From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: It’s a stretch to say the Lakers have somehow been written off in the national conversation about this year’s NBA champion, not when seemingly every opposing player and coach, along with substantial portions of the media, consistently refer to them as the team to beat. Still, for much of the season, the “What’s Wrong With the Lakers?” drum has taken plenty of abuse. Happily enough for the purple and gold, the answer since the All-Star break has been “Not much.” Certainly not Sunday afternoon in San Antonio, when the Lakers went into AT&T Center, a building in which the Spurs have lost twice this season and not at all since November, and totally obliterated them to earn their seventh straight victory.
From Andrew McNeil, 48 Minutes of Hell: There was one sequence during the San Antonio Spurs’ 99-83 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, that gave a glimpse of what had been going on the entire afternoon. George Hill had the ball at the top of the 3-point arc and dribbled off a pick. He planted off his right foot and attacked the basket. Several Lakers defenders clogged the lane to prevent Hill from getting to the basket, so Hill fired off a pass from his chest to a cutting Spur. I’ve seen that pass maybe a hundred times this season and not once did I see it get smothered in arms as thoroughly as it was on Sunday afternoon. The Spurs spent the majority of the day fighting out from under and endless blanket, looking for a breath of fresh air, but Los Angeles provided none.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: There it is, amigos. The win we’ve been waiting and pleading for all season long. The crushing show of force that would set off air-raid sirens around the league, letting everyone know the champs were getting serious. The Spurs have been the class of the NBA through the first three quarters of the regular season, but this afternoon they were a little bug hovering in the breeze as the Laker windshield plowed through their airspace at 80 miles an hour. The 99 to 83 final score only hints at the one-sidedness on view at the AT&T Center. If you’d told me ahead of time that today’s game would be a rout, I frankly wouldn’t have guessed that the Lakers would be the routers and not the routees. Already this year, San Antonio had beaten the Lakers twice, and they came into this game having won 22 straight in their own gym
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: he home run the Lakers hit Sunday was a prodigious reminder of who remains the NBA’s clean-up hitter. The Lakers could not wipe out San Antonio’s 71/2-game lead on them in the standings in a single day, but their 99-83 rout showed what they could do on the Spurs’ home court in a potential playoff series and how potent the two-time defending champs can be. “We’re starting to understand,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of his players’ defensive focus. On offense, the Lakers scored on a stunning 12 consecutive possessions to turn an 8-8 tie into a 34-13 lead.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Before the game Phil Jackson mused about the San Antonio Spurs’ uncommon fortune with health this season and said: “They must have Jesus Christ working on their bench as a trainer.” The Spurs would’ve needed J.C. on the court to beat the Lakers on Sunday. It might just turn out that this was Jackson’s last trip to San Antonio, because anyone banking on the Spurs beating the Thunder in the potential 1-vs.-4 matchup in the Western Conference playoffs must think that San Antonio’s 40 percent 3-point success rate in the regular season automatically transfers over to postseason games. “They’re having a magical season,” Jackson said nicely enough before the game while still making it sound like people should pay no attention to that man Gregg Popovich behind the curtain.
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: Andrew Bynum leaped for a rebound, then a dunk, then a blocked shot and then another rebound in the opening seconds of the Lakers’ showdown Sunday afternoon with the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Bynum set the tone in no uncertain terms, and the Lakers were well on their way to a 99-83 victory, their seventh in a row. They went on to score on 12 consecutive possessions during a 22-3 run en route to a 34-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Spurs (51-12) played as if they wanted to win the game, which was all well and good, but the Lakers (45-19) played as if they needed to win. The result was the Lakers’ first victory in three tries this season against the league-leading Spurs.
From Mike Monroe, Spurs Nation: In four seasons with the Spurs, from 1994-98, Chuck Person was renowned for one thing: Scoring, primarily from long range. His 190 3-pointers made and 463 attempted in 1995-96 stand as club records. Never was he known as a lock-down defender. Longtime Spurs fans will be surprised to discover Person has been tasked by Lakers coach Phil Jackson with helping the two-time defending NBA champions get their defense on track for the playoffs. Jackson credited the stifling defense the Lakers played against the Spurs in their 99-83 blowout victory at the AT&T Center on Sunday afternoon to Person drilling the Lakers on some new defensive principles during practice sessions that followed the All-Star break.