Lakers/Spurs: On The Wrong End Of A Revenge Game

Darius Soriano —  April 17, 2012

The Lakers had their hats handed to them by the Spurs, losing 112-91. After the game, Tony Parker said that he and his team were particularly motivated after being embarrassed in San Antonio last week and wanted to make up for it tonight. Well, mission accomplished Tony.

Tonight’s game really was an example of two things. First, is that outlier games happen. Last week the Lakers trounced the Spurs on all levels, nearly doubling their rebound count while nearly every major player on their roster played terribly. Some of what the Lakers did that night was repeatable – like their effort on D and their game plan on O – but the poor performances from Parker and Ginobili specifically likely weren’t to be duplicated. Tonight, Parker was as amazing as he was awful last week, scoring 29 points on an array of jumpers and open court forays to the rim created by sloppy Laker play. When you add his points to his 13 assists, you have a night that’s beyond even his own high standard of strong play. So, while Parker wasn’t going to stink up the joint again tonight, it’s doubtful he’ll be this amazing consistently against any opponent. (This isn’t to discount Parker, either. He really was great and deserves all the accolades he’s bound to receive for playing so well. I’m just saying if he could get 29 and 13 each night, he probably would. Tonight he was beyond special.)

Second, people often stress late game performances as the key to winning or as more important than other parts of the contest. But in reality, games can be lost at any point. In the 2nd quarter the Spurs went on an 18-0 run with the Lakers turning the ball over on 5 straight possessions at one point. That stretch effectively lost the game for the Lakers as a 2 point Laker lead was turned into a 16 point deficit in the blink of an eye. When you consider that the final difference in the game was 21 points, those 18 straight loom rather large. So while we often worry about late game performance (and, to be fair, there’s good reason for that), it’s also important to remember that it’s what a team does during the rest of the contest that makes those moments matter. Tonight, the Spurs dominated the Lakers in the 2nd quarter and never looked back.

Ultimately, this game is a tough loss for a variety of reasons. The Lakers are now tied in the loss column with the Clippers and will be in a dog fight for the final week trying to hold on to their #3 seed. The built up confidence from winning without Kobe has also been dented as this wasn’t just a loss but a shellacking. But, ultimately, the Lakers still control their own destiny and will just need to get back on track. Luckily, this loss won’t linger for too long as they face the Warriors tomorrow night. Sometimes it’s better to just tip your cap to the other team and move on, and that’s what the Lakers get to do after this one.

Darius Soriano

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26 responses to Lakers/Spurs: On The Wrong End Of A Revenge Game

  1. Sessions needs to take care of the ball. He has at least one of those “what were you thinking” turnovers a game.

    Pau on the block more would help the team with pace on offense and execution. He won’t rush things and will pick apart defenses.

    PnR defense should improve. Too bad starters will have to play big minutes tomorrow.

  2. Oxemoron

    Mike Brown

    Comedy of errors.

  3. Lakers had 20 turnovers this time around, that surely made a difference. Rebounding was even (at 37). Lakers shot well (48%), Spurs even better (~60%).

    This was supposed to be one of those games where Bynum comes out beastin’ and proves his worth to all the haters. He didn’t really do that. Duncan was more efficient than Bynum tonight. This is a game that I thought Bynum should have dominated… Comes to show you how Kobe is really missed (we could have used him in that horrid second quarter) and how Bynum still has ways to go.

  4. Let them play the games, we enjoy the journey. It’s a refrain I’ve heard thousands of times from the originators of this site, but the character of this blog has steadily changed to sole and focused concern for our champion-worthiness. It’s almost as though most of the posters would rather watch 7 possible finals games of basketball and only if the Lakers are featured as their victors, forgetting the rest of the season as a source of enjoyment or fascination.

  5. I was watching the game in the 2nd qtr and noticed that both Blake and Sessions were in the game. Remembering both my eyes and what the stats say, I went “oh no!”

    I was correct in my fear. If I was one of the people questioning Mike Brown at the end of the game, I would ask, “What part of…this tandem doesn’t work against average teams…do you not understand?”

    Mike Brown – you are going into the playoffs, where the teams are better and they do a better job of adjusting to your moves. How – exactly – do you think this tandem will function, when you have been unsuccessful with it during the latter half of the season?

    Fortunately, for me, when the Lakers started to implode, I turned off the TV and saved myself some pain.

  6. This game was a blow out at the 2nd quarter mark and the box score shows 4 minutes for Hill and Morris with a DNP for GLock. …And there’s a game Wednesday game?

  7. @Ko #4 Who are you calling an Ox and a Moron? Kidding aside, MB should stick to his 8-9 man rotation of Bynum, Pau, MWP, Ebanks, Sessions, with Blake, Barnes and Mcbob coming off the bench. If kobe comes back then the rotation could be within 9 players but in no way should he allow Sessions and Blake play at the same time.

  8. Kareem,

    The lectures and complaints about the “decline” of FBG were old news in pre-season.

    And one more time: the Lakers are a veteran team with a massive payroll. A team like that is going to be evaluated on whether it is a contender. People can do that evaluation and still “enjoy the journey” in their own way.

  9. I haven’t read the comments from the previous post, so forgive me if I’m repeating what was already written there…
    On the bright side, this should end all the “the Lakers are better without Kobe” talk.

  10. 1/2decalf1/2regular,
    “Agree that was the ballgame. Game was actually tied 41-41 with 5 min left in second till everything t I believe this run was also fueled with Blake”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. As I’ve been saying for a while… It doesmt matter if Blake can have a couple games where he makes a few threes. His job is to be the PG… That’s something he has never been asked to do his entire high school, college, and NBA career. He isn’t a true PG. the Lakers offense just changes completley when Blake comes in. So many turnovers and so little ball movement. Again… Not his fault… He isn’t a true PG. And Darius Morris looks like an NBA PG. The guy is 6-4 and built like a young Chauncy Billups. This guy needs at least one game before the playoffs to show off what he can do. I would say there is a very high chance he is RIGHT NOW better than Steve Blake just by using the eye test.

  11. “But in reality, games can be lost at any point. In the 2nd quarter the Spurs went on an 18-0 run with the Lakers turning the ball over on 5 straight possessions at one point.”

    That’s when I turned the TV off (didn’t want my kid to see that).

    Bynum needs to concentrate on Defense, not on Offense. 30 blocks is better than 30 points (coming from him).

    And MB needs to coach the D-League. No adjustments, bad TO calls, no GLock…Not even on garbagge time?

  12. I normally don’t get too much into X’s and O’s on here…and I won’t now. I’ll point out something very simple. The Spurs played Bynum like he was Shaq. They stopped doubling him hard on the catch at home. That was the strategy used against Shaq for over a decade. If you were playing Shaq at home you would double hard on the catch and force his teammates to make plays on the road. If you were playing Shaq on the road… You would play him exactly how the Spurs played Bynum on the road last night. They didn’t want Bynums teammates taking open shots at home all night. Too easy. Instead they waited till Bynum put the ball on the floor to send extra defenders. This way if Bynum is in the paint he is forced to shoot contested shots over at least a couple of defenders or risk passing out and taking on plenty of three second violations. Now with Shaq this was a great strategy because he wasn’t a great shooter. The goal was to make sure he wasnt dunking on you and if you held him to 8 foot jump hooks over a couple defenders he wouldn’t connect for a high percentage very often. With Bynum you are more limiting the damage. He has great touch on a variety of shots so best case scenerio he will shoot around fifty percent like he did last night. Having said that… Bynum has shown he is a quick learner… And it probably was a great thing Drew faced this kind of defense before the playoffs started. He will learn when he can pass out of those soft doubles without picking up three second calls and also will find the proper angles to attack offensivley when appropriate.

    This potentially can be an almost perfect team. Our starting lineup is now basically perfection. Everyone though has long pointed to the 7th and 8th spots in the rotation (Blake & McBob) as the weak links of the team. We know for a fact based on the last three years that Jordan Hill is a good back up PF using every statistical meassure known to basketball. Now… We don’t know who Darius Morris is statistically as he has never played in the NBA. But again… Just on the Aaron eye test he looks like at worst right now he is a below average NBA back up PG. That makes him a step up over Steve Blake who statistically is the worst back up PG in the league (Fisher is playing back up SG). This team has all the tools. But will the builder (Mike Brown) use them?

    Kareem,
    Exactly. People need to enjoy the great talent the Lakers have and enjoy this great basketball. Not every game can end in a W.

  13. @ #5, JP & #10, PJ: No one says the Lakers are better w/o Kobe. You do have a number of people stating the Lakers w/o Kobe are a lot better than many though they would be based on their production when Kobe is playing. There is a difference. At the same time unless you guys have a very bad case of selective memory, I remember games in which the Lakers were blown out with Kobe playing.

    But don’t worry, Kobe returns next game. After the Lakers went 3-1 w/o Kobe, I felt he wouldn’t return until after a loss.

    Bottom line: the Lakers went 4-2 w/o Kobe, including a 4 game win streak. Who wouldn’t have signed up for that before hand if you heard Kobe would miss six games? Exactly. Welcome back Kobe, your boys held it down.

  14. Sometimes it’s better to just tip your cap to the other team and move on …
    ————–
    Exactly.

    On another note:

    RS7 on Offense is definitely an Asset.
    RS7 on Defense is definitely a Liability.

    This HAS to change, and obviously, the sooner the better.

  15. Lakers are the contender not resting guys. Concede the 3rd seed and give Pau, Drew, Ron a night off.

  16. Gluck was not on the bench or in uniform according to reports. That’s why he didn’t play.

    Yep, Brown had nothing to do with Lakers going 4-1 and winning at SA last week. But it’s his fault they lost last night.

    The extremes and examples used to judge him are ridiculous. He’s not the perfect coach but he’s not complete trash either.

  17. Did anyone else notice how sloppy the entry passes were to Bynum this game? I will admit, his footwork and execution was not on par with what it’s been lately but it just seemed that he was thrown into a funk because he just couldn’t get a decent pass at a decent position 80% of the time…

    This also goes back to “Old Bynum” where his defense and rebounding only translates to his offensive production. There was just no protection of the rim last night.

    Lastly, I like Ramon Sessions but he needs to learn how to fight over a pick. It kills me watching him play pick and role defense every time.

  18. 3 opnions:

    1. having 2PG of blake/sessions on the floor makes the offense more 1dimensional

    2. a lot of those 2Q turnovers were clumsy/forced entry passes to bynum due to point 1

    3. would it have been crazy to switch RS7 off and have MWP cover Parker when he got hot? he got 5 fouls anyways, why not use them up trying to slow parker down?

  19. chownoir,

    ESPN Box had GLock as a DNP. I didn’t see the game.

    The box by quarter says the Spurs destroyed the 2nd and won the 3rd handily. Whereas Brown’s middle name might not be Mephisto, I don’t see what value that extra beat down time could have benefitted the people who are already in rotation.

  20. i’m bewildered by the 2nd unit’s play calling. what happened to the sessions/gasol pick and pop? it’s a safe, reliable play.

    i hope the spurs actually taught the lakers a lesson last night. if the lakers are sloppy on the offensive end, they are going to be destroyed in transition by teams like memphis and okc.

  21. Darius: “but the poor performances from Parker and Ginobili specifically likely weren’t to be duplicated”

    Agreed, (and this is not directed at you specifically) it is also true (as pointed out prior to the game), that MWP’s recent offensive explosion, Pau’s 3 pointers, + the Barnes 3 game burst are also unlikely “to be duplicated”.

  22. Robert,
    Except history says this is who MWP is when healthy. Pau Gasol isn’t shooting 40 percent from three or anything. He can make a couple clutch threes. He has done it his entire career.

  23. kareem @6: I am not sure why this board needs to constantly re-visit this issue. We root for the team in different ways as rr points out. We also have different levels of expectation (or entitlement if you will). That said, the journey is different depending on your point of view. We can disagree and discuss + that is part of the fun of this site. We can also tolerate all points of view. Being an optimist is no more correct than being a pessimist. That is unless you are at the game, in which case, you better be cheering without regard to how you feel : ) We could use more people cheering at the library known as the Staples Center.

  24. i definitely agree on the lousy entry passes to bynum and the inability of mike brown to make adjustments mid-game. Pau, Blake and Sessions all struggled at times to get the ball to Bynum, who had some really nice footwork on a couple offensive plays through the 2nd q. metta getting 3 fouls hurt the defensive intensity. the mistakes seemed to be correctable.

    Then again, prior to this 5 games, the lakers could play well for 1,2, or 3 quarters and then falter.

    I hope on friday the spurs play again at full strength. that will be an interesting game. (if kobe plays sunday, and i hope he does, that should be a good one too).

    never dull with the lakers!

  25. Robert, rr,

    My post was following a poster whose contribution was “Lakers suck.” This poster and others take up a lot of space complaining about how much Mike Brown sucks, how much the squad sucks, how much Kobe sucks, how much Bynum sucks, how much MWP sucks, how much Session sucks, how much Pau sucks, how much Murphy and McBob suck, how much Blake sucks, etc. etc. etc. You’d think we’re rooting for the Charlotte Bobcats with the whining-tone of most posts on the site now.

    I find it tickling both of you are reacting to my comment, because it was directed at neither of you. At all. My issue is that the focus of a lot of conversation on this board has shifted from the game to the team, and why do I keep bringing it up? Because I want to influence the tone and type of conversation in a community I participate in. And I imagine people like Darius (who can speak for himself) don’t like doing much policing to begin with. I’m sorry you’re tired of it. I’ll explain it once finally, and then I’ll be quiet about it, just for you two.

    I am neither an optimist, or a pessimist. I like basketball, and good basketball, and the potential of good basketball, and the personality of basketball. Last year during the Dallas series, I watched every minute (waking up at 4 in the morning my time to view the games). After the final buzzer on our season sounded, I made a cup of coffee and went on to enjoy the day, sad I would have to wait so long to watch good basketball again. I guess this is my way of fandom, and I don’t care to fault yours. But this forum has always been a space I enjoyed because there are people here who enjoy basketball as much as I do. When Darius writes, it’s obvious he loves the game. When Dude writes or Emile writes, its obvious they love the game (as well as the rest of the writers). Hell, even when Aaron writes with all his condescension, its still obvious he loves the game. What I feel has been lost is the exuberant and intelligent fandom in riding the roller coaster that is a sporting contest in Naismith’s game, and its been replaced with dourness over our team’s chances this year. Chances, shamnses!

  26. Well written, Kareem. I agree with you. Here’s to more exuberant and intelligent fandom!