Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Kurt —  January 25, 2009

Texas News - January 14, 2009
Records: Lakers 34-8 (1st in West) Spurs 29-13 (2nd in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.2 (1st in league) Spurs 108.2 (13th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.9 (6th in league) Spurs 104.5 (5th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Spurs: Tony Parker, Roger Mason Jr., Michael Finley, Matt Bonner, Tim Duncan

Lakers Notes: I’m sure the ABC crew today will be playing up the revenge angle after the loss 11 days ago, but I’m not sure between these two teams there can be a statement game in January. They are just too familiar with each other and in a playoff setting for one game to mean that much now.

But, I also think this is a better look at what we may see when these teams meet in May. The last meeting the Lakers were on the second game of a back-to-back, were without Sasha Vujacic as a backup point and Luke Walton as a starting three. This is a better version of what the Lakers should look like in the playoffs. *knocking on wood*

That said, right now I agree with David Thorpe, analyst and Executive Director of the Pro Training Center at IMG, that the Spurs are the biggest threat in the West to the Lakers. Here’s what he said in a post a couple of days ago.

I still think San Antonio is the most dangerous threat to LA. First of all, they beat the Spurs 3 times in the playoffs last year by 4, 2, and 8 points. In those games, a severely disabled Manu scored 10, 7, and 9 points. Bigger picture — LA has an excellent defensive team because of the way they work together, but they have only 1 or two very good individual defenders. So a team like San Antonio, with 3 stars (when healthy), really puts a lot of pressure on that defense to move as a unit. Also, the Spurs are gritty tough (like Boston), forcing all of LA’s softness to the forefront. If they play with force, LA can win that series. But can they play with force, assuming all 3 of the Spurs stars are healthy?

In the Blueprint for Beating the Lakers some of the things discussed were having a PG that could penetrate, a scorer at the three and a big that can pull at least one of our 7 footers away from the basket as help. That describes the Spurs. Still, right now, I think we win a 7 game series with San Antonio. I hope I still feel that way after today’s game.

The Spurs Coming in: A couple weeks ago, the Spurs knocked off the Lakers in one of the more entertaining games of the season. How much does that win matter to the Spurs? How much should they take away from it? Does it give us much insight if these teams met in May? I threw that question at Graydon Gordian of the brilliant 48 minutes of Hell.

Obviously it was a boost of confidence to get a win against the Lakers but I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on it, partially because it is January, partially because your bench wasn’t at full strength. The Lakers still remain the one team in the West I believe we would lose to in a 7 game series. I believe, if fully healthy, that it would be a more competitive series than last year because I, unlike a lot of people, actually believe this team has gotten better, not worse. But I still believe, as currently constructed, we would most likely lose.

That being said, we have made some personnel adjustments that I believe give us a better chance against the Lakers. In particular we are leaving an offensive minded squad on the floor for a greater percentage of the time. As game one of the WCF last season demonstrated, I don’t believe we have the defensive prowess to create a lead and merely hold it. If we want to win games we have to be constantly expanding that lead. Or, more likely, making some sort of attempt to match you guys shot-for-shot. Now, obviously we can’t do just that, but if Bowen is at the point in his career where he is getting burned by Kobe anyways, why not just let Mason get burned and leave ourselves with a more versatile offensive weapon on the floor. Throughout the season Pop has slowly begun creeping away from his stodgy, defensive-minded lineups and deploying more balanced, offensively sustainable groups. Subsequently we are experiencing far fewer of those abysmal offensive droughts we were known to experience last season. This trend gives us a better shot at toppling the Lake Show.

As I said, I believe we would lose to you guys in 7 but I still think we are your greatest threat (in the West). Duncan will play magnificently in the post season as first ballot hall-of-famers are known to do. Parker will continue to create match-up problems for your backcourt. Manu will remain a threat to explode offensively at any given moment. Mason will hopefully make a couple of late game daggers where Barry failed to. But most importantly, this is a team that is not afraid of LA. We have lost and won high stakes contests time and time again. We will not easily be phased. If anything, the inability of the Spurs to be intimidated is one of the things I might take from the first game.

Keys to game: Last meeting was a see-saw affair until the Spurs made a 9-1 run on the Lakers bench in the third quarter, then the Lakers responded in the fourth with their own run. These kind of games often end with a little bit of luck — Fisher with the rare mental mistake and a great shot by Roger Mason (he’s beat the Suns and Clippers with big shots as well). Credit to him for making the play.

Controlling the paint will be the key in this game. The Lakers lead the NBA in points in the paint per game at 46.4, while the Spurs give up just 33.3 in the league, second best in the league. (By the way, take a few guesses in the comments about what team leads the league in protecting the paint, it’s not who I would have thought). We need a continuation of Andrew Bynum’s last few games here.

It’s a challenge to slow the Spurs offense because of balance, six players scored in double digits in the last meeting. We’ve discussed how to slow Tony Parker in the past (go under the pick-and-roll, he’s a good jump shooter but he’s more dangerous driving the lane) and the Lakers need to do that. Pau Gasol did a reasonably good job on Duncan last game (9 of 19 from the floor) and making him less efficient is always a key. That said, Duncan has a double-double in his last six games, and you don’t stop him. I expect he’d get his seventh today.

The bigger challenge is Manu (he had 27 in the last game). I think Ariza has to be the man here, and the goal is to get Manu to drive left (he is about 60-40 to the right side with drives and seems to finish better going that way).

The Spurs are a very good three-point shooting team, the Lakers cannot let them set up out there and get good looks (part of that goes back to not letting Parker and Manu in the paint for kick-outs). As a team, the Spurs shoot 39.7% from three, second best percentage in the NBA, and in the last game they were 50% against the Lakers (10 three pointers were key). The Lakers need to close out on threes.

Where you can watch: 12:30 on ABC, right after Dirk finishes going for 55 and the Mavs knock off the Celtics (hey, I guy can dream).



138 responses to Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. “the goal is to get Manu to drive left (he is about 60-40 to the right side with drives and seems to finish better going that way).”

    Is this a typo or is that really the breakdown for this season so far? I had always thought he was stronger going left? I recall a lot of teams forcing him right in years past, and bringing help from that side. Or maybe he’s adjusted this year to everyone forcing him right? He does have those crossovers and behind-the-back moves . . ..

  2. Even though Manu’s a lefty, he loves to go right. What separates him from other players is that once he gets that step on the defender he can change directions and then get back to his left hand. Really it’s what makes him so special. Most players can’t get back to their strong hand when they’ve started their move in their “off” direction. In fact, most players that love to go to their weak hand are primarily jumpshooters. Peja and Dirk are prime examples of this…they love to go to their weak hand, but when they do, they step back and shoot a jumpshot.

  3. Oh, and Kurt, this post doesn’t have a title.

  4. McFruity, that is the breakdown stats for this season. It’s technically 61 to 39, but I figured 60-40 got the point across.

    Darius, thanks for that. As always, I blame evil gnomes for any mistakes I make.

    I don’t think I’m going to get my Mavs wish.

    If you can’t tell the difference between Pizza Hut pizzas and pastas from the gourmet stuff they claim to be, the issue is your pallet. Start by figuring out which one is overly salty.

  5. what does everyone think of this quote?

    FoxSports: “Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has done such a good job of stockpiling talent, I’d argue that LeBron James could compete for a title — and probably win one — with the Lakers’ second team. That unit features Lamar Odom, who’s way more talented than any among James’ supporting cast, and Trevor Ariza. There’s also Sasha Vujacic, who’d average between 15 and 18 points as a spot-up shooter with the Cavs.”
    ~mark Kreigel

  6. I knew before the game this morning that it was going to be very frustrating to root for the Mavericks today… boy I hate being right about that.

    The ABC announcers will definitely play up the “revenge” angle, trite as it is. I just hope they mention that the last game was the most enjoyable game to watch in the NBA so far this year – even for Laker fans, despite the loss.

  7. Wow, that is interesting to know. Thanks guys.

    And yeah Darius, I have definitely noticed a lot of shooters like to drive with their weak hand — almost like it gives them that rhythm as they rock the ball back into the dominant hand to shoot.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds those Pizza Hut commercials completely implausible.

  8. The reason why leftys often go right, and why right handed players often drive left is their crossover.

    To get by their man, if they use a crossover, they want to use their strong hand. Take Manu, he likes to start his cross with his left hand…switching angles to the right side and ends up on that side of the hoop.

  9. Off topic, but I turned away from the Celtics/Mavs game to watch the Mosely/Margarito replay on HBO. And really, I just switched channels and saw a different demolition. Wow. The ref needed to stop that thing sooner.

  10. so who is best at protecting the paint? Obvious answer i guess Orlando so not, my guess is Milwuakee?

  11. thinking about our second unit, how good are they?

    FoxSports: “Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has done such a good job of stockpiling talent, I’d argue that LeBron James could compete for a title — and probably win one — with the Lakers’ second team. That unit features Lamar Odom, who’s way more talented than any among James’ supporting cast, and Trevor Ariza. There’s also Sasha Vujacic, who’d average between 15 and 18 points as a spot-up shooter with the Cavs.”
    ~Mark kreigel

  12. Safe to say the Mavs have Boston right where they want them.

    Man, the ABC halftime crew are KILLING Dirk right now. Brutal.

  13. Darius, we flipped to that from the Emelianenko fight last night and all agreed that the MMA refs would’ve stopped that fight sooner.

    After seeing the Cavs execute the back-door alleyoop against the Warriors a few times the other night, I got to wondering why the Lakers can’t seem to make that pass. When was the last time they connected on that play – often run out of a timeout – smoothly? Seems like the last few tries Kobe has had to go get the pass and come down with it rather than even attempt a tip-in.

  14. Sure, we went through a rough patch, now look WHO’S BACK!

  15. do you think Phil, the zen master, has had San Antonio in his sites 3 games ago, when he started making Andrew a focus of our “O”? maybe he and Kobe came up with this, cause Kobe sure has been looking for and feeding young ‘Drew.
    now he enters today’s big game coming off the best 2 games of the season, (maybe his career). call me a conspiracy theorist, but it is possible, given the mind of PJ, the ‘will’ of Kobe and that they know it’s going to take a whole team effort, and that they need to use the season to build the team cohesiveness.
    I think they are doing this with trevor too, so that he’s more than a “D” specialist, (look at the old Cooper days, and picture trevor in that mold). I mean even Kobe fed Trevor the ball for the last shot against the Spurs, (with the bogus travel call), I believe the brain trust, (PJ, kobe and the asst coaches) are working to elevate the other guys even if it means a loss, cause they’re thinking long term.

  16. least points in the paint?? Well the obvious answer would be golden state…. Lol ok gonna go with Miami.

  17. CeltsNation

    I think all the “contender” teams are going to go through, or have gone through a rough patch.

    What I am waiting for is Orlandos. Look at their record now, but remember they started 0-2. Take those two losses away and they have not really had a “rough patch”

    unless they are in it now…

  18. Nobody has the fewest allowed points in the paint right yet. I will say it’s a team with a big front line.

  19. My guess is Houston or maybe Cleveland leads the league in fewest points in the pain allowed.

    Should be a fun game. Bowen, though still a good defender, is not nearly as good as he was just a couple of years ago. Kobe had his way with him in the playoffs last year and in the game a few days ago. I would suspect that he does again this time.

    I thought Drew did a good job defending Duncan for the most part last game. He made him take some tough shots when Duncan got into the lane, denied deep post position. He let Duncan have the 15-17 footer, but with someone as great as Duncan you pick you poison. The biggest problem was the lack of rebounding from him. Maybe it was just that he was exerting so much energy playing D on Duncan that he didn’t have the energy to go for rebounds.

    Any word on when Farmar is coming back?

  20. Its Minnesota…

    I thought someone already got it right, which is why I didn’t say anything.

  21. New Orleans?

  22. Not the T-Wolves.

    (For the record, I’m using ESPN’s stats for this)

  23. Is it us, Kurt?

  24. Kurt…I am gonna have to disagree with you. lol

    Minnesota allows 34.1 points in the paint per game.

  25. could be clippers? big front 3 when there not injured,

  26. Orlando or New Orleans.

  27. I guess it’s Orlando then.

  28. My last guess is Detroit. After that I’ll just look it up myself.

  29. Whoops. I am wrong. (no surprise there)

    From January 23rd, espn recap form the NO vs T-wolves game.

    “New Orleans entered the game allowing 34.1 points in the paint per game, the fewest in the league.”

  30. 30. Interesting, because that is not who they say in the info they prepared for the Lakers/Spurs game. They have the Spurs second at 33.3 per game. The place I got was from the ESPN research staff providing info for the games the network shows.

    Not Orlando, that would have been my guess. Let’s say at team not in the playoffs in the East.

  31. Out of all the teams left the only one that makes some sort of sense is New York.

  32. That is interesting…

    Maybe Minnesota scored so much on them in the paint that it ruined that title they held for “fewest points allowed in the paint”

    Did they play anyone else since the 23rd of January?

  33. I say it’s either Toronto or New Jersey. Both have big front lines and both are bad teams. If I had to say one team, I’d say Toronto.

  34. I have no idea who’s first (I would have guessed Orlando also), but I’d bet that Indiana is better than expected in terms of least points in the paint allowed.

  35. Except New York doesn’t have a big front line of course, so much for that…

  36. if SA is second, and they are at 33. That means one team has opps scoring less than 33.

    But just two days ago, NO was number 1 in the category at 34.

  37. Darius gets the gold star — Toronto.

    It is odd that different places have different numbers for that, Behzad. I can’t find the official stat on the NBA site.

  38. i was thinkinh indiana but they give up a lot of points, must be new jersy then

  39. By the way, my breakfast this morning consisted of eggs Benedict over a croissant. If I drop dead of a heart attack during the game, you’ll know why.

  40. Yea…Maybe it just fluctuates a lot. That would make sense…everything I was reading was ESPN stuff.

    Think about it this way…You may go on a road trip and play Houston, SA, Lakers and Phoenix and just get piles of points scored on you in the paint, that would kill your stat.

    Its a figure that would vary a lot during the season depending on your schedule and the offenses of your opponents.

  41. Jason Kidd has made several plays in the beginning of this quarter that have been inconsequential but have been kind of spectacular hustle plays.

    Hopefully this game doesn’t go into OT so the Lakers can start on time!

  42. At the Holiday Inn waiting to cross the street. Keys to the game? Lakers have an awesome winning % when Gatinho and brother are in the house.

  43. Gabe pruitt has HUGE hands

  44. The one thing I hope we improve upon are our defensive rotations on their shooters on the three point line. We practically begged SA to beat us with wide open 3s in the 1st meeting. If we can close out on the shooters and Drew keeps Duncan shooting outside (mostly) we should be able to control this game.

  45. I totally agree that the Spurs’ line-ups are more offensively balanced this year. I don’t know what they were thinking last year, because there were times that there was not a single player on the floor who could create his own shot.

  46. farmar looks like he must be coming along. Looks like he’s dressed for this one

  47. link?

  48. I wish I lived in LA sometimes just to go to Staples more often.

    I already have my tickets on 3/21 when the lakers come to the United Center

  49. Bynum is really active, running the floor and getting deep position. Love that energy.

  50. Behzad, if you really want the experience, send me $7 and I’ll send you a cold hot dog.

  51. To piggy back on Kurt, Bynum’s early activity has also led to some early fouling by the Spurs. On the next foul we’re shooting FT’s.

  52. Kurt, that’s great, Thanks

    Just charge it to Kobe…

    me and him are tight.


  53. Gasol needs to get some meaningful touches on the ball.

  54. Does anyone have a working internet link to the game? Please? A guy is desperate here.

  55. in addition to bynum’s effort, you have to like that gasol allowed bynum to establish himself early. i expect him to be more assertive and very effective now that odom is in and bynum is out.

  56. Did you see the Kobe Shaq promo at the timeout before the end of the 1st? Wow that brings back great memories!!!

  57. What the heck?

    Anybody else weirded out by seeing the old KB8 / Shaq bump for ABC’s finals ad?

  58. Haha- the look Tony Parker gave Ariza after that incredible And-1 was awesome. It was like, “Who the hell are you?”

  59. Parker hasn’t taken a shot yet where he didn’t fall down.

  60. How do you think these two teams would fare if they switched coaching staffs for one season? Same rosters…same schedule.

    pop gets the lakers
    zen gets the spurs

    whos better off? whos worse? etc

  61. Farmar back already????

  62. Welcome back farmar

  63. Good to see Farmar back and giving us another person that can penetrate and break down the defense.

  64. Quick question. On the espn stat line what does the stat fl represent

  65. Farmar looks great so far.

  66. I hate Matt Bonner

  67. Behzad – I feel the same way about wanting to see more of the Lakers in person…I live in Chicago too and have been counting down til the 21st for the whole season!

  68. Huge difference in 3 pt % so far this game. Only reason the Spurs are close.

  69. matt m

    good to see another chicagoan on the forum

    south loop here…

  70. Bynum is making good effort on getting rebounds.

  71. As soon as I wrote that the Spurs missed several 3 pointers…

  72. great d my odom on parker

  73. we need to inside more, too many 3’s

  74. JD – it’s still true, though. San Antonio’s 3s have been a major factor in keeping them close, even though they cooled off somewhat late in the half.

  75. 71

    I’m worse off than both of you, I live in Jamaica! Only ever seen one live game. 🙁

  76. hey did ya hear the news??
    the Lakers picked up a replacement PG until Farmar is due back right after the All-Star break…
    … Jordan farmar!

    that alley oop to Ariza was SWEEEEET!!!
    yeah baby.

  77. Just in: Michael Redd out for season (acl)

  78. 81

    That really sucks for Milwaukee. Skiles had them turned around and fighting for the #8 seed. Hard to see them making it now though…

  79. what the heckkkk did Stu Scott just say after that interview?

  80. Parker doubled off Fisher to Pau, so Pau passed it to Fish for the wide open 3. Parker realized this, so proceeds to… run towards the corner 3 where nobody was. That was weird.

  81. I think I just threw up a little.

    Is what Van Gundy says true? Laker security wands Kareem every time he walks into the building? Is that sick joke, or true? Do Magic and Jerry and other players receive the same treatment? If not, it’s great to see we’re past the era of racial profiling.

    If that’s true and is the whole story (I hope it isn’t), I will never attend a Lakers game in my life. Disgusting.

  82. Wow, great pass by Kobe to Pau.

  83. Has Kobe contested a jumpshooter since this game started?

  84. has Charles Barkley been booted off the TNT team? I just heard them (espn) saying our “new member” magic, so I’m wondering if ol’ Chas’s last DWI was the straw that broke the networks back.

  85. we’re really lucky there missing alot of open threes

  86. Charles has taken a ‘leave of absence’…

  87. Chris H.

    Tnt put out a press release saying that he has not been let go but rather taken an “indefinite leave of absence”

  88. behzad, man you are right, what did that guy say right after the magic/phil intverview??? these guys need to be held accountable when they spout PURE JIBBERISH like that!

  89. We need to get the ball inside on offense

  90. 86. – Barkley is on a break from broadcasting for TNT. This is an ABC/ESPN game, so he wouldn’t be there anyways.

    Kurt – Thorpedo had an interesting analysis about last years playoffs, but none of that seems to include our healthy Bynum. They seem to allow Bynum to guard Tim Duncan one on one, which would allow the Lakers to have 3 individual defenders. I know he is a big Manu fan and Bynum is not on that level, but that should be taken into some consideration, right?

  91. Johnson and Johnson January 25, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    84. I’m pretty certain they wand everyone who walks into Staples. I can’t imagine they’d wand Kareem but not, say, West or Jackson or somebody, considering Kareem’s legendary status. His deification began in the early 80’s; I don’t it’s changed.

    van Gundy was just being ridiculous, as usual (even though I like the guy). He doesn’t realize the obvious discrimination of wanding everyone but Kareem (or West or Jackson et al).

  92. On an unrelated note, can’t ABC select better shots of Downtown?

  93. 5 players in double digits

  94. Here’s a difficult question: Who’s the worst passeron the Lakers? I guess Powell, Mihm or Mbenga would be easy answers, but outside of them, which of our rotation guys isn’t a great passer? Bynum is a great passer when he wants to be, Pau and Odom are among the best at their size. I’d almost have to say Ariza and Vujacic are the least best, but neither of them are bad.

  95. great stuff

  96. Lakers are making me proud.

  97. This is why the Spurs will be hard pressed to beat the Lakers in a series. Outside of Duncan they simply don’t have enough size to contend with Bynum and Gasol down low. Every time they post up the Spurs have to double, which compromises their entire defense.

  98. Haha Kobe can’t properly high-five anyone because of his finger injury (I assume) so he changed the routine to a backhand-to-backhand high-five.

  99. With Pau and Odom on the floor together, the triangle is so pretty. The spacing, the movement – you can tell this a team of guys who have been in this system for awhile now.


  101. where’s sun?

  102. Not to denigrate Odom’s contributions, but you can see why his +/- stats are so good. It’s almost unfair to have a guy that good going up against bench players on a nightly basis.

  103. I’m surprised Pop gave up on the game so early. His starters didn’t play the 4th.


    Dude, your not even a real fan. You’re nothing but a fairweather frontrunner. Where were with your smack when your team was down?

  104. Back to back blowout! Loving it.

    It’s nice to see Farmar back in action.

  105. is our bench THAT much better w/Farmar?

  106. watching Duncan go out with his 4th foul, reminds me that we haven’t had to suffer with a main player going out early with foul trouble.
    remember when Shaq was our main center, and the drop off to the 2nd stringer was signifigant? if shaq got into early foul trouble we were in trouble.
    but not this year, we are so deep and versitle, that we have no real issues if one of our main go to guys get into foul trouble.
    noooiiiiccee! (to quote Stu)

  107. Saw Flea and Perry Ferrel. Nice win.

  108. I dont think the Spurs can beat the Lakers in a seven game series. Lakers got too much depth for them, the scary thing is, the Lakers are only getting better.

  109. Pops is willing to give up on the game early than put his all into it and still come up short. Basically, he treats the game like it doesn’t matter as much so it sticks in their minds less next time. That’s my theory anyways.

    This was the opposite of last time they played- the Spurs couldn’t hit a shot to save their life, open or covered.

  110. What a win!! We need to carry this with us on our soon-to-start road odyssey. Being a Laker fan here in SA, this is a great day to walk around and reppin’ the shooting shirt with Purple and Gold (Forum Blue) Pride!! What a great comeback game for Jordan, but does anyone else worry that he kills his dribble way too far out from the 3pt line too often?

  111. odom played such nice D, the best i’ve seen from him all season. he stopped them from getting into the paint for easy layups.
    nice to have our whole bench mob back and working nicely, farmar was effective and i think when ariza and farmar are in together they compliment each other very well. the one dunk from ariza could have been made into a poster.
    some REALLY nice assists from gasol, he’s so tall and his court vision A+
    also today was such a quiet night for sasha, can’t sasha and farmar ever just both have good games together?! sasha doesn’t get as many touches with farmar out there

    nice win.

  112. I’d just like to give a small tip of the cap to Lamar, who covered Tony Parker beautifully for a few crucial defensive possessions.

  113. 84, jd, I saw this too. This may be wrong, but I believe that after Parker lost Fisher, Kurt Thomas was rotating onto him, and Parker, instead of also rushing at Fish, was running to cover Gasol, Thomas’ man. It was actually a pretty smart, disciplined defensive move.

    As for the rest of the game, just a couple notes:

    1.) Great to see Jordan come back strong and without any fear of driving to the hole. But, when Jordan came in, I wasn’t watching his offense; I was watching his defense. And I think I can say definitively that this performance was much, much better than the last time we saw him. I didn’t see any gambles or playing the field. Yes, he lost his man a couple times off screens, but he didn’t allow any open threes or easy penetration.

    2.) I love the fact that we’re putting Ariza on Parker. With Trevor on Parker and Kobe on Ginobili, and Andrew on Duncan, we have their top three players fairly solidly locked-in, which gives us a huge advantage. Trevor made Parker a non-factor in the decisive 3rd quarter.

    3.) The comments about LBJ and our bench being a contender are completely true. Imagine LBJ with Lamar as his second fiddle, Farmar to run the point, Sasha and VladRad to shoot threes, and Ariza to do all the dirty work. Give ’em Chris Mihm and Josh Powell as bigs and that’s a contender IMO. However, I think the same could be said about Kobe, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, or any other premier player. Not so much a compliment to the player, but to our bench being so damn good.

    4.) As was said before, our team is pretty much immune to foul trouble. Unless we can in super deep, with multiple players in really bad foul trouble, we have 3 or more players capable of coming in and contributing at all 5 positions. Even if both Gasol and Bynum get into foul trouble, not only do we have Odom to insert, but we have quality players in Josh Powell and Chris Mihm as our 3rd stringers.

    5.) The most encouraging thing about this game? Parker, -5, Duncan, -14, Ginobili, -17. Their three best players all with (in some cases significant) minuses during their time on the floor. This means our starters are outplaying their starters, which makes us pretty much unstoppable, given the unmatched quality of our bench.

    6.) Matt Bonner runs like Bill Wennington. Anyone who watched the Bulls in the 90’s probably knows what I mean. He’s got the real Terminator style of running, where his upper body is completely straight, but his fingers are straight out and karate-chopping the air in front of him as he swings his arms. Very awkward, very white. Brian Scalabrine does this too.

  114. Having rewatched the 81pt game in its entirety just a while ago, it’s just staggering to see the improvement in each position. Smush, Devean, Luke, Odom, Kwame…

    If we can stay healthy (return of Jordan will have an effect on everyone’s minutes, especially if we can blow bad teams out early with our second unit) we have a better chance than anyone.

    As for LeBron leading our bench to the finals, well, our bench is better than the team that took PHX to 7 games.

  115. Great win. Everyone played well. Drew played great. His D was impressive, he had some good offensive positions (most by getting deep position in transition), and he worked hard on the boards. Odom’s D was great too, I think that is what made the biggest difference.

    Overall, I thought the Lakers D was good, but not great. They did a great job keeping Parker and Ginobili out of the paint (for the most part). I would have liked to see better rotation to shooters. I understand that the game plan was to make the Spurs win by hitting outside shots, but there were too many shots that were not contested at all.

    Good to see Farmar back. He had a good game especially considering that he has missed so many games. Also for a guy coming back from knee surgery he wasn’t hesitant at all.

  116. Great game. We outplayed the Spurs in the second half.
    Bryant guarding Manu and staying with him (no doble team by him) is a great adjustment in D IMO.
    In Argentina the Spurs are the beloved team (Manu’s big brother, Leandro is “the Van Gundy” in our Channel 7) so this was a recomfortant triumph for every Argentinian Laker fan.

    Kurt, congratulations for the blog, I’m not writing a lot (my English isn’t very good + I’m having a lot of work + when Lakers play at 10.30 ET means 1.30 AM here) but I’m always reading. This site is improving all the time

  117. J.D.,

    That’s what I figured. Especially given that we erased their home lead last game within minutes.

  118. You almost have to feel bad for the Clips..having to deal with the Warriors when their bench consists of Samb, Novak, and Jason Hart

  119. ..but atleast when you put their names together it sounds like some Indian food dish, “Yes, I’ll have the Hart Novak Samb please”

    When you’re the clips you really have to take positives where you can find them

  120. that would be especially great if some former players came out of retirement.

    Hello, My name is Shareef abdur rahim, and your chef tonight will be Mahmoud abdul rauf, the specialty tonight is the Hart Novak samb.

  121. Great performance today, especially Andrew Bynum.

    I just can’t see how this Spurs team is going to be able to handle LA’s three top bigs. Tim Duncan just doesn’t have the help needed to get the job done. Big advantage in the paint.

    I also think it’s a good sign that Tony Parker failed to have a dominant game. How often in the last 10 games against the Lakers has he had those games? Once? Twice? By and large Fisher and Co. have done a good job keeping under him control. He’s getting his usual numbers but not dominating like he does against Phoenix, or against Cleveland in the Finals two years ago. I think that’s very encouraging.

  122. The Lakers should win their next 4 or 5 games as they will be playing some really bad teams. However, Boston and Cleveland on the road back to back will be brutal, but its what I want to see.

  123. i LOVE watching lakers games like today’s. Jordan Farmar for the win!

    has there ever been a post on here about sun yue? i’m intrigued as to why he isn’t in the D-League? What is his upside?

  124. i think sun yue said that he didn’t want to go to the d-league because he signed a contract to play in the nba, not d-league.

  125. Someone on SLAM called Sun Yue a “human victory cigar” during the Cleveland/LA game. I think the phrase is appropriate and almost as good as “Sunning” another team.

    Bynum’s really stepping up, although I still feel a teetering nervousness: will he remain consistent or revert to his state of impotence. Bynum didn’t drop the bomb, but he outplayed Tim Duncan and that’s a promising sign. I’m consigned to internet radio broadcasts of the game (in the early morning), but it sounded as if Bynum worked the glass with some authority and was determined to assert himself offensively. Minimally, he should be given ten opportunities at the basket; if he can keep himself on the court, ten to fifteen shots would be wonderful.

  126. impressive win. i really enjoyed that one.
    the spurs are simply overmatched. i dont see them stopping us on the way to the western crown. they cant do nothing about our firepower, as well as they have no answer for our bench.
    if drew keeps playing like this, things will be getting better and better for us.
    we have 24 road games left, so we have to play smart and concentrated to end up with the best record in the league.

  127. “That’s the way I’m supposed to play,” Bynum said. “If I go out there and I play hard and good things happen and I put the extra work in, that’s what’s supposed to happen. That’s what the Lakers drafted me for and paid me for.”

    I love the sound of that!

  128. Geez, my own words have never tasted so good re: bynum. Many thanks for serving them up to me on a platter big guy!

  129. I commented on this on another blog and I thought I’d replicate it here because I’ve been thinking this for a while…

    “… I get the feeling we are about to enter a true golden age of points, I honestly can’t remember when there were so many great pgs around. Off the top of my head Devin, Deron, CP, Rose, Nash, Billups, Nelson and there are more depending on your opinion active. Inactive atm but coming back is agent zero who I seriously hope gets back to full strength even though I’m no Wizards fan, and Baron Davis (again probably more I’m forgetting).

    On top of that this next draft is apparently stacked with good guards, ricky rubio and co. I didn’t even mention calderon, mo williams and there are so many others. Am I crazy or young or both? Is this kind of point guard quality precedented? Just remembered Westbrook! No wonder j kidd is falling to the wayside…”

    It was on the ESPN network bulls blog By the Horns btw…

  130. forgot about TP just remembered!

  131. JR, you are not alone. Part of that is the way the rules are being enforced right now, you can’t touch a player out on the perimeter so a speedy PG becomes more valuable because you can’t slow his first step. But it is just a good time right now, and offenses are adjusting (one reason you see more P&R from teams, if you have a Chris Paul you should run that a lot).

  132. There are a lot of good PG’s in the NBA, but almost none of the “elite” teams feature one of those above mentioned players. Except Tony Parker (it’s TD’s team), and Chris Paul, only I don’t think the Hornets are truly elite, just above average.

    As good s the PG talent is right now, I almost feel like it’s like the chicken vs. egg argument. Is the the talent for real, or a beneficiary of the not touch rules that allow them to roam free and do as they please?

    Until I see one of these PG’s lead a team to the title, I can’t help but have a reserved judgment on whether a great PG really matters or it’s just great for the business of entertaining basketball.

  133. the best name combo for food still has to be the good ol’ american –
    chick ‘n stu