Ginobili was at the height of his powers and if one or two plays that he made don’t go the Spurs way (the end of the quarter 3 the foul on the other 3) then there may be a different outcome. But you know the saying…if *if* was a….anyways.

    In the end, every great team should be confident. The Spurs should feel the same way the we do. So I don’t begrudge any fan from thinking they have a legit shot. But realize we’re here commenting and not shooting FT’s with consequences of windsprints for not hitting our number. The game will be decided by the players. I like our players and will take my chances with our guys. Last night we lost. But I saw something. As Kobe left the court so PO’d that he could have litterally said “run it back” and played another full 48, I thought to myself that this is what I’ve been waiting for. I want to see us have an effort where we *know* we can do anything against anyone. Last night, we were thisclose to coming from 11 down in the fourth against a really, really strong team. On their court. On the second night of a back to back. Down our backcourt reserves who play about 40 minutes a game in replacement of 13 year vets. I’m cool with what this team is…it’s make up, it’s mental state, it’s will to win, it’s fight. We’re where I want us to be as fan.

  190. Darius,

    Personally, I wasn’t really a big fan of the SSZ because for the most part, I think it left too many 3-Pt shooters open, and the teams we need to be worried about have guys who can hurt you from the 3, and have guys that can pass out of the double (TD, KG).

    Too many times, We’ve seen the ball swing around and one of our guys is caught cheating in and either giving up a wide open 3, or having to push the guy off the 3-pt line, and giving up penetration. Only the help doesn’t come properly.

    We’ve shown those rotations in spurts, but I’d prefer tight man, and our guys staying at home.

  191. That was one excellent game. I’m impressed the Lakers were able to elevate their game to such a high level. Tip your cap to the Spurs, they played a game that executed their game plan. Get Duncan going in the beginning, let Parker burn Fish and not take too many outside shots, and then let Ginobili create havoc with his driving to the basket and then his outside shot.

    The Lakers barely got to the foul line, and that can be attributed to the excellent shooting, but also because of the way San Antonio defends. Always contesting but very sure not to commit silly fouls. That was very disciplined defense on display, even though the Lakers were hot as well.

    I love the intensity the Lakers brought, but the thing that continues to kill me is one fundamental aspect of basketball, boxing out. The one player that uses their body to box out is Josh Powell, and I think that can be attributed to the fact that he’s not as naturally talented, so he makes sure he boxes out, so his TEAM can retrieve the rebound. A lot of times Pau and Bynum use their length, but I wish they would toughen up and box out first then retrieve the ball. Just one of my sour grapes. Excellent game and can’t wait til the playoffs.

  192. What kinda would I be if I didn’t call the Spurs in 6? Updated prediction- Spurs in 5…..

  193. wondahbap,
    I just want to limit the other teams points. I can find merits in both schemes, so I won’t argue for one over the other.

    I will say that last night, playing a more traditional man to man, we gave up plenty of threes. I’ll also say that against any team that features as many shooters as the Spurs, you’re going to need some of those guys to miss. Last night they shot 50% from the arc and we didn’t do a good enough job of chasing them off the line. In the game preview I stated that I wanted to see us run players off the line, the fact is it didn’t happen for the majority of the night and Ginobili, Mason, and Bonner all had *flat footed/let me measure this shot* looks from deep.

    But I’m not going to knock our defense from last night. If you read Dwyers recap and you remember what Van Gundy was saying to Tirico last night, the sentiment was that last night we saw very good offensive execution from both teams. Both teams shot about 57% from the field and at or over 50% from the 3 point line. It was just a skilled game. In the end, I just wish they would have missed more.

  194. Darius,

    Yeah. Even in man, we get caught looking too much.

    I thought the defense was good in the last half of the 4th. Even when TD scored his go ahead bucket, and on the inbounding play that Mason scored on.

    What I really think, is that no matter the scheme, we just have some guys on our team who have no defensive feel for the game. They aren’t able to anticipate, or use the “eyes in back of their head.”

    That’s why we see good D in spurts, with the right unit.

  195. One of the Laker coaches (I think it was Frank Hamblen) made an interesting point about the effects of injuries. He pointed out that not only did they have the injuries, but that because of increased minutes they weren’t asking Kobe, Fish, or Gasol to practice. As a result, the team really hasn’t had much chance to practice since the injuries started. That’s naturally going to affect how sharp they look and how well they can adjust for the teams they’re facing.

  196. bruceleebowen:
    That site you recommended sucks. That dude talks a lot of crap and unlike Darius I feel his basketball I.Q. is corrupted by his partiality and narcissism.

    I got on this site to give props for an organized, streamlined and civil format.

    That cat on the PTR Blog is whack. His site looks like John Nash designed it. SCHIZO to say the least…

    Later!

  197. Well I took another look at it and PTR is ah-ight. I guess I judged it too harshly. Much PROPS!

    GO SPURS GO!!! ;)

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