Lakers/Spurs: Club 17 Paint Job

Rey Moralde —  April 11, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 98, Spurs 84
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 110.1, Spurs 94.4
True Shooting %: Lakers 53.5%, Spurs 50.6%

The Lakers faced San Antonio for the first time this season. Kobe was still out. The Spurs rested Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili in the previous game so they would feel more fresh. We kinda joked that the Austin Toros would keep it close against the Lakers, who barely escaped the Hornets’ nest a couple of nights ago. What followed was a complete surprise.

The Good:
Andrew Bynum. Andrew Bynum. Andrew Bynum. THIRTY REBOUNDS IN THE GAME (easily breaking the season high in rebounds of 25 by Dwight Howard and… wait for it… Ersan Ilyasova!). Bynum absolutely owned the paint on both ends. Owned it so much that it felt like the single offensive rebound by the Spurs (yes, they only had ONE) was a pity board. But I suppose the Spurs can feel better that they would’ve outrebounded the Lakers if Bynum wasn’t there. The board count? The Lakers had a 60-33 whoopin’. SIXTY. 16-1 on the offensive boards, by the way. Of course, with Bynum’s domination on the boards, Pau Gasol looks lazy in comparison. Our favorite Spanish forward only had 11 rebounds. SLACKER.

Not only did Andrew Bynum get a career high in rebounds (Darius also noted that Bynum didn’t foul at all in the game!), but Metta World Peace had his best scoring game as a Laker. He scored 26 points and, at one point, made five straight field goals in the 3rd that included a series of fadeaway jumpers. He even made an old-school flat-footed 3-point set shot with the shot clock running down. Metta had smoke coming out of his fingers. I wish that Bill MacDonald knew his NBA Jam terms, though. Three in a row is not heating up, Billy Mac; that’s ON FIRE.

Pau Gasol had a terrible start, shooting-wise, but the Spurs got into even deeper water when Pau started making his jumpers in the 4th quarter. He had 21 points to end the game and, like Bynum, owned the paint as well. It’s just that we can’t appreciate Pau’s performance as much if Bynum (who also had 16 points) was basically being Pac-Man by eating rebounds as if they were ghosts.

Matt Barnes continued his hustle with 13 points, 6 boards, and 4 dimes. He also hit 3 3-pointers in the first half, which got most of us Laker fans afraid that they might depend on that 3 a little too much. But the ball rotation was so good that they had such good looks, we’d get mad if they didn’t take them. Steve Blake finished with 10-3-3 in his second consecutive good game, including a 3 that basically Austin 3:16′d San Antonio and the Laker fans that have been down (to put it kindly) on his game.

The ball movement was quite a sight. They had 23 assists on 40 field goal makes.

And the Lakers were swarming on D, particularly inside the paint. They made Tony Parker shoot difficult shots (2/12) and were getting in the face of most of their shots from inside to the midrange. The Spurs shot 40.7% overall and only scored 41 points after the half. San Antonio couldn’t deal with the Lakers’ size (insert terrible enlargement pills joke here).

Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace should be able to listen to ‘N SYNC or Celine Dion as loud as they want in the locker room the next few nights after their fantastic performances. Steve Blake should’ve given Bynum the ball so he could shoot a 3 (I’m sure you guys noticed how Bynum ‘guarded’ Steve on the final seconds).

This feels like the most complete Laker game this season. Maybe tomorrow, Kobe Bryant will be amnestied.

The Bad:
The Lakers have had trouble covering the perimeter for years now and this is no exception. The Spurs hit 13 treys in the game but that was pretty much the only weapon the Spurs had.

Ramon Sessions (LATE EDIT: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) was a little bit out of control even though he still had a decent game. Since the Lakers owned this game, I suppose we can give Sessions a pass with his four turnovers.

The Spurs did a great job fronting the post against the Lakers in the 2nd quarter. The Lakers had trouble with that for a while and if I was a San Antonio fan, I would wonder why they went away from that.

It’d be nice if the Lakers can kick teams while they’re down. When up 23, punch them in the face and go for a 30-point lead. When up 50, kick them in the groin and go for a 60-point lead. When up 127, leave C4s on their backs and go for a 180-point lead. You get the picture.

I’m also the last person to harp on referees (well, Darius might fight me to the death on this one) but the Spurs could Dragon Punch Andrew Bynum in the face and they still wouldn’t call a foul. Maybe they felt sorry for the Spurs.

The Ugly:
Good grief, Boris Diaw is a big boy. Imagine him dancing. Yeah, I thought you would like that image.

The Play Of The Game:
I will take MWP’s flat-footed three-pointer early in the fourth. That’s when you knew that everything was going right. You actually kinda wonder if Kobe’s spirit actually went inside Metta’s body. It was a sight to behold.

In a way, this game makes me angry. You saw how Bynum was so dominant on the glass. You kinda wish he would stop loafing around so he can average around 15 boards a game (30 boards a game?). It’s obviously a bit hard for Bynum to score with no Bean on the court but he has to be patient and not get so frustrated on both ends. Pass it out, repost, rinse, lather, repeat until a good shot comes along from the team. We all assume Bynum’s going to own this team beyond the Kobe Bryant era. Hopefully, he’ll figure it out. He’s a smart kid.

If this was any indication on how well the Lakers can play, the Spurs better know what they’re facing. They’re going to face each other twice more in the season. Of course, Gregg Popovich could just be a total jerk, kill a thousand people, then sit his stars down.

Meanwhile, the Lakers start a three-game homestand on Friday. They draw the Denver Nuggets. Of course, we would like to see the effort and execution they had earlier tonight against Ty Lawson and company. They can’t depend on Danilo Gallinari missed lay-ups and JaVale McGee bloopers that would make him an America’s Funniest Home Videos staple; the Lakers gotta bring it. With or without Kobe.

Enjoy the win. I know my dinner tasted better after that. Even if it was just a measly chicken sandwich.

Rey Moralde

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54 responses to Lakers/Spurs: Club 17 Paint Job

  1. Lakers stopped Parker PnR defense was great. Bynum looked like David Robinson out there.

    Barnes got out of his slump, Blake played 2 good games in a row.

  2. From last thread-

    So here is what we have to figure out. How can we get this Bynum on the defensive end and on the boards, but get the old Bynum’s offensive numbers? Well, once we add Kobe back into the line-up, Bynum will get some easier shots and bring that shooting percentage back up! Then, if he can just keep this whole ‘defense and rebounding’ thing going that Phil Jackson was talking about….we will be able to beat just about anyone. Add in a All World-MWP and we have a pretty damn good team!

  3. Awesome performance. And that was no Metta World Peace – Ron Artest came to play today!!!

    Rey-rey: I guess you’re allowed to write “last minute recaps”!

  4. KenOak,
    It looks like Bynum is just lacking a little explosiveness right now… Why he is missing shots he normally makes. Im sure with a week off to end the season he will get his hops back.

  5. Oh… And I will officially take credit for my prediction of victory. It was my first prediction of the year because it was such a gimmy.

  6. Aaron-
    I like your line of thinking about the time off at the end of the season. Couple that with at least 1 game off between games in the playoffs and you get a fresh Bynum and a fresh Kobe!? We need to get Pau some rest at some point too.

  7. Sessions looks a little full of himself. What is with the high dribbles and slapping at the ball as he comes down court? On the plus side his defense is not that bad and it is great to see a Laker guard be able to get to the rim.

  8. DON: You can’t blame me for a Lakers loss on my scheduled recaps! The Lakers won seven straight of my recaps at one point!

  9. Duncan, Blair, Splitter and Bonner have a Bynum problem. Not sure it will be much different next time except Bynum may score more efficiently 7-20 is a Kobe percentage.

  10. Aaron-

    You also predicted–several times–that the Lakers would get Paul and Howard. ; – )

  11. For once, there is nothing bad nor ugly on the Lakers game tonight. The only thing that we wish for is to reserve such “gusto” in the playoffs or just beat this Thunder on the next few games coming and mission is accomplish. Aim high and don’t go lower than 3rd place.

  12. rr,
    And were we that far away? Plus we all know player movement predictions is much different. I’m just saying this one my only game prediction of the year for a reason.

  13. Aaron’s Stat of the Night
    ——————————
    Rebounds
    Bynum 30
    Duncan 2

  14. “When up 23, punch them in the face and go for a 30-point lead. When up 50, kick them in the groin and go for a 60-point lead. When up 127, leave C4s on their backs and go for a 180-point lead.”

    Quite literally laughed out loud. Fantastic writing.

  15. In April

    Session 50% fg 50% 3pt

    Kobe 56% fg

    Blake 38% 3pt on par with career number

    Pau 54% fg 4.9 ast

    Ron 50% fg 34% 3pt lockdown defense

    Bynum 30 rebounds

    6 players trending upward. Not too many teams have 6 players playing well right now.

  16. That was shocking!!! It looks like we can beat every other team other than OKC and Memphis. Let’s hope we match up against Dallas, the Clips and Memphis play each other and Utah makes the playoffs against OKC. We can beat everyone else.

  17. Controversial question that appeared on Yahoo that will concern a number of our players (Kobe, Pau, maybe Bynum(?)):

    Should Olympians get paid. Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen both suggested as much, and, typical of Yahoo, a contingent of conservative borderline-racists commenters scurried out the woodwork to condemn these ‘money loving thugs’.

    The entry brought up a reality of the corporatized Olympics: Players are expected to display their true patriotism/honor while advertising agencies, broadcast companies, and other corporations profit off the athletes and the image of their patriotism. I’m personally opposed to the idea of player compensation, mostly because it’s terrible for PR. But is it any more ethical for companies to take advantage of national pride?

    Someone suggested that US team jersey sales should go back to the Olympic program, and
    maybe advertisers should be forced to donate some proceeds to the Olympic programs. Or how about paying the NBA teams the players are on for part of the cost of injury insurance to cover the couple months of Olympic training and competition? What do you all think?

  18. By the bigs going 16 for 44 it almost felt like Kobe did play. Zing!!!!

  19. busboys4me: sorry friend your math’s a little off bynum last 3 is 24 – 64 37% fg. ;-)

  20. Warren Wee Lim April 12, 2012 at 2:04 am

    JD Hastings and I planned on getting wasted before the game… that so either we don’t feel the pain or its in advance celebration.

    I think he drank his share of whiskeys and I proverbially got drunk with morning coffee. Overall, that game was NOICE. Didn’t even wake up for tip off, didn’t look at score when I clicked the game replay, and when I couldn’t resist, I saw us up 14 in the 3rd. That coffee tasted extra good, as did JD’s whiskey I bet.

  21. My personal play of the night was a 3rd quarter 3-point play by MWP where he gave the referee a butt slap after getting the call. I thought that was so funny that he gets away with such things.

    And I liked that Steve Blake waived off Bynum for a 3-pointer as time was running out. No need to show off, stay classy and remember that you’ll see the Spurs again soon, probably more dangerous than this time.

  22. Kobe had to feel proud of his teammates stepping up and performing the way they did, against one of the top six teams in the league, especially Bynum, MWP, Gasol, Barnes, & Blake. He has to feel good knowing that he doesn’t have to play 40 minutes every game and that other Lakers can hit jumpers…right?

    Lakers are 2-1 in their last 3 w/o Kobe. Is there anyone on this site who honestly can say they expected better than that?

  23. Great to see the team ball’n while Bean is in a suit on the sidelines getting some well needed rest. I thought with a big lead last night GLoC might get to see the floor, but it seems that Brown is done with that experiment. A solid 8 man rotation is all that is needed come playoff time.

    The road to end has been a bumpy one, but with the emergence of Drew and the pick up of Sessions this team has the right pieces to make a run. A defensive effort like last night is all it takes to have a chance against anyone in the league home court or not.

  24. @16 Busboys4me yes. OKC and Memphis would be problems. Bynum dominates Perkins and presents a major problem for OKC. Don’t think OKC is wishing for the Lakers in the playoffs.

  25. Holy googly moogly!

    I’ve been as critical of Bynum as anyone of late, and with good reason, but credit where credit is due. He came to play today. 30 rebounds! Makes me wish he’d put that level of effort into that part of his game more often.

    Also, what’s gotten into Peace’s head of late? He’s playing like he isn’t a total offensive incompetent out there. He actually looks like he has some confidence in that aspect of his game once more.

    And boy did we need that win as well with the Clippers bouncing Okie City.

  26. Warren Wee Lim April 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

    As dysfunctional as our team is on many accounts still, NO ONE wants to meet us in the playoffs.

  27. Barely beat the Hornets then spank the Spurs. What a crazy season this is. These games will play out different with Kobe. To have the same result as last night one constant has to remain defense and rebounding.

  28. Why are fans so angry at Bynum? He is what he is, not what you think he should be. He is a strong willed man who is going to do things his way. Whining and complaining is not going to accomplish anything.
    I enjoy his immense talent and hope to enjoy it for years to come.

  29. Fans get angry at Bynum because more nights that not lately he has be loafing on defense and, as Darius pointed out, when he does play defense, it is inconsistent with with what the rest of the team is doing.

    Moreover, fans get angry at Bynum because – and I can’t stress this enough – he has had a lack of effort in many games recently – which is disrespectful to both his teammates (where many are less talented but work their butt off everyday) and disrespectful for the fans who get invested in the game. Now, call being over invested a fan flaw if you want, but the reason these guys can make the money that they are making is because fans are passionate.

    I’m not saying Bynum needs to get 30 rebounds a game everyday, or any crazy number like that, but if he’s going to be a leader on the team, consistent effort is important.

    Plus, there are now higher expectations for him because he has become a good player. That’s the way it goes – you get paid more, you get more fame, but then you can’t run and hide when you don’t bring it or act like a petulant child and get thrown out of games for no legitimate reason.

    As a side note,

    I really hope Ebanks continues to get some minutes moving forward, as he gives us a different dimension of athleticism on the wing.

  30. bigern: fans aren’t mad at bynum everyone sees things through different lenses. I see potential in Bynum and have been saying all along just want to see him play hard lakers are much better when he does. And how vanilla would it be to just talk numbers and not bring emotion into the debate. The better you become the more fans want to see from you.

  31. @ Kaifa:

    If that story is true, it explains why MWP finally found Ron-Ron in the last month or so.

  32. Darius,
    I’ve given my opinions on Bynum. What are yours? You have given stats showing how elite Bynum has been this season but what is your take on his game now and his game potentially in the future? You’ve mentioned how Shaq didn’t receive this kind of defensive attention. What are we seeing in front of us right now? As I’ve told you personally I think it’s somewhat apples and oranges. While Shaq is better than Drew, Bynum is better as compared to his contemporaries. When Shaq was in his prime in the 1990′s there were a lot of very good Centers all over the league with great size. So Shaq saw more one on one coverage. As we have seen when Bynum goes against quality Centers (Marc Gasol) the Grizzlies single cover him (although it didn’t work out well for Marc :) ) Your thoughts about a gigantic developing NBA story…

  33. 25)
    Ummm. The league better hope MWP is making that up. Because if that’s why he hasn’t been himself with the Lakers… And we get the real Ron Artest from here on out???? Watch out National Basketball League. I mean this guy was a two way monster. They way he has been playing the last ten days has been very impressive. Maybe MWP did have a back problem limiting his athletisism. Because the eye test shows he is moving like never before in a Lakers uniform.

  34. The Lakers just had a meaningless road win… It’s just one game without your star SG. What matters is the practicality of it all. I wrote recently about this Lakers team being the first team since the 80′s Celtics that have five players on the court at the same time that can all create in one on one sittuations and have four guys that can post up. I don’t know the last time a team had that? I mean dude, Darius, snoopy? When was the last time an NBA had that? Perspective… The Lakers worst offensive starter just scored 26 points on 10 of 15 FGs against the Spurs on the road. Think about that.

  35. Aaron: As hard as I am on Bynum I do see best center in the game in him if he plays hard. Whenever we discuss Drew that’s all I’ve ever harped on is his effort level and his franchise player status. As good as Dwight Howard is he is in no way close to a guy like Shaq or Duncan. If you backed me into a corner I’d say he’s closer to Alonzo Mourning. Bynum can be the best center in the league if he plays hard every possession every game if he does that Lakers will be the best team in the league.

    To Shaq he was horrible at PnR coverage but made sure nobody got anything easy at the rim more times than not. Bynum should do the same.

  36. Aaron,

    I believe that Darius (or someone else) pointed out that Bynum is doubled much more frequently because he is a lot less effective at dealing with them. If people doubled Shaq, more often than not he made the right play out of the double team. That seems to make sense to me. Unless you counter with “But Bynum is incredible at dealing with double teams,” in which case, you’re absolutely right, as always.

  37. Kevin,
    The reason you see more Alonzo in Fwight is because they are both 6-10. That still means something. Guys like Shaq, Duncan, and Drew are a legit seven feet.

    Kareem,
    The reason that argument doesn’t totally fly is because Bynum has been passing out of double teams very well since the first few weeks of the season. The reason Shaq wasn’t doubled as much is because of Zone rules and there were more good centers who could defend him. Tink about it. When Bynum plays good centers eye don’t double mostly either.

  38. Aaron: those 7 footers had a offensive game too. what hurts dwight is his base some bigs can push him around.

  39. Kevin,
    Hmmm. I’m not saying you are wrong here. But you might be. Who besides Bynum can push Dwight around? I don’t see Dwight being pushed around. I’ve seen him have a tough time shooting over taller players though. Thoughts?

  40. Aaron: not push him around but get him off his spots because they have strong bases. there’s only two that come to mind bynum and perk because of their lower body strength. still limited success but there’s some success.

  41. Kevin,
    Okay… Agreed.

  42. A few years ago, little Jason Maxiell was also very, very good at using his lower body strength to push Howard off his spots. The man has the legs of an flamingo.

    Aaron: “…this Lakers team being the first team since the 80?s Celtics that have five players on the court at the same time that can all create in one on one sittuations and have four guys that can post up. I don’t know the last time a team had that?”

    That’s an interesting statement. I thought immediately of the newer Celtics, but Bass can’t create effectively 1-on-1 and I haven’t seen Bradley post-up. So off the top of my head, I can’t think of another team that fits that category. I get what you’re saying. We do have some incredible versatility.

  43. Soooo….the Lakers have a PG who just outplayed DWill, Tony Parker, and who played even with CP3 all in the last week. Hmmmm

  44. Snoopy,
    Exactly… I would really like to know the last team that had five guys who could get their own shot. I’m thinking the 80′s Celtics… But could Danny Ange really get his own shot as well as Artest? He was really more of a spot up shooter/slasher. And what team had four starters who could post up? Let’s really think about this guys. This team can’t be the first of its kind can it?

  45. Aaron: those early 2000 portland team had 5 guys. And Memphis reminds me of those teams.

  46. Kevin,
    Yessss. That Portland team. Good call. Who started for that team? Didn’t Dale Davis start and pay the majority of minutes at PF? (guy who couldn’t create his own shot).

  47. Aaron: Dale may have started. They would put stoudemire, pippen, smith, wallace, sabonis on the floor and would kill the lakers. not to mention bonzi wells would come in and ball too.

  48. Kevin,
    Whoops. I’m wrong. Wallace started. Haha. How did I forget about him? They had Davis and Grant off the bench along with Bonzi Welles. Wow. What a deep team. So the only question is if Steve Smith and Scottie Pippen could still generate their own offense. I’m saying Steve Smith could not. So this Lakers team still stands alone.

  49. Aaron: Smith would light Fox and kobe up from deep. Those lakers-portland series/games were epic. Kings, portland, spurs were must watch series and hard fought battles. lakers need another one of those matchups it may be dallas or okc.

  50. Kevin,
    Yes… He was a fat spot up shooter. But this was his last or second to last season in the NBA. At this time I don’t think he was ever creating his own offense. He was a stand still spot up shooter for them. He was like 36 years old right?

  51. Aaron: creating offense may not have been his he was a solid player at that age. That starting 5 gave the Lakers fits.

  52. A couple of weeks ago I made a comment that the Spurs did not concern me very much, but I had to qualify that sentiment with the fact that I hadn’t seen much of them this year.

    One game is not a large enough sample size to draw major conclusions, but what I saw last night confirmed my suspicions about the Spurs: they will not be any sort of problem for the Lakers. The Spurs are nothing but a perimeter team. They have no inside game whatsoever, with the only exception being penetration by Tony Parker.

    Well, if the Lakers are going to defend the PnR as well as they did last night, the Spurs will spend 4 playoff games shooting 3′s, with nothing inside. They might steal a game with an historic shooting exhibition (although 13 of 24 last night was pretty great), but there is just no way that the Spurs can beat this Lakers squad.

    I wasn’t overly impressed with San Antonio before last night, and after that game I think there are probably at least 4 other teams that would match up better against the Lakers than the Spurs. Dream matchup now: 1st round v Dallas, 2nd round v Spurs, conference finals v Memphis/OKC.