Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Darius Soriano —  April 4, 2010

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Records: Lakers 55-21 (1st in West, 2nd in NBA), Spurs 46-29 (7th in West, 8.5 games behind Lakers)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.1 (10th in NBA), Spurs 110.0 (9th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.3 (5th in NBA), 104.6 (9th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Spurs: George Hill, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess, Tim Duncan

Injury Updates: Andrew Bynum was reevaluated after Friday’s win and is making progress in his recovery process.  However, that means that he’s still not ready for physical activity and will have another MRI on Monday or Tuesday.  While it’s tough waiting for ‘Drew to get back, I think we can all agree that it’s best that he’s as close to 100% healthy as possible before his return.  Sure, the Lakers could use his presence in the paint right now, but they’ll truly need him in the playoffs.  If rushing him back now in any way jeopardizes his playoff availability that would be worse news than the original injury.  Hopefully by Tuesday we’ll have a new timeline that has him back within the week.  As for Luke Walton, he participated in his first full practice on Saturday and should be ready to play in today’s contest.  Phil has said that while Luke is not some second unit savior, his presence does provide the second team another offensive initiator outside of their guards (and it’s not like they’re doing a ton of initiating anyway).  If there’s one thing that Luke does well it’s run our sets with the attempt to get everyone involved, so I’m happy to have him back.  We’ll see if he gets some quality minutes today and hope that he can shake off the rust and make a difference on the second team.

The Spurs Coming in:  Not too much has changed for San Antonio since the last time we saw this team.  They’re still playing well and still piling up the wins.  In the 5 games that they’ve played since the last time we played, they’ve gone 4-1 with wins over Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston.  Their only loss was to the lowly Nets, but that was on a night where Ginobili didn’t play and where the Nets were looking get their 10th win and pass the 1973 Philly 76ers mark (9 wins) to no longer be considered as the worst team of all time.  And Ginobili not playing is a pretty big deal.  He’s continued his hot streak since the last Lakers game and is carrying this Spurs team on offense every game.  In the Spurs’ last game, Ginobili torched the Magic for 43 points and made shot after shot down the stretch to put Orlando away.  The man is just playing amazing basketball, on both ends of the court, and has really taken over the lead playmaking role with Parker out.

Spurs Blogs:  As usual go visit 48 Minutes of Hell and Pounding the Rock for everything on the Spurs.  And if you’re not all Spurred out by that point, also check out Project Spurs.

Keys to game:  Since the Lakers just played this team 5 games ago, everything that needs to be done to beat this team should be fresh on the minds of the players.  On offense, the Lakers need to go into Gasol inside and also get the ball into the hands of Kobe and Odom on the wings so they can attack the Spurs’ defenders that don’t match up well with them.  LO will likely be guarded by McDyess again and that is a match up that is tilted heavily in the Lakers’ favor.  Odom needs to use his speed and quickness in both transition and in the half court to make plays.  As for Kobe, in the last game he was very efficient shooting the ball (11-16) and was able to score at will against Ginobili, Hill, Jefferson, and Bogans.  And while hoping for that level of efficiency again may be wishful thinking in today’s game, it’s quite possible as none of those players are “lock down” defenders that can bother Kobe for long stretches.

On defense, the key to this game is slowing Ginobili, Duncan, and Hill.  In the last game Ginobili was on fire from behind the three point line early, but Artest made him work for most of his buckets.  We’ll need that same level of effort today, but will need to pay more attention to him behind the three point line and especially watch for his step back move  where he feints a hard drive only to pull back and shoot the long ball.  Marking him in P&R situations is also key as he’s really found ways to set up his teammates by turning the corner and compromising the defense.  Slowing Hill is also the other tough task for the Lakers.  Hill cut up the Lakers defense in the last meeting and put up 21 points in the first half of that game.  However, the Lakers were able to slow him down in the second half and limit him to only one FT.  Hopefully the Lakers looked at the game tape from those last 24 minutes and have a better plan in place going into this game to limit Hill’s effectiveness.  Lastly, I don’t expect Duncan to have two bad games against us in a row.  On March 24th Duncan only had 6 points on 11 shots and was bottled up by Gasol quite nicely.  So, today, I look for an aggressive Duncan and for Pau to have his hands full.  In the last game, Duncan couldn’t really get it going inside but never adjusted his game by going to his mid range jumpshot.  Today, I think we may see Duncan go to his wing bank shot and for him to run the P&R with Manu where Timmy can pop to the top of the key and shoot that 18 footer that he likes.  If he can knock that shot down today it will open up the rest of his game on offense.  As I said earlier, Pau will have his hands full today.  I think a big key will be Pau staying out of foul trouble so he can play as many minutes against Timmy as possible.

Overall, this is another building block game for the Lakers.  We just had a very nice win against Utah, but all of that will quickly be forgotten if this game is lost.  So, I hope to see an inspired Laker team today and one that can knock off another tough Western foe that we still have a good shot of seeing in the playoffs.  Wins against a team like this can go a long way in reestablishing the confidence that has been absent over the last few weeks.  Let’s go out and get that win.

Where you can watch: 12:30pm start in the West, nationally on ABC. Also on ESPN radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

112 responses to Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. On Sasha and Shannon.

    Trying to guess the NBA coaching decisions is like watching the old Kremlin. But hey I like doing it as much as everyone else, so here is my one cent.

    1. From what I’ve read, Shannon is highly coachable and Sasha is not. That alone would get a player a longer leash.

    2. You can see Shannon has been working on a couple of specific aspects of his triangle game. On arrival, he got his points on fast breaks. Then he added the spot up 3. Then he added the backdoor cuts to the basket. Now he’s been adding a midrange jumper for when teams sag off his drives. You know the one, where he drives into no mans land, hangs the air for five seconds and launches a fadeaway. But I feel confident he wouldn’t jack that shot up unless the coaches were encouraging him to stretch his game. Compare the coaches getting Ariza to launch 3s.

    3. Sasha had been been clearly working on his game. Instead of spotting up for his rushed 3 (if you averaged Sasha and Artest’s glacial release, you’d probably get the perfect shot), he was working on driving to the hoop. He had reduced his truly stupid mistakes. But there are only so many minutes for so many guards…

    4. It is also highly likely that Phil is looking for something, anything to get Sasha out of his shooting funk, so why not try a benching, to reproduce a contract year environment.

  2. Here’s to the Lakers winning a big game on my Birthday! Wish I could have been at the game today but life dictated otherwise. Maybe next year.

  3. Happy Bday Jeremy. Hope it won’t be spoiled like our Christmas lol.

    A win today ties Spurs for the 8th seed in terms of losses. I do not know about you guys, but I rather play the blazers or thunder.

    Lakers ran the triangle extremely well in the first quarter against the Jazz. I hope the still show that urgency and stay within in the offense today and execute.

  4. swedishmeatballs April 4, 2010 at 10:28 am

    This is very off topic and irrelevant for many of you, but I just have to ask if there’s anybody using sportbit.org for downloading Laker games? If so, do you know what has happened to the site?

    Since I’m a swede and don’t have access to the games on regular tv, it’s pretty important to me. Anyway, Thanks!

  5. Apricot,
    Nice analysis. I agree with your evaluation of Brown. He came in as a driver and dunker, but that isn’t what the triangle needs. Perhaps the Trevor Ariza experience influenced Mitch to request Brown in the trade – apparently he was the talent the Lakers wanted back for Vlade. Anyway, I agree Brown has been consistently working on one thing at a time, regarding his skills in the triangle. That bespeaks to the coaching philosophy and Shannon’s receptiveness to learning the game by stages.

    Sasha has been here his entire NBA career, but only in the last year + has he tried to diversify his game. I compare his stubbornness with Farmar, but without as much intelligence. Both players seem to feel they need to play the game to their strengths instead of the team’s needs. That speaks to an attitude that they are more than role players. This is a problem on the Laker team. However, Sasha – unlike Farmar – has seemed to resign himself to his situation and started to modify his game. That is the reason I think he will get some minutes in these last games of the season.

  6. Happy Birthday Jeremy. Here’s to a good day for you and for the Lakers.

  7. Thanks for all the prays. You’re right Tj, I think I’ll go crazy if we collapse again like christmas. I got to say, we have been terrible on national T.V (especially on ABC.) Hopefully the tides change today.

    A hard fought battle will be fulfilling but any type of W will make my day (ugly or not.)

  8. Happy birthday jeremyLA24! Hopefully it brings us all some luck today =)

  9. I want nothing to do with the Blazers in the first round.

    * The Camby/Alridge frontcourt

    * Webster/Batum combo on Kobe

    * Brandon Roy

    * The Rose Garden, if Portland were to steal one of the first two in LA I’d be extremely worried

    Whereas the Lakers haven’t had much trouble winning in San Antonio, the Spurs have no one they can throw on Kobe and other than Duncan they have no big with size/height.

  10. @ swedishmeatballs

    Try looking up atdhe or p2p4u for your streaming needs.

    Also, I’ve only been on this blog only for a little while now, so if there are any rules or whatnot against posting links to streams just let me know and it won’t happen again.

  11. anyone watching what the celts are doing to the cavs? sigh im going to miss tonight’s game. its 2am here and there is no coverage for us. hope i wake up to good news.

  12. Even though we basically have the conference locked up, this game still has relevance.

    1. Playoff Seedings: It’s more than probable that the Spurs will b our 1st round opponents. Therefore, it’s important that we secure this victory, which would give us the season advantage 3-1 & not allow S.A. to have any sort of confidence should we eventually meet down the line.

    2. Momentum/Swagger: We need to close out this season on some sort of a roll. The victory against Utah was good, but it’s time that we start making statements against these playoff teams. Recent losses ‘gainst OKC & ATL (even though they’re, Hawks, in the East) allow these teams to establish confidence when playing us. The rest of the league views this & starts to believe that we are vulnerable. I would like to see us close out the season on a 7 game winning streak, which would allow us to get our SWAGGER back.

  13. Yeah what the heck is happening in Boston? I imagine the Cavs have, for lack of a better word, senioritis, but still, who knew BOS still had this in them?

  14. since varejao went down the cavs defence has really dropped, he really is the linchpin of their defence

  15. Uh…Cavs within 1 pt with 50 sec left. Pathetic!

  16. swedishmeatballs April 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    @ Exia

    Thank you very much and welcome to the site I guess!

  17. First time all year Fisher has played a solid game and followed it up with a good first quarter. If he can peak coming into the playoffs my lord would that be a cue for the Lakers.

  18. @ Exia
    If a Lakers fan needs to watch a Lakers game, we’ll do whatever we can to help =)

  19. Come on lakers, good defense, but they need to slow it down on the offensive end.

  20. Artest has got to start hitting those open 3’s

  21. news flash. A 30 foot shot is harder then a 3 footer Ron. stop with the 3 pointers Ron your shooting 20% the last 3 weeks.

  22. Pau is rotating very well on defense. Generally all Lakers are active on D. Now we have to fix the offense. Artest needs to get out of the “kobe mode”

  23. Is it wrong to say that I love the way Matt Bonner runs? It brings joy to my life to see his dorky run with arms bent up to his shoulders.

  24. Why does phil have this line up in?

  25. what exactly is Kobe mode. Missing outside shots, That finger must be hurting he is missing everything.

  26. You can tell Luke is rusty because his defensive rotations are slow.

  27. Fisher comes in for Farmar and somehow, everything gets better. Mystifying.

  28. Zephid you talking Luke or Sasha?

  29. Kobe mode = I will be able to hit any shot I put up. Except Kobe is much more successful being in “Kobe mode” than Artest will ever be

  30. Lmao…airball…oh sasha….

  31. Air ball… That can not be good for the Machine’s psyche

  32. ok Sasha back to the house of dogs.

  33. 28, I’m talking Luke. Sasha is playing fairly good defense, it’s just his shot is way off. You can tell a player is rusty on defense when the pass goes and the player doesn’t move for a split second.

  34. And Kobe is eating the Spurs alive in the post.

  35. I think Phil is using this game as a tune up for a few guys.

    Also would rather play Blazers then Spurs.

  36. Kobe shooting from any where is just soooo off.

  37. Derek Fisher on the drive vs. Tim Duncan in the lane: Fisher wins. Wow.

  38. Hmm.. How long as Ginobilli been getting away with a walk every time he picks the ball up off the dribble going towards the basket? I know he’s been notorious for it.

  39. This a game where the officials are trying to show up the lakers. Terrible officiating.

  40. Just stupid on Ron and Kobe. Play basketball!

  41. kObe is just playing like a rookie. What is his problem other then ego.

    This is really an example why we don’t want this team in playoffs. They are a much smarter team and Kobe is letting them get to him. Another turnover filled half with zero makes outside.

    Wake up Kobe>

  42. Prepare for another let down. Lakers are just leaving shooters open, bad officiating.

  43. kobe better calm down in the second half and play within the offense

  44. We need to put Kobe on Manu. Ginobilli is too fast for Artest. And Kobe has been pretty successful at guarding Manu before

  45. Kobe has 4 first half TO’s and is 4 for 11 coming off 4 for 23. Ouch.

    by the way our bench has 000000000000000

  46. Yea, I think we are heading for another letdown. I think Kobe has really lost his edge.

  47. Let down? Kobe’s lost his edge? I don’t see either coming.

    Kobe was heated towards the end of the half and tried to conjure up some of his pre hand injury moves and couldn’t overcome the bad finger. I expect that he’ll work more off the ball in the second half but in backside screen actions (especially between him and Pau with Fisher, Ron and LO on the strong side) where he can catch the ball flashing into the paint rather than creating off the dribble or in isolation from the post.

  48. I haven’t been watching, but just looking at the box score I’m wondering how Odom has only taken 2 shots. What is SA is doing on defense to prevent him from shooting?

  49. Sub-par 1st half, but it’s not as if we can’t overcome an 8pt halftime deficit against this team. We just did it a few games back. On their homecourt ….. Good to see Sasha & Luke getting their feet wet with some meaningful mins ….. Even though we can see the rust on both of them ….. Kobe needs to relax & stop making it a personal issue ….. He ended the 1st half playing like an immature rookie ….. Key to 2nd half success: Re-establishing Pau in the paint & getting LO into the game

  50. i actually think we have by far the worst bench left in the playoffs. zero point today.

    How do players get worse as the season goes on. The only Laker that has improved the last 2 years the second half is Ariza.

    Brown worse
    Farmer worse
    Powell worse
    Sasha worse.

    Is this coaching or bad water?

  51. I love how ABC keeps showing Manu Ginobili blatantly traveling and calling it a “Manu Two-Step.” Which in itself is curious, considering he obviously takes three steps without dribbling.

  52. WhatI mean Darius, is Kobe is simply not as good as he has been the last few years, he has gone down a bit.

  53. 9. Yusuf

    You are right those are some worrisome match ups.

    First round is going to be a battle.

    Maybe during the rest period before we play Nuggs Darius might provide some of his thoughts.

  54. Yeah, give Gasol the ball and good things happen… I do not like having to come back like we are, but this is a good game to watch. As I say this we are shooting bricks left and right, now a 15 point lead.

  55. Kobe has only made one shot over 15 feet in 2 games. Perhaps Phil shoul mention it.

    He is single handed losing this game.

  56. Pathetic.

  57. hard to win with kobe shooting so poorly

  58. if that is true Mojo it had better be a dunk. He can’t shoot.

  59. This Spurs team is really good though, better than Utah, with a healthy Parker they could be the second best team in the West.

  60. I usually don’t like to post comments during actual game action, but in this case I have to.

    They’re playing without a point guard. WHY R WE NOT FULL COURT PRESSING?

    Another thing. KOBE NEEDS TO FALL BACK & LET PAU DO HIS THING.

  61. My god Kobe missed 15 out of 16 aganist Utah and has mised his last 7 today. He has really gone south.

    He is 8 for 30 the last 7 quarters. That’s under 25%

    We won’t beat many teams if this continues.

  62. Yes Darius, another let down it’s been typical of this team. They led by 8 points at one point, instead of increasing the led or at worst trading baskets with the spurs, they let spurs go on a 7-0 run. Lately, whenever the lakers are losing they don’t chip into the lead, they let it grow.

  63. Are we shotting at least 20 percent from 3??? Or is it 10?

  64. Just got home from tutoring an idiot, and from the boxscore, seems like it’s the Duncan/Gasol show, because the 2-guards aren’t doing much. And as usual, bench is non-existent.

    Is that a decent description of the game thus far?

  65. THAT shot by Farmar is exactly the type of horrible shot that I am talking about. A long two, off of a move, out of rhythm.

    Same as Brown’s attempt right before it…

    Same sequence, and Farmar Brown put up two long bricks…

    Horrible.

    EDIT: And then Farmar took an EVEN WORSE attempt to close the third quarter. Jordan, if you are going to hoist it from long range, make it worth 3 points if you happen to make it! Pro talent and a Junior Varsity head…

  66. nice way to back up his contract extension, mr. bryant

  67. No mojo its got to be his finger. He just has too big an ego to stop shooting. And of course a Coach that would never think of talking back to Kobe.

    anyone who would rather play these guys then Portland is clueless.

    They are winning without two of their best players who would both start for us at point.

    Zero points for our bench which is rated the lowest the 2nd half of the season among the 16 playoffs teams.

    Nice job Mitch. Kobe just dosen’t get it. Last 8 shots clunkers

  68. This game is just irritating so far.

    And I hate to admit that the way things have looked this season, Van Gundy was right about his Cavs vs. Lakers comments. I disagree that the Cavs have more quality talent, in fact, I find that to be a ridiculous assertion. But it’s true that end-to-end, the Cavs have played many great games this season and the Lakers…really haven’t. Just good quarters or halves here and there.

  69. how we ended up with a roster with 0 good jump shooters is beyond me

  70. Kobe has got to start looking to drive to the basket….this is just getting painful to watch. Another note, if the Lakers lose thise game it wont be on a lack of effort, they are playing hard.

  71. Lakers within 4. I would love to see them go on a tear right now.

  72. Look we all know Kobe is the 2nd best in the world. But there are times on national TV where he losses site of the game. If his finger has gotten worse he MUST stop shooting.

    If he wants to win that is.

    Not like he is shooting for a contract!

  73. Joe, I agree they are playing hard. I know Pau is playing hard, Luke is certainly giving it all and Fish has kep the composure. Artest is into it in his own way and I am not yet sure if it is a good thing or not. Kobe is certainly not playing too hard until now

  74. If there’s one thing Luke Walton knows how to do, it’s make sure Manu doesn’t get an And 1. He’s almost killed Manu twice now.

  75. Ugh…At this point in the season, everyone clamoring for Brown or Farmar to start over Fisher should publicly recant their statements.

  76. Farmar, if you bobble the pass you don’t have to shoot the 3

  77. I have to wonder if Farmar will even be in the NBA next yearl Good god, I can shoot better than that.

  78. I recant.

    Our bench is the worst in the league.

  79. Farmar and Brown could be good shooters. But to be a good shooter you have to take good shots.

    Kobe is Kobe because (when he is healthy) he takes and makes BAD shots all the time, which frustrates defenders and gets him more GOOD shots.

    Farmar and Brown do not have that luxury.

  80. I hate games like this, fighting the whole game from behind, and just hoping to catch up and get a win. Yeah, Fisher is our best PG on the team currently.

  81. Game over…can we now officially say another letdown?? lol

  82. cut deficit to 2 then let it grow to 12. Looks like they let this one get away.

    It was nice seeing Walton out there, thought his lack of hops/height wasn’t optimal for being the PF on defense. He tried though.

  83. Spurs wanted it more, and Ginobli was on.

    (Officially dreaming… landing Manu for a mid-level exception next year would be AMAZING. Imagine him and Lamar coming off our bench?)

    The Lakers can fix all of their offensive problems with 3 simple, basic basketball changes.

    1) Start your offense with the POST.

    2) Make the extra pass.

    3) STOP taking low percentage, long two point shots.

    Simple as that…

    That is the ONLY reason I have hope for the playoffs… Playing like this, the Lakers will not make it out of the West.

  84. I can’t believe I ditched my family for 3 hours on Easter for this. It’s getting to the point where I just want to cry.

  85. swedishmeatballs April 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    this team drives me crazy with it’s mental lapses. I wanna hurl.

  86. Every ABC game the Lakers stink. That allows every other team to see how overated they are.

    Oh by the way another LO siting with wife at bar drinking last night.

    Daaaaaaaa wonder if his up down play has anything to do with that.

  87. I almost forgot how great a player Manu is. Man that guy knows how to cut your heart out

  88. honest to god, today just seems like the ball never bounces our way. every long rebound belongs to the spurs and every trick shot manu is throwing up there goes in. we played a decent game (considering how bad kobes shot was and how reluctant lamar was (again) at attacking the basket). i truly believe we got the spurs number (you will never have that much luck in a playoff series), so were all good. just gotta try to keep the magic away for 2nd best record

  89. I am not even gonna bother watching that game at Denver lol

  90. Josh Powell in the game = towel thrown?

  91. bad games by Kobe and Ron-Ron, but the dreadful bench is looking a lot like the 2004 bench of Fisher (who had an off year), Slava, Kareem Rush, and a washed-up Rick Fox, Horace Grant, and Byron Russell.

    If they don’t win this year they really need to turn the whole bench over

  92. I dont see how a team can be so talented offensively from last season and struggle so greatly to this season, I realize Artest was a downgrade offensively from Ariza, but even before Ariza was inserted into the starting lineup late in the season the Lakers still could put points on the board.

  93. how come whenever our bench is in with some starters we cut the lead down to 2-6 phil decides to put all the starters back in and we implode all of the sudden back to a double digit defecit?

  94. 96, one reason is because Kobe is just not the same Kobe as he was last year period. He doesnt get to the basket as much and has many games where he has just shot the ball poorly. Ariza was also a huge loss. Artest is a better defender and the lakers have defended better this season, but he has just shot horribly all season. I also think this team just has a bad mentality right now. Its not lack of effort, but something else I cant quite put my finger on. Maybe lack of respect for the opponent?

  95. if LO dosen’t have that on sober errr I mean great game vs Utah this would be a 4 game streak with a 5th coming in Denver.

    Kobe shot is really bad and our bench which was worst in the top 16 is now the worst in the NBA.

    Do these guys practice? Farmer, Brown, Sasha and Powell would not beat Duke. This is a last place D League team.

    The only good thing is the Lakers give Spurs the chasnce to finish 7th which is very good. The Lakers just lost with no point guard for Spurs. I really don;t think they can beat them when Parker is back in 7-games.

    Lakers have serious problems. Shooting is one. If kobe can’t shoot this team is in huge trouble.

  96. The Lakers got a beatdown by the Spurs today at home, not good, but we just need like 3 more wins the rest of the season to keep the 2nd best record in the NBA, right?

  97. Our two big problems were that Gasol couldn’t handle Duncan 1 on 1 in the post, and we couldn’t contain Manu’s penetration. Both of these can be alleviated by Andrew Bynum’s return. The Lakers have some serious issues, but we can’t forget that our defensive anchor and 3rd best scorer is out right now.

  98. 100, no, we can afford at most one more loss because Orlando is only 1 and 1/2 games behind us, and they’ve got a cake schedule. We’ll lose the tiebreaker with them, so we need to have a better record.

  99. This is the best blow out loss we could possible suffer. This most likely will keep us from having to play the Spurs in the 1st round… especially if we can beat the Blazers (to insure we play Portland in round 1) the last week of the season and stay ahead of the Magic so we can have HCA in the Finals.

    Joe (98),
    Really? Artest has shot poorly from the outside the whole season? He has shot much better than Ariza did with us last year. I believe Ariza was at like 32% from three,

  100. TERRIBLE LOSS. Can’t say that it was for lack of effort. LO was a no show. Kobe took 24 shots to get 22 points. 2nd game in a row in which he’s not shot the ball well. You would think by coming home, his shot would be more proficient. Guess not.

    Like I said earlier, we needed this game for the simple fact that you can’t give a possible playoff opponent leverage/confidence against you going in to the ‘offs. Especially on your homecourt. Well, we just did it. Finally decided to apply full court (man 2 man) pressure with 2 mins remaining in the game and down by 15. Against a team playing WITHOUT A POINT GUARD. UNBELIEVABLE. And once Timmy got going, a double should’ve been sent. Pau played damn near the whole game. Couldn’t possibly expect him to cover The Big Fundamental 1 on 1 for the entire stretch.

    No need 2 harp on our bench. Since they’ve been irrelevant all year. But it was good to see Luke back & even though you can tell he’ll need some time, it was easy to see what he’ll add to the equation once he gets his legs under him.

    Standing Ovation: Pau Gasol

    Laker 4 Life ….. Go Hard Or Go Home

  101. The earth is shaking in the LA area due to this Laker loss apparently.

  102. @ sT

    Hahaha, I just felt that too. Was pretty long and slow for an earthquake.

    As for the game, well it just plain SUCKED. Kobe’s finger is causing a lot of problems really at a bad time, our outside shooting was bad, some shots just couldn’t fall our way or balls bounced against us, and our defense was lacking.

    Though I have to give credit, Ginobili was playing unbelievably well. In the same line, Gasol had a spectacular game, though he did have several lapses in defense.

  103. 98 – “I also think this team just has a bad mentality right now … Maybe lack of respect for the opponent?”

    If the Lakers draw Portland in the first round, they may well get bounced. Do you think that would instill some respect for “the opponent”?

  104. On the plus side, we know Pau can play better D on Timmy (see two weeks ago). That can go either way. Sasha looks to be officially out of the doghouse, and he was w/o his purple shoulder decoration the second half, so he’s either playing through pain or the shoulder is better. Luke played well; good to see him on the floor fighting for loose balls and then winning the tip for us (even though it was called the wrong way). It wasn’t great by any means, but with Kobe playing better and Pau shutting down Timmy, we can take them in 7.

    Hopefully this is playoff-mode Fish. He’s been dialed in on the jumper and has been under control with the mouthful from PJ last game as the exception. We’ll be alright…we just need TBH! ; ) So he can create a big one for the other team in our paint.

    I’m content if Sasha picks up his game to have LO, Luke, Sasha off the bench for the June-run.

    EDIT: News – Congrats to Dr. Buss being elected to hall!

  105. I have a question that I’d like everyone to answer: why was Artest guarding Manu? I am a big Artest fan, but Manu is way too quick for Artest to play. I didn’t get why Artest wasn’t on Jefferson and Kobe on Manu and Kobe go lock down. There were 5 – 6 possessions where I kept thinking the same thing: Kobe should pick him up. Artest stick Jefferson. Especially on that one play where Kobe tried to double Tim and swipe the ball, leaving jefferson and jefferson got a dunk and one.

    Is this just me?

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    Bench scoring was 2-15, and it didn’t even seem that good while watching the game. 2 – 15???

    2 – 15!!!????

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    Pau Gasol has played his heart out. Fisher played the type of game we all want him to play offensively: 3-4.

    Kobe’s second game of shooting too much without results.

    —————————
    2- 15!!!!@???

  106. this is sad. To see a team this good constantly getting blown out. I’ll understand if they just lose some close games because a team was just an tad bit better that night. But to get thoroughly outplayed time and time again. Do we have to lower our standards and expectations? they lost 4 out of their past 7 games all of which were blow outs. Come on. This is the lakers.

    But they lakers just don’t defend well without bynum. We have to accept the gaurds are only going to show up once a week and kobe cannot carry the lakers like we think he should do every night. this is who th lakers are. They are really good some days and really bad others.Bynum is more important than many think he is but he provides stability,consistency, and efficiency that odom can’t provide in the starting line up. And I
    hope he comes back healthy. With 5 games left I’ll be surpised if they win more than 3. Again I just don’t understand how this team can get blown out this many times in a season. 15 to be exact including earlier games against Portland and Utah and most recently versus new Orleans. Cleveland was down 22 late in the 3rd and lost by 4. Lakers were down to middle of the 4 th and lost by 19. I don’t know what it is.

  107. Does anyone on the lakers pay attention to Craig hodges?

  108. 107, I dont know. What I find is that this team relies too much on talent, and not as much on running the offense officiently. Last year was actually the same deal much of the time. The Lakers didnt always run the triangle effectively, but could rely on Kobe to have spectacular games. That is not the case this year. Talent wise we have gone down and also, the teams around us have gotton much better and play us with no fear at all. If we are going to go to the NBA finals, which we are still very capable of doing, we need to run the offense much more efficiently and consistently. And when we play great offense, we play much better defense. So bottom line is, talent alone will probably not get this team to the finals, and even if it somehow did, we wouldnt beat the cavs. And Portland will not beat us in a seven game series. The only 3 teams that have a shot to me in the west are the Spurs, Denver, or the Mavs.

  109. Ray,
    Manu is not in the least too quick for Artest. Artest did a nice job on him just like he did the last time these teams played. What the Spurs do is use a pick to get Artest off Manu and then attack the Lakers pick and roll defense.

  110. When only 2 players shoot anywhere near 50% for your team, and one of those is 3/4 (Fisher), you’re going to lose unless you lock down on defense.

    The Lakers had really poor rotations on high P&R for the entire game. Pau was playing really well on offense, but was making some questionable choices on defense.

    Kobe’s shot is off, but it was just on a little while ago. I’m not worried about his shot. The continued utter lack of a bench is the bigger concern.

    It was good to see Luke back out there. There were flashes of the little things he does, but he’s not back yet.

    Key play of the game: Lakers claw their way back to within 2 in the 4th with just over 8 minutes left.

    The Spurs come back to run their offense, move the ball around with a few probing drives and with the shot clock running down, Shannon Brown collapses into the paint, leaving his man – one Manu Ginobli – wide open at the top of the key, behind the 3 point line.

    2 point deficit goes to 5, Lakers never recover. You could see the wind go out of their sails on that play. As soon as Manu hit the shot, I looked at the other people in the room and told them they could change the channel because this game would be a double-digit Spurs lead by the 5 minute mark. It would be 11 points by the 6 minute mark…I was off by a minute.

    This loss comes at a good time though. It will refocus the Lakers for the Nuggets on Thursday. Expect another 1.5 – 2 full good quarters of play, which as this season has illustrated, is all the Lakers need to beat any opponent.

  111. I wouldn’t say any opponent. They’ll need to put together 4 very good quarters to handle the Cavs. Which I hate even saying because I think I maybe hate the Cavs as much as I hate Boston.