Lakers/Spurs: Outdone At The End

Darius Soriano —  November 13, 2012

There’s lots of good to takeaway from this game, even though the Lakers fell 84-82.

The team played hard and showed a fire on the defensive side of the ball that’s been lacking for most of this season. They held the high octane Spurs to only 84 points and 38.9% shooting from the field. They also controlled the glass again, out-rebounding San Antonio by 10 (with their 13 offensive boards being a key reason why). They also did a good job of keeping their composure throughout a game that saw the Spurs make their fair share of runs, only for the Lakers to counter with their own to ensure they never lost separation.

But these things simply weren’t enough. Because when the Lakers needed to hit the key shot or get the key stop, they simply couldn’t do it. This was evidenced by the last two plays of the game.

With the Lakers up by one with 19 seconds left, the Spurs ran a fantastic set to get Danny Green open. Parker set up high, hit Duncan with a pass at the top of the key and then Timmy handed the ball off to Kawhi Leonard. After that he set a down screen on Kobe to free Danny Green who opened up at the three point line to hit the game winning shot.

On the other end of the floor the Lakers final set was disjoined and didn’t produce any kind of clean action. Kobe tried to break open but couldn’t and that led to Ron inbounding to Pau in the corner. Kobe tried to break free again — and did momentarily — but Pau didn’t risk the pass and instead found himself holding the ball with the clock winding down. At that point he had little choice but to fire away and his shot clanged off the rim with a scrum for the rebound eating away the remaining seconds.

Kobe remains brilliant on offense and the team continues to get good shots within their sets but the lack of outside shooting doomed them again tonight. With the Lakers wings not able to hit their jumpers, Dwight Howard got swarmed in the paint and ended up committing 6 turnovers as extra defenders reached in and pestered him into mistakes. And while Kobe tried to make up for it with his individual prowess, it simply wasn’t enough.

If there’s one player we need to see more from it’s Pau Gasol. The Spaniard didn’t do a great job with the touches he got tonight (3-10 shooting) but I’m also concerned about him not getting more touches when he’s playing with the bench. When Pau is paired with Dwight he’ll often spend time at the elbow (or higher) spacing the floor and acting as a distributor. But when he’s in the game as the lone offensive big, he needs the ball in the post and too often against the Spurs he found himself frozen out of possessions as the wings over-dribbled and passed the ball around the perimeter hunting their own looks. Pau’s shot chart tells a lot of the story as to why he struggled some tonight:

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That’s not nearly enough shots in the paint for Gasol, not tonight. Not on any night. Granted, he could do better establishing the post but the team needs to actively set up possessions to get him the ball down there as well.

In any event, that was only one issue on the night. The Lakers also committed too many turnovers (17) and again struggled at the foul line (14-22). If they clean up either one of those areas, the game probably doesn’t come down to the final possession.

All that said, this is a game the team can build on. The effort they showed tonight on the defensive side of the ball needs to be the new norm for them. If they can defend this well and improve in a few areas on offense (where they’ve actually been very efficient this year and are adding a head coach that should inspire more production on that end) they’ll be the team we all imagined they could be.

So in that respect, there are some positives. I’d still like to have these building block games be wins, however.

Darius Soriano

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35 responses to Lakers/Spurs: Outdone At The End

  1. Kind of weird, bringing up Pau shot chart yet not a mention of another 4 for 14 with 2nd most shots for Metta. Pau may gave a off game here and there but Artest/Metta his had 10 to 1 bad then good.

  2. The way I see it this was a very winnable game and with more time we could easily handle this team.

    Splitter flopped which might have given Howard an offensive rebound with like 40 secs left in the game and I would say throughout the game we gave away 7 possessions simply by being too aggressive with each other on the defensive boards which lead to some weird turnovers as our guys were fighting with each other for possesion.

    Morris had a great game – except for the one airball he played awesome defense, picked up the pace of the team, and gave the ball to the guys who lead the offense which is all we really want from him.

    I didnt like the extra large lineup that we saw at the end and im guessing we wont see that again – would have liked morris in there instead.

    Lineups in the 2nd and 3rd quarters were a bit off and I thought Bernie let the subs play too long for each stretch.

    Meeks should be in a lineup with Kobe at the SF or Metta at the SF not Jamsion as then either the 1 or 3 can handle the ball and he can stay in as a spot up shooter instead of forcing him to be a dribbler which he isint.

    Metta had a Metta game – yeah he missed shots but he also made some big shots and this will be what we can expect from him and im fine with that.

    Pau – something was off with him – too many time he was in the post with a much smaller defender on him and he did not take advantage and passed out to the perimeter – he needs to take advantage of those plays.

    Refs- The refs were also fairly bad in this game – lots of calls went the spurs way, spurs were rewarded for flopping and there were a lot of non calls on dwight that should have been called.

    Dwight needed to be in more PnR sets – I thought his picks were a bit lazy tonight – also needs to stop bringing the ball down so often in the post as that is what caused a lot of hiss turnovers and is the MO on defending howard in the paint.

  3. Good game and good recap but again most important statistic is FGA.90 for Spurs 74 Lakers.This cannot continue as it is.
    All last shots sets should be drawn towards, Kobe best finisher in the game, no matter what hater Henry Abbotts will say.Come on BB!
    Metta thinks he is Kevin Martin or something.

  4. I didnt realize that Metta was this much of a chucker _ brutal, too many threes and a lot of shots rushed.

  5. Ron is not Kobe and shouldn’t continue to shoot like Kobe. Even Kobe has toned down his ill-advised over-dribbling and over-shooting. One problem is that Ron is at the end of the passes and a shot needs to be made and one problem is that Ron actually has too much confidence in his own shooting to pass quickly elsewhere. When you compound this with the fact that the Lakers need him in there for his defense, the only solution would be for a coach to get through to him that his job, primarily, is to defend. If a player passes to Ron it should be early in the clock and he should be prepared to pass it on. Ron’s shooting percentage over the last several years does not dictate that he be a volume shooter.

  6. Ko,
    Yes, Ron had another bad shooting night. Funny thing is, he just came off a fantastic game against the Kings. So, what I’d really like is more consistency rather than these extreme poles of production.

    That said, with Ebanks inactive, the Lakers have little depth on the wing behind him. Either Ron plays his normal slate of minutes or Kobe plays 40+ with Meeks playing more. Tonight, though, Meeks was also bad in that he couldn’t hit a shot and seemed to lose the handle on his dribble every other time he touched the ball.

    As an aside, I can live with some poor shooting nights from Pau. I showed his shot chart as a visual to explain that he needs more touches in the paint rather than ones around the elbow and the shallow wing.

  7. I see some consistent problems. They are correctable, but the more consistent they become, they become on-going qualities of our team, and not just anomalies:
    1) Turnovers: LAL 17 SAS 8 (DH had 6 TO) We are last in the entire NBA in turnovers and second to last in forcing turnovers. That is hard to do.
    2) Bench: We did not get crushed tonight, in fact we only lost the bench scoring stat by 2 points. However, we really have no scoring spark. We are 2-6 in the bench scoring stat this year.
    3) Free Throws: The Spurs typically spot teams at least 5 points or more per game due to their FT%. Not us however. We are 28th in FT%

    So, in summary, we are 30th in turning the ball over, 29th in forcing turnovers, 28th on FT%, and we could have the worst scoring bench in the league. There are some positives to take away, however 5 losses in our first 8 games is the start of a hole that will be hard to get out of if we don’t stop digging.

  8. what a climax!!! the game against Spurs tested the personnel that the Lakers have right now.. We could have win the game if it went the other game…That 3 point shot at the right wing ny Green is heartbreaker to all Laker fans, we could have turn the tide if Pau connects on the last 5 seconds of the game…we’ll it is not for the Lakers….Many things to consider: we almost beat SA with this current lineup….we loss becase of two glaring things..Turnover (15 for LA; 7 for SA), and FGA (90 FGA for SA, only 74 for LA). those two statistical category impacted the outcome of the game,,,.If Nash and coach Mike DAntoni is there we could hae v turn the tide…Another thing that stand the most is Daruis Morris, we can his defense against Tony Parker is above average compare when Meta & Duhon..Maybe if Nash & coach Mike DAntoni, they will let Darius Morris play the second PG ( but we all know, seniority comes in the NBA)…we almost win, but it is for SA….go LAkers!!!

  9. I was at this game. Entertaining but a deflating ending. I agree that Pau needs more post touches but i’d like to see him get them with Dwight on the floor. When the Lakers play Pau or Dwight with the reserves they’re brutal offensively due to lack of spacing and shooting. When Dwight and Pau were in the game together Dwight was in the post the whole time and Pau was coming out to the key to set picks and I feel like the Lakers need to reverse that set up from time to time if not all the time. Pau is a threat as a pick and pop option but Dwight is devastating with the pick and roll. Dwight is effective but awkward on the block while Pau is as skilled as anyone in the league. Dwight’s probably not in good enough shape to pull this of for a whole game but I think it may be a better fit than having pau at the elbow the whole game. Pau’s 7’1. He’s a center and he towers over Dwight. defensively it makes sense to a certain extent. Pau is good defending the post but struggles defending athletic power forwards who can shoot from outside and put the ball on the floor. dwight can cover any one( although at center he can cover up the Laker’s other holes).
    I have more thoughts on the game here:
    http://4hoopsheads.com/articles/for-old-time-s-sake-lakers-vs-spurs-in-person–2

  10. One look at the box score revealed a hard truth to me. The Spurs have a reliable bench and the Lakers don’t. A huge difference in minutes played by the starters of the 2 teams shows the difference. The Lakers have got to get some production from their bench on a consistent basis. If they don’t, this season will amount to “much ado about nothing.”

    I’m glad to see the requisite intensity on defense. I’d love to see more out of Pau and Metta. Pau looks downright wimpy on a lot of nights. But, at least I’ve figured out how World Peace got his first name…he never Metta a shot he didn’t like! Ouch!

    This game served as a good measuring stick to evaluate the Lakers.
    The Spurs won this game because they know each other thoroughly. If the Lakers can reach that type of continuity and teamwork, they’ll be a very tough team to deal with.

  11. great game.. playoff kind of game in November.. I like what I am seeing.. though a win would have been gravy…

  12. I can understand people pointing at MWP but people did pass him the ball at the end of plenty of possessions because he was wide open. Being the Spurs, that was by design, but still he has to shoot the open ones otherwise there’s no point him being out there. Problem is, he is never going to be consistent…

  13. The Lakers ROCK. Finally this team is starting to look like an NBA-team.

    Didn’t see the game yet. How was the new starting PG perform? I am glad to read that
    Shaun liked his game, how did the rest of you see his performance? Could be a very important development, if he can deliver some solid playmaking and above average defense at the one.

  14. How about Sacre getting jiggy in the 4th. Freaking hilarious. I think he was trying to do the Batista bomb taunt or something.

  15. Missed the game tonight, but flipped to it on ESPN.com’s GameWatchViewerThing. Was very confused at the end when the top score said 84-82 Spurs after the Green three while the play-by-play showed 84-84 for the score at the buzzer. I was very sad when Darius and Kevin Ding confirmed on Twitter that the top score was correct.

  16. Darius

    Didn’t get to see last 2 games(one bad about TW deal finding game when out of town) but it sounds like smart coaches will do what Boris mentioned above. Guard 5 on 4 leaving Metta open. That could be in issue. Can only hope Jamison or even moving Kobe to the 3 is a option. Scouts will pick up and we will see Metta bricking away. Tough to win against quality teams 5 on 4.

  17. mwp played some decent d on parker. some of mwp’s shots were bad, but a few times you could tell no one was going to step up. the pg situation is not great when blake and nash are injured.

    kobe’s lackluster defense is what gave green a wide open shot. kobe played a great game, but that was a huge mistake. Howard looked winded a few times out there. And I was surprised how many balls were knocked out of his hands.

    and i don’t know how happy kobe is with howard’s play. there was some barking by kobe at howard during a 2q time out.

    clearly the lakers are talented, but you need a coach who can guide a team during the last minutes of a tight game. poppovich ran a great play. then the lakers couldn’t counter. It’s too bad because the lakers were in the driver’s seat most of the night.

  18. I agree that Pau needs to get more touches inside, particularly with the second unit. I further would argue that our 3rd and 4th string point guards were a travesty and an abomination when it came to initiating the offense and didn’t seem capable of making a post entry pass to save their children from dire torture.

    But some of Pau’s lack of touches are on him too. He needs to fight for better position, call for the ball, and otherwise help out the process of getting him the ball in his spots. Look at how hard Kobe works to get the ball where he wants it. Dwight is the same way. He doesn’t always get the ball, but he works to get good position and seal his man so that it is easier to get him the ball better than any big man I’ve seen on the Lakers in a long time.

    I remember last year there were often complaints about Bynum not getting the ball enough and not getting enough touches, and it was for much the same reasons. Part of it was point guard ineptness, but part of it was also lack of hustle and effort on his own part. He wouldn’t run hard down the court to establish early low post position, would jog around rather than making hard cuts on plays like pick and rolls, etc.

    Frankly, I seldom see Gasol playing with true fire out on the court. A few years ago, he appeared to have shed his “Gasoft” nickname against Dwight in the finals, but since then I would argue he’s earned it back again.

    I remember one play where Kobe had driven baseline and delivered an absolutely gorgeous pass to Pau in the middle of the paint as he was falling out of bounds. Gasol had it seven feet away and, instead of either shooting the short gimme jumper or even driving it to the hole with the defense out of position, immediately turned and kicked it out to to the perimeter again. To Duhon if I remember right.

    If a player isn’t playing with force and aggression, then he isn’t going to look good.

  19. Annoyed with 2 points from that game last night, Pau shouldn’t be attempting to even shoot 3′s. Another is MWP 14 FGM-A vs D12′s 9.

    I don’t care if MWP is wide open, he’s no Ray Allen to be shooting 5 more than D12. D12 is being under utilized.

  20. The good news is that there is an improvement of the Lakers in every game compared to the games of Mbrown. Well, Spurs are No 1 in the West while Lakers are playing without a Coach, no Nash and no Blake. Ebanks is gone and he’s a turnover player so there is really nothing great about the development of this young player. He’s a trade bait together with Clark and others.

    Well, game ended with a loss but you could see the defensive effort in muscling the Spurs offense especially on Parker/Ginobli, however SA have more good and reliable shooters on the perimeter than the Lakers. Gasol and Metta are 50-50 players on outside shots, I think Lakers will benefit more if they adjust their play inside the paint by mid jump shots or go for post plays. That’s the Laker advantage with the presence of Howard and Hill, anything near the basket, they could finish it. It was also the night where Morris and Meeks were weak offensively, Darius is inconsistent while Meeks was T/O proned. I hope they will improve in the run an gun offense under Mike D. I also want to see more on DJO, not only on garbage time but more minutes by competing with Duhon and Morris.

    Another good news, Lakers can retain their defensive know-how under D’Antoni’s offensive games. However, D’Antoni has to search for speed and continuous motion from Metta, Hill and Howard, they’re not the fast breaking crew who would outrun young opponents.

  21. When Ebanks is coming back?

  22. Magic Phil,
    From what I’ve read, this is the front office holding him out rather than the coaches making the decision to keep him inactive. I read a quote from Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times that essentially said the front office “doesn’t feel like (Ebanks) is ready to play basketball” at this time. Pretty sure they see this DUI as a lack of maturity and a major irresponsibility (as they should) on this part and that it translates to his ability to trusted on the floor.

  23. trianglefan: not sure if i’d call Kobe’s defense on that last play lackluster. I think he just chose the wrong way to move around Duncan’s screen.

  24. I am trying to remain positive, as I see many of you are. However, 3-5 is not a good start at all (obviously). We need to get one of the top two seeds in the west to have a “good” chance to win the West. I have published the stats on this several times, so please do not talk about: “as long as we are peaking in the playoffs”. You need both. You need to be peaking in the playoffs and you need a top seed, for home games and weaker opponents. If you do not have both of those you usually get ousted in the second round or earlier. Showing signs of life is great, but we need W’s in a big way ! Hopefully we get an MD boost starting this Friday. We need to win like 5 in a row, because we are road warriors in December.

  25. To add on to Roberts point, we’ve already lost 3 Home games. These are games that we can’t get back and just might come back to bite us in the a** somewhere down the line with regards to Homecourt Advantage in the ‘offs. Have to do a better job of protecting ‘our’ house.

  26. I’m wondering how much of MWP’s shooting struggles is related to the hand injury he suffered in preseason. Before he suffered that injury, he was draining everything……3 pointers, turnarounds, layups, you name it. Even shots that looked forced were going in. He looked like the Artest from Houston. His struggles started immediately after the injury and has continued since. He came into camp in great shape, and I have a feeling he is going to have a big year, despite his early struggles.

  27. Morris: Played great D and used his quickness effectively. He’s still not there yet though. He plays out of control a little too often and couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn last night, 0-5FG, 1-4FT.

    Metta: Open 3? Take it. On the block against a smaller defender? Take it. But he was definitely chucking a little too much last night though, a handful of his shots were ill-advised at best. If someone on the team is going to take ill-advised, contested shots, it should be Kobe, especially on a night where he went 12-19.

    Pau: He’ll shoot better most nights. Nearly all of his midrange shots were wide open. He absolutely needs to be featured on the block more often though, especially when he’s in with the second unit. No excuse for that.

    FGA’s: For those of you comparing our FGA’s to our opponents after every game, you have to remember to take free throws into account. Adjusting for free throws LA 85 – SA 95, not as bad. And if FGA’s are a defining factor for you, you’ve got to be ecstatic that D’Antoni is on his way, right?

    But holy crap, Kobe is playing out his mind right now! In his 17th season!? Deadly efficient.

  28. Thanks for the update, Darius.

    What a bummer!!!!

  29. Robert makes good points; 3-5, particularly with Kobe playing so well, is concerning.

    But I think Nash and D’Antoni will help a whole lot.

    That said, I hope Kupchak is exploring options to improve play at the 1 and the 3. Won’t be easy, but he should be looking into it.

  30. Ko, if you had watched the game rather just relying on the box score, you would have seen MWP’s brilliant defense down the stretch on Tony Parker, who was lighting us up until that point. No doubt MWP creates problems for us on offense and smarter teams will leave him open at the perimeter, but this is hardly in a vacuum and your suggestions for alternatives don’t account for what MWP brings to the table. I was at Staples and thought he was brilliant in the 4th Q.

  31. peter – I saw another replay and I don’t think kobe was playing as tight as he should have. It looks like he bumped into DH.

    Lil Pau – did you see Kobe yelling at DH during a timeout in the 2q? And I agree with you about MWP. His defense was pretty good.

    I do think that we got pretty lucky. Parker and Manu missed a few they would normally get. But our defense was impressive, save that crucial mistake by kobe.

  32. Through this young season only one player of LA’s “Big 4″ really looks the part. That would be Kobe Bean Bryant.

    Howard not only looks a step slow, he has little of that trade mark explosiveness. I know he is recovering still. But in the back of my mind I wonder if we will ever see the Dwight Howard Orlando had all those years. Funny thing about Dwight is without him leaping all over the place you realize just how small he really is for a center.

    Pau has looked lackluster so far. I just don’t expect breakout performances from him anymore. On most nights he looks disengaged. Even the nights where his numbers look good the eye test says he hasn’t impacted the game comparatively speaking.

    Nash gets a pass for his injury. But the net effect is still there. He is sorely missed on the floor.

    Kudos to Kobe for bringing it even in his 17th season. The man is a soldier. But at some point this thing needs to come together. My guess is this team’s identity will be set by the 20 game mark.

  33. Reading the comments here really drives home the importance of seeing the game versus relying on media accounts and stats.

    Thanks to DirecTV I contine to be shut out, and I “followed” the game on ESPN’s “gamecast” thing, and all I saw were the hellaciously bad stats for Darius Morris and MWP and figured those two guys totally cost the Lakers the game. Also mysterious (and frustrating) was DH12′s 9 total shots.

  34. I can’t believe people here would criticize Kobe’s defense on that green 3 pointer that won the game for SPURS… the Duncan down screen was perfectly executed… they designed that play to get green the space… Green just made the play, it went in.. no one can do anything about that. Do you even watch the game?

  35. http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/11/14/game-of-the-night-spurs-oust-lakers-with-a-great-play-at-the-end/

    Watch the video. Kobe’s clearly looking at the play and not staying close enough to green. He was cheating and he got caught when he turned his head and ran into DH.

    If he was closer to Green, he probably still would have got pinned by the screen, but would have recovered faster and maybe altered the shot.