Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Darius Soriano —  March 6, 2011

Records: Lakers 44-19 (3rd in West), Spurs 51-11 (1st in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.5 (3rd in NBA), Spurs 111.6 (2nd in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.6 (8th in NBA), Spurs 103.9 (7th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Spurs: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair
Injuries: Lakers: Theo Ratliff (out), Matt Barnes (questionable), Derek Fisher (probable); Spurs: none

The Lakers Coming in: The six straight wins have been good. The fact that in those six wins the Lakers’ defense has moved up from 10th to 8th in efficiency rating is a testament to the fact that the team has been dialed in on that side of the ball. Bynum and Artest have been real difference makers on D, anchoring the perimeter and interior respectively and making the lives of wings and bigs as difficult as possible whether camping beyond the arc or penetrating to the rim. And while there have still been some lapses, the fact that the Lakers have been able to lock down opponents and stay in games defensively bodes well for this last stretch of the season.

Where the Lakers have been struggling in the past couple of games is on offense. Against both the Timberwolves and the Bobcats the Lakers had little luck hitting shots from the outside and didn’t show enough of a commitment to getting the ball to Gasol and Bynum in the post to compensate. And while Kobe has been able to get inside both off the dribble and when posting to get his own shots, he hasn’t been earning many trips to the foul line nor generating many easy looks for his mates. Besides a lack of commitment to getting the ball to the bigs, ball and player movement has also been inconsistent and the overall offense has suffered for it. In the end, the Lakers have done enough on offense to win games I’d love it if they found their stride on O as they have on D in recent games. Hopefully that starts against the Spurs.

The Spurs Coming in: When a team has only lost 11 times in 62 games they’re always playing well. I could gush on and on about this team but their most recent game against Miami really exemplifies what the Spurs are capable of. In their 30 point thrashing of the Heat, the Spurs made 17 of their 28 three point attempts while also scoring 46 points in the paint and 22 points on fast breaks. They showed tremendous balance on offense by having eight players reach double figures with no player taking more than 15 shots (Ginobili) and seven players besides Manu shooting at least 7 times. They moved the ball expertly in the half court and punished the Heat in the open court by pushing the ball at every turn. Really, they played like the ultimate team with every player not only contributing but with each man looking out for the next one with the team’s success seemingly driving every action. And that’s how it’s been for most of this season. Greg Popovich has them playing fantastic ball and even when things look like they may go against them it ends up working out, with the most recent example being a calf injury that was supposed to sideline Tony Parker for two weeks but instead only costing him two games. Such has been this season for the Spurs. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but in this case the Spurs are actually both.

Spurs Blogs: 48 Minutes of Hell is one of the best team sites on the web. Go give ’em a read. Also check out Pounding the Rock for more Spurs coverage.

Keys to game: When playing a team as good and as well coached as the Spurs there are so many keys to the game because there are so many things to worry about and to account for.

On defense the Lakers must simultaneously limit penetration by Parker and Ginobili while also recovering to the three point line in order to contest shots by Neal, Jefferson, and Bonner. The Lakers must show well on P&R’s when Parker has the ball but not hedge too hard so as to be split by his dribble and give him an easy path to the rim. The Lakers must get back in transition and build a wall to block off the paint but also mark shooters in transition so that three pointers aren’t given up in rhythm to very capable shooters. Oh, and slowing that Duncan guy in both post ups and shallow wing isolations are also a priority.

Luckily, the Lakers have the personnel to do these things. It will just take discipline and focus on defense to get the job done. Artest will likely get the nod against Manu and the key with him is to make him a jump shooter. Manu won’t just settle for the J, however, so keeping him to one side of the floor on the dribble is a secondary priority. Manu is at his best driving to the middle from either side of the floor so if Ron can keep him penetrating to the sideline and along the baseline into help, it will go a long way in limiting his success. As for Parker, Fisher will have his hands full but he too should be force to make jumpers as often as possible. Obviously Parker is a master at getting into the paint but I’d like to see Fisher dare him to take 18 footers by going underneath screens and sagging off him to tempt the open J rather than playing up and allowing him to penetrate the ball.

Slowing the Spurs transition game will be a bit more difficult, but operating with sound offensive principles when attacking the Spurs D is a good way to help that cause. The Lakers mustn’t rush when looking for their shots but instead need to be patient and probe the Spurs D for the best available look. While the Spurs have a top 10 defense, this isn’t the stingy D that can suffocate opponents on the regular. The Lakers need to space the floor and work the interior both by entering the ball into the post and by penetrating the ball as often as possible. Gasol should be able to get good looks against Blair early on and Bynum should also get some touches against Duncan where his superior size and length has given Timmy issues in the past. Kobe, meanwhile, should look to attack off the bounce and get the ball inside 12 feet where he can decide to either take his pull up jumper or get all the way to the rim to finish inside.

Besides attacking off the dribble and in the post, the Lakers also need to attack the offensive glass. The Spurs have the 12th best defensive rebounding rate in the league but can still be hurt on their defensive glass. When Duncan goes to the bench and any combination of Bonner, Blair, and McDyess are in the game the Lakers need to be relentless in going after their own misses to both earn extra shots and delay the Spurs run outs going in the other direction. Besides the usual suspects of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom, this is a game where I think Ron and Kobe can also do some damage on the offensive glass by working well off the ball within the Triangle and then working for position when the ball goes up. Ron especially has a size and strength advantage over Jefferson and can use that bulk to his advantage by slashing to the rim on O and then camping underneath when shots go up.

In the end, I could mention at least 5 more things that could end up being factors in this game but will stop here and just say that this is an important game. It’s not likely that the Lakers will catch the Spurs in the standings but they can build some momentum against their biggest challenger out West by earning a win. The last game between these two teams went down to the buzzer and a mental error on a box out cost the Lakers the W. This game gives the Lakers the chance to not only hang tough with the Spurs but to also make up for that mistake last time and get a win. A win that will inspire more confidence and keep the Lakers momentum going into the tough week of hoops that lies ahead. Here’s to the road team getting it done.

Where you can watch: 12:30pm start time out West on ABC. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts Twitter Facebook

135 responses to Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. Mark the Spark March 6, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Warren! 🙂

    A couple of points:
    – I would love the idea of Kobe guarding Parker, Artest on Manu, Fish on Jefferson (let’s face it, Jefferson will always be on the corner), Pau on Duncan and Bynum on Blair.

    – This is where Lamar Odom would again look like an NBA All-Star because no one can virtually guard him.

    – Somebody guard Matt Bonner and Gary Neal. This is where we must stay close on the 3pt shooters and let them shoot long twos.

    – Barnes Bynum Brown Blake Bryant. Let’s just use this lineup for the sake of nicknames.

    – Whoever wins the first quarter, wins the game.

    Let’s Go Lakers!

  2. Play the same game we played last time against the Spurs and we should be fine. Memo to LO “BOX OUT!!”

  3. What if Kobe took (and made) only 4 shots, had 7 offensive rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals, and no turnovers–all within the triangle offense and perimeter protecting team defense . . . . . .

  4. Mark the Spark March 6, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Go Warren (since my post is still on moderation).

  5. One of the problems with Phil’s rotation is the combination of Pau and Lamar, with Bynum out, is the combination on the floor the most minutes and at the most critical times. This combination does not box out well and this is the team that can really take advantage of this fact.

    Here’s hoping Phil allows Andrew to play more minutes today.

  6. Excellent preview. I’m n total agreement with everything you mentioned n regards to attacking the interior of the Spurs defense. Pau needs to establish and maintain position on the low block (if that’s where he chooses to operate) and not allow Blair to push him off of it. If he’s initiating his offense from the elbow, he should be able to get good looks right over the top of said defender. Note to our perimeter players: Pls Feed Bynum (unlike last game). As Darius alluded to, Duncan has difficulties dealing with his size. Especially if he’s motivated/engaged. I feel that Kobe will come out, play within the offense (unlike last game and our previous visit to San An) and play more of the facilitator role until he recognizes that it’s time to strike. He’ll also need to be more conscious while handling the rock because both Manu and Hill have quick hands and have been successful at stripping him in previous encounters. If the wings are going to take long jumpers, hopefully they’re good looks because the misses will ignite their transition offense. Defensively, we know the drill with the Spurs. Nothing has changed over the yrs n regards to defending them and n my opinion, should be even easier (key word: Should). The blueprint has always been to keep Parker out of the paint, force Manu to his right and to turn both of them into jumpshooters. I mentioned earlier that it ‘should’ be easier to defend them because no longer does Duncan require a double. With either ‘Drew or Pau, we have the personnel to guard him straight up. Jefferson isn’t much of a threat. I know this might sound strange, especially since we’re talkin’ about a team that features the aforementioned Manu, Parker + Duncan, but if we can neutralize their role players (Hill, Bonner, Neal and Blair), we should come away with the victory. Can’t have Bonner and Neal spotting up and hitting 3’s. Can’t have Hill breaking down the D or hitting wide open j’s and we can’t have Blair getting 2nd chance opportunities or manhandling Pau. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but that’s why I said it ‘should’ be easier to defend them. With that being said, I feel that we’ll be up to the task and prevail today. Let’s Get It.

  7. Simply put, this is as close to a “must win” regular season game as they come. I think the 1 point loss at home should serve as an excellent reminder that our team must execute smartly for 48 minutes. If we go inside, our bigs have to deliver consistently or Kobe will stray some within our sets. And stopping their transition is a priority. We can’t take their no name 3point shooters for granted. With all of this said, the game boils down to will and execution. Go Lakers!

  8. @5 couldn’t agree more – the win in Boston was nice but this is the game I’ve had circled on my calendar since they blew the game at home against the Spurs. Andrew and Ron Ron need to play big today. Really looking forward to this one for awhile.

  9. I don’t consider any regualr season game a must win, but I do think this will be a good bench mark – on the road against the top team. Psychologically, it will be important for the Lakers to know they can do it and for the Spurs to realize the Lakers can do it as the road to the finals lies through SA, for now.

    The only way the Lakers can win this is by playing total team ball. Looking for a big game from Bynum.

  10. i’m not really too concerned about a win or a loss. what i want to see is how well the lakers execute their strategy and how successful their tactics are.

    defensively, i expect them to sag off parker, and try to have him be more of a scorer and less of a distributor.

    offensively, they can keep turnovers down and wear out ginobili by attacking repeatedly with screen-roll.

    defend the 3. keep turnovers low. allow your rebounding prowess to create extra possessions. that’s the recipe for winning a low-possession game against the spurs.

  11. Anyone watching this Bulls/Heat game?

  12. Yeah, I still find it hard to watch the Heat.

  13. #12. Miami still shows little creativity on offense but there are games where they mesh well enough while allowing their individual talents to shine through. On the other side, Rose looks very good.

  14. Just seems like the same thing every time down the court, lebron or wade bulling into the lane and getting FT’s or a bosh jumper. Not to mention the moving screens by every player on the heat, its almost as bad as the celtics.

  15. defensively, i feel like miami(and boston, too) exert an unsustainable amount of effort over 48 minutes.

  16. @chibi, i agree and it helps to get that reputation because you tend to “get away” with things other teams don’t

  17. @ 9 – Note I didn’t say it was a must win, just as close as they come for this bunch in the regular season. For all we know, our Lakers could go 0-4 in the regular season and then turn around and beat the spurs 4-0 in the playoffs (not likely, but still possible). In any event, this is a game where we have to exert our will on the game and not let the spurs turn this into a track meet. I would love to see Brown and Blake attack the basket and not just take long jumpers late in the clock – unless they are found within good rhythm of the offense. And let’s stay within arm’s length of their shooters on the 3point line…please. Go Lakers!

  18. DR. (DR Period) is Phenomenal. Definitely the Most Valuable Player n my opinion and I love how the fans n MIA are serenading him with those M.V.P. chants.

  19. This Bulls team has a great core. Far better than the overhyped group they had a few years ago. Rose, Boozer, Noah, and Deng is a great first 4, plus 2 really good young backup bigs in Asik and Gibson. All they need to do now is add a quality 2-guard (someone like Afflalo would be perfect) and they could rule the East for a while.

  20. In general, can’t agree with the notion of not caring if the Lakers win, as long as they execute whatever.

    If they execute whatever, the idea is that will lead to a win. If they lose, they are down 0-3 over the regular season to a likely playoff opponent (no positives there).

    Not to mention they will be digging themselves a deeper hole relative to HCA. Trying to win on the road in multiple playoff series is an uphill battle. Ask the C’s how it went last year.

  21. Completely, unrelated…..@11…That lady in the background of the Heat/Bulls telecast is extremely annoying!!!

  22. Derrick Rose is a killer.

  23. I know that the Bulls are an Eastern rival for us too… but I can’t help but love the result of that game.

  24. Am I the only one who doesn’t buy the idea that ‘nobody talks about the Spurs’?

  25. Loving the new Bynum

  26. Lakers have come ready to play. I love the ball movement

  27. I hope Bynum gets 20-10 from now on, like on a regular basis, or every single game.

  28. 22.

    I don’t buy it either. I think there’s a difference between talking about the contenders (which definitely includes the Spurs) and talking about the the “sexy” teams in the league (which does not include SA). That’s the NBAs fault. They sell flash personalities just as much as the team itself, if not more. So to have a hard working team that keeps their personalities “in house” means that the NBA isn’t going to give it as much attention. I think the media is at fault for the exact same thing.

    People would rather hear about Amar’e’s night out in NY than Duncan’s grilled chicken dinner at home with the family.

  29. sT: That’s going to be tough as long as Kobe and Pau are still good=)

  30. All I am going to say to the Lakers is dont fall in love with the jump shot

  31. This is some awesome Laker defense.

  32. Bynum is beasting, hope he doesn’t wear himself out.

  33. Insane start to this game. No other team in the league could ever do this – not even for a brief stretch like that.

  34. Wow, we are taking control of this game early, am I really watching the Lakers take apart the Spurs at the moment.

  35. I’m loving the effort on both sides of the ball. Ball movement, rebounding, and defense has been pretty great so far. Bynum keying things on both side of the ball.

  36. Wow! Some fantastic Laker ball! The words “statement game” come to mind. Lets see if this continues for 4 quarters. Would be awesome to blow out the Spurs (as unrealistic as this is, considering how well the Spurs are playing) on their home court.

  37. Spurs will make a push; the Lakers are going to have to remain disciplined to withstand it.

  38. wow. clockwork. lakers in amazing rhythm and flow.

    even if those shots don’t go in, teammates are in position to rebound misses.

  39. Scorching shooting is bound to fall off, therefore, our defensive intensity must remain intact.

  40. No luke Walton, that’s already a win in my book

  41. Hell yeah! Barnes is in the game!

  42. barnes! alright.

  43. Welcome back Matt Barnes!

  44. I’ve decided that I’m enjoying this too much to even make a game-related comment.

  45. Great 1st Q by the Lakers

  46. If the Lakers play like this for 3 more quarters, I think my head will explode.

  47. Honestly that 1st quarter was the team I have been waiting to see all year. Now just keep it up guys.

    It’s funny because the Spurs were on the opposite end of the win against the Heat like this Friday night.

  48. #25, everybody talks about how nobody talks about the spurs.

  49. The best the Lakers have looked all year by far, I did not think they were capable of what I just saw, I am shocked.

  50. @50. ROFL, I was just thinking that too!

  51. Like I said: No other team could ever hope to do that. That was pure basketball porn.

  52. Gasololol

  53. Did Pau just hit a 3?

  54. When Gasol is hitting 3s, you know its going great

  55. Pau Gasol for the trey, really great basketball by the Lakers today.

  56. 3 Pointer by Gasol!

  57. Pau has the range! I want him to start shooting those from the corners;)

  58. I like what I’ve seen so far. Great communication on defense, Bynum putting in great effort andPau is assertive from the start. And of course, it’s nice to see both Fisher and Barnes back in fighting condition. 🙂

  59. Is that Pau Gasol or Dirk Nowitzki out there?

  60. Am I the only one who’s kinda having buyer’s remorse about Blake?

  61. #50…yes! so true. I was just about to say that. Odom has Bonner, all day.

  62. Chris D: Save that for later, just enjoy the show that is this game;)

  63. 41, AMEN!

    If the Spurs are going to make a push, it’s going to be their bench guys that key it, because the Spurs starters just don’t play big minutes.

  64. Pau has a three point shot? When did this happen?

  65. The Lakers are essentially doing everything I really wanted based off the game preview. Nice to see the defensive intensity and the fact that they’re working their game plan and staying true to their scheme.

  66. #65

    No no, i am with you – i was merely commenting on how he’s been struggling for most of the season. But you’re right, let’s enjoy the game first.

    Matt Barnes out there playing well, yes! Lakers already in the 40s in only a quarter and a half 🙂

  67. Every single Laker has come to play today (except maybe Steve Blake). When Pau is draining threes, Odom is driving to the hole, and Bynum is just wrecking the Spurs on the boards, this team is hard to beat.

  68. Mark Jackson with the line of the week. Breen said “this is shocking.” Jackson replied, “It’s almost like the Miami Heat sent their big brother.”

  69. Not a fan of that last possession. That’s the kind of possession that gets a team back into a game that was getting out of hand.

  70. 63

    Is there anyone who isn’t at this point?

  71. OK Phil, after giving up five consecutive offensive boards, I’d say it’s time to put Drew back in the game. He’s been on the bench for more than nine minutes.

  72. @62, Joel
    I hope it’s Pau… I would much rather have him than Dirk. 😉

  73. Lol! Artest blocks the shot and then flexes. That’s manly. >:D

  74. Gotta love Ron Ron

  75. Hahaha Ron! Highlight of the game so far, despite all the great play;)

  76. Wow, Kobe is a beast on the boards today.

  77. if the lakers trade baskets with the spurs in the 3rd, Popovich may just pull his starters.

  78. That was among the best halves I’ve ever seen. Now imagine if that team would lose to the Cavs…oh wait;)

  79. kehntangibles March 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    fook! I missed the first quarter and most of the second. Apparently I really really need to watch this basketball porn somewhere, somehow

  80. Stu Scott still cracks me up after all these years 🙂

  81. just got back from dim sum and just switched it on. reaction: WOW. Rewound the TV to make sure i mess it up.

  82. I may be wrong, I may be wrong!

  83. im giddy right now

    couldnt have really asked for a better half

  84. That step back jumper by Kobe in the 2nd quarter looked so sick. Watching the replay, it verified how amazing that shot was. 😀

  85. And that’s why you don’t text during games. I mean come on, LAKERS VS SPURS, GUY!! WATCH THE GAME!!! YOU PAID A LOT FOR THOSE SEATS!!!

  86. Haha Ron continues to provide comic relief at the highest level:D

  87. Lakers should go into Bynum, just to slow down the game a bit.

  88. The defensive glass is officially the property of Andrew Bynum.

  89. I know after the amazing first half, I should expect a drop off in the 3rd, but I’m taking it harder than I should. >.<

  90. These last handful of possessions have not been pretty. Luckily, the Spurs haven’t made us pay.

    I agree, Zephid. Go in to Bynum to not only slow things down, but to reward him for being such a beast on the boards all day.

  91. Psiwolf: he just said he didn’t pay for those seats. Probably a corporate lottery, LOL.

  92. dirty play by hill.

  93. One thing about not going into Bynum however is that it puts him in terrific position to get offensive rebounds.

  94. @95: I realize now that 2/3 of my statement is wrong. He wasn’t texting, he was sitting down from buying a coffee, and his seat was free. BUT THEY STILL COST A LOT AND THE LAKERS AND SPURS ARE PLAYING!!!! >:D

  95. Haha Pau took another one..

  96. Lakers are playing with less intensity.. But so are the Spurs. That deficit has barely budged. 😀

  97. chibi: what did Hill do? I was trying to watch but they cut off the lower body.

  98. Wow, what a boring quarter, this game is just dragging now. And great video Zep haha.

  99. Battle of the benches the whole 4th quarter?

  100. So is the whole 4th quarter going to be garbage time now? Yeah Zephid, that was a cool video for sure.

  101. We’d be up by 40 if Kobe were clutch 🙁

  102. Well good, we need to get Barnes some extended burn time anyway. 😀

  103. 101: ran up under him, tripped him as he was going up for a breakaway layup.

  104. Wish our bench would play some actual basketball on at least one side of the game. Offense, defense, whatever, I don’t care. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN SPAMMING JUMPERS!

  105. Did JVG polish his dome today? It’s looking particularly lustrous this Sunday.

  106. Thank god Phil put Kobe and Fish back in. The garbage play of the bench was getting on my nerves.

  107. PJ has Kobe, Bynum, Fisher, LO and Brown in at the closing moments. I guess he saw the 30 point lead evaporate, and is not taking any chances.

  108. I think Phil is clearly sending a message to Brown, Blake, and Barnes; this is the stretch run, we’re going hard all game. Not sending the ball inside is not acceptable.

  109. I love how Phil has kept with his starters. No mercy, blow this team completely out and make this as big a statement as possible.

  110. wow. starters back in. phil must be pissed.

  111. Well, when you’ve only scored 28 points the entire 2nd half, I’d be annoyed too.

    Thank god we played such a fantastic first half and the Spurs didn’t make any real push in the 2nd half.

  112. Street light, people, living just to find emotion. Hidin’, somewhere in the niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  113. @112. Yeah, the bigs keep getting offensive rebounds and our backup guards keep shooting jumpers without throwing it back inside. I’d be pissed too, if I were Phil.

  114. The only negative out of this game was the play of the second unit in the second half, just like Kobe said in the post game on-the-floor interview.

  115. Beauty of a game! What a pleasure to see the Lakers manhandle the best team so far this year.

  116. Great win, but sick of Phil playing the starters in garbage time. Kamenetzky Bros. really on his case about it.

    Nice seeing Barnes back and Bynum ‘bound.

  117. How about Andrew Bynum since the All-Star game! Can’t ask for any more from him in terms of accepting, and excelling in, his role on this team.

  118. For individuals who believe that there are no such things as ‘Statement Games during the Regular Season’, this game proves your logic to be Totally Inaccurate.

  119. Did anybody else feel we completely ignored the low post game today for our bigs? I recall very few plays where Drew and Pau scored by backing there guys down.

    Was this by design? Drew got buckets on put backs and Pau hit a lot of jumpers.

  120. #122.

    Well…no, it really doesn’t. Does anyone seriously think the results of this game will have any impact on future meetings with the Spurs? I sure don’t. They’re too good a team to let this loss mess them up. It was a great game, no doubt…and every win counts in terms of battling for playoff position…but when the playoffs start, the regular season is OVER and nothing that happened during it matters anymore.

    The only statement games in the NBA are playoff series clinchers. Everything else is prologue.

    That said, I firmly believe the Lakers have the Spurs’ number anytime they’re willing to put in the effort to dial it. I don’t see this as a statement game because the Lakers could have done this at any time this season…it’s just that they usually coast a bit during the first half, tighten up a bit after the all-star break and then really bring their A game in the playoffs. That’s why I was never freaking out during their losses earlier in the season.

  121. That was GLORIOUS. This is what our team is capable of on their best night.

    To put things in perspective, the Spurs missed some shots they normally make, and we hit a lot of long 2’s (in the first half) that we don’t. But our defense! Such activity! Length and hands everywhere, quick rotations, hard close-outs. I was giddy just watching us on the defensive end.

    We got the ball into Pau fairly regularly (when Kobe sat), I thought. But I’m absolutely amazed at Bynum’s play and demeanor. I don’t consider myself a selfish person, but I would have been PISSED at how often I was ignored on offense. I mean, Drew grabbed at least half a dozen offensive boards where he wasn’t rewarded for his hustle at all. Major props for his maturity and priorities on the defensive end.

    This was a game where everything went right for the Lakers, and Steve Blake still sucked. 😀

    What a game. You try not to read too much into one game, but finally we saw a win from a true championship-level team.

  122. San Antonio Slapdown!

  123. Bynum dominated the first quarter on defense. After he got the block on Parker’s and Ginobili’s and then changed a couple more) shots they were very hesitant to shoot it over him. They would drive into the lane then just pass it out instead of challenging him. Plus he grabbed every rebound that came anywhere near him. He has been playing really good in the last 7 games.

  124. Duncan was 1 for 7 with 2 points. He was utterly over matched by Drew in terms of physicality and a complete non factor in the game. In fact the Spurs didn’t even bother iso / posting up Duncan on the block for the first 7 minutes of the game. I can’t think of a time when that would have ever been the case.

    If these two teams meet up in the conference finals and, considering how size challenged the Spurs are otherwise, not even Duncan can’t hold own then I don’t see any way the Spurs can hang with the Lakers in a seven game series, home court advantage not withstanding.

  125. 123.

    I think it was due to the fact that the off-the-ball movement/passing was so great that the perimeter looks the Lakers got were pretty good scoring opportunities.

    They didn’t really need to pound the paint with the movement being so pristine. If today’s movement can be replicated in a somewhat similar fashion in the future, the offense can come close to being unguardable. The ability to have such great perimeter ball movement as well as top post options on offense is such a ridiculous luxury that it almost makes me feel bad for other teams in the league. Almost.

    And Matt Bonner can’t play defense.

  126. Bynum is taking his game to another level right now. There’s not many players who could dominate a half so thoroughly with so few field goal attempts.

  127. Agreed with all. No word other than “dominant” can adequately describe Andrew’s play this afternoon.

    There’s really no excuse for the Lakers going away from the post. While I do think he should’ve gotten more possessions, I’m very happy to see that Bynum seems to have embraced his role as defensive anchor and rebounder. He altered so many shots in the paint; you could see him tracking Tony Parker’s shots and just swatting them when Parker released.

    I can only hope that Bynum keeps up this level of intensity. We are unbeatable when he plays at that level.

  128. the lakers lose to the heat by 16
    the heat lose to the spurs by 30
    the lakers beat the spurs by 16

    so lakers>spurs>heat>lakers?

    rock paper sissors?

  129. Miami players apparently in tears after the game today. No word on whether this will be cut from the documentary Bosh and Wade are filming.

    Not sure what Spoelstra was trying to accomplish by telling the media that, but his players can’t like it.

    I know we’ve got to stay calm and even-keel win or lose, but man, I feel like a little kid after today’s game. I think I’m going to make a cotton candy run at some point this evening.

    On the Bulls – I watch quite a bit and they have a playoff level defense, but (partly because of their offensive dependence on 1 player) part of me has trouble seeing them getting to the ECF. But then another part of me realizes how far Derrick Rose raises his game on the big stage, and I believe. I really hope they make it to the ECF, though. The only team in the East I feel comfortable pulling for.

  130. 132, hurray for acyclic directed graphs!

    134, the Bulls crunch time offense was surprisingly terrible. Almost as bad as the Miami crunch time offense, zing!

    I can see Chicago beating Miami or Orlando, but I don’t see them beating Boston.