Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Darius Soriano —  April 14, 2013 — 104 Comments

Records: Lakers 43-37 (8th in the West), Spurs 58-21 (2nd in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.8 (8th in the NBA), Spurs 106.5 (7th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.9 (19th in the NBA), Spurs 99.0 (3rd in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard
Spurs: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter, Tim Duncan
Injuries: Lakers: Kobe Bryant (out for the season), Steve Nash (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Spurs: Manu Ginobili (out), Boris Diaw (out)

Spurs Blogs: 48 Minutes of Hell is a great site. Give them a moment of your time.

Talking Points: The first game without Kobe Bryant will be a tough test for these Lakers. Steve Nash may or may not play, Metta World Peace (who may or may not start) is on the mend, and one of the best teams in the league is coming into Staples with something to play for. San Antonio has slipped behind the Thunder for the West’s top spot and, with either the reeling Lakers or the Jazz vying for the 8th spot, that number one seed has never looked nicer. The Spurs also have Tony Parker back in the fold to reek havoc on the Lakers’ now even more depleted backcourt. And while it’s nice to hear that Andrew Goudelock will be signed as another body to help, I doubt he does much in this game (and even if he does see time, he’s not exactly known for his defense).

That said, as disheartening as it is to think of a post-Kobe Lakers’ team, this is also a moment of opportunity. Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard have a chance to fill the leadership and production void. Fringe rotation players like Darius Morris, Chris Duhon, and Goudelock may get an opportunity to see minutes and they need to seize the moment and perform to the best of their abilities in them. Earlier this season Earl Clark was thrust into the rotation when injuries hit the players in front of him and he jumped on his chance to become a fixture in the lineup. No one can replace Kobe, but guys will get their chance to do more and this will be their chance to prove that they’re worthwhile players.

The ultimate focus, however, is about beating the Spurs. They’re a fantastic team who continue to marvel with their ability to play team basketball at an unbelievably high level. Even without Ginobili and Diaw, they have enough depth on their roster to win. Key to their attack is the Parker and Duncan combo and their ability to dictate offensive flow via the P&R and their weak side motion attack. If the Lakers are to win this game, they’ll need to find a way to slow down Parker while surrendering the types of shots to Duncan and the rest of the Spurs that aren’t the shots they initially seek.

Mostly that means keeping Parker out of the lane and having Duncan take jumpers from the top of the key while Leonard, Green, and Neal take contested jumpers from above the break of the three point line. The Spurs want to work the corners for three point shots for their wings and get Duncan working foul line down where he can use his still very effective post game to get good looks. While it’s impossible to keep these players from taking the shots they want for an entire game, forcing them to skew towards less desirable ones should be the top priority.

Offensively, the Lakers must work the offense through their big men as often as possible. Whether that’s through Pau at the elbows and the left block or Dwight through straight post ups, they need their touches in order to try and dictate the flow of the game. By going through the post, the Lakers can slow the tempo and, hopefully, get shots at the basket or draw fouls on Duncan and Splitter. Beyond those two the Spurs don’t have much worthwhile size to battle the Lakers’ bigs so getting either one out of the game would be a great way to accentuate one of the only advantages the Lakers have. (The flip-side, of course, is that Pau and Dwight both stay out of foul trouble in their own right. Dwight has been foul prone lately and that simply can’t happen today.)

The other key offensively is that the Lakers wings move the ball and hit what open shots they do get. The Spurs have improved a great deal offensively and part of that improvement has been their ability to funnel the action to their big men and not surrender open jumpers in the process. However, if the Lakers can do a good job of working the ball inside-out, attacking closeouts, and then making the extra pass off dribble penetration, they should get some good looks. Those shots — whether by Meeks, Blake, Ron, Clark, or Duhon — must be made at a consistent enough rate to keep the defense honest.

This game is sure to be emotional. The Lakers are without Kobe but are also still fighting for their playoff lives. A win tonight gets them one step closer to their goal of a post-season berth. And while that cloud of Kobe’s injury will hang over the team, they can hopefully channel that energy into a positive effort that allows them to compete at the highest level. After all, Kobe gave his all — ultimately falling to injury — trying to help this team get over the hump. They need to do everything they can to not just honor that, but to win for themselves.

Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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104 responses to Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. Dear Dwight,

    You have just been handed the keys. You signed here to be “the man.”

    Time to see what you got.


  2. Kobe Alert: Like most of us, I am hoping this is not the end, and I do not think it will be. However , I feel many are discounting the severity of this situation, only because we are talking about Kobe Bryant. He always gets up from the floor, he always plays with injuries, and he always comes back quickly. However, there is a reason it is called the “Achilles”, as it can bring down, an otherwise invincible warrior. If anyone can do this, Kobe is the one, but this mountain is high, and it is not clear exactly what will be on the other side.

    For me, this was just like the “Announcement”. It was sudden and unexpected, and I wake up every morning with a knot in my stomach. I have thought about something like this many times, but like many, I have been conditioned to the fact that it just doesn’t happen to Kobe. He ignores the pain, he wills his body back into the game. Recently, I knew KB was nearing the end of his career, and I actually used that as an added reason to see both home and away games. I had to listen to: “Who flys across the country just to see a basketball game?”, Answer = I do. The last time I had this conversation, I remember saying, “I don’t know how many times, I am going to get a chance to do this”. Watching today’s game is going to be painful. Yes – I am a Laker fan first, but that is exactly it, Kobe is the Lakers, just like Magic was during his era.

    The Kobe Alert has reported KB’s accomplishments. At this pause in his career, let’s review a few highlights of where he stands on the All Time Lists:

    Regular Season: Points: 4th, Thirty Point Games (419): 5th, Forty Point Games (120): 3rd, FGs: 6th: FTs: 3rd, 3 PT FGs: 12th, Steals: 15th, Assists: 32nd, Minutes played: 12th

    Playoffs: Points 3rd, Thirty Points Games (88): 2nd, Forty Point Games (13): Tied for 4th, FGs: 4th, FTs: 2nd, 3 PT FGs: 3rd, Steals: 5th, Assists: 7th, Minutes: 2nd, Games: 4th

    All Star: Points: 1st, FGs: 1st, 3 PT FGs: 3rd, Steals: 1st, Assists: 8th, Minutes: 2nd, Games: 2nd

    Awards: All Star Selections (15): Tied for Second: Named as Starter (15): 1st, All NBA Selections (14): Tied for 2nd, First Team All NBA (10): Tied for 2nd, All Defensive Team (12): Tied for 2nd, All Defense First Team (9): Tied for 1st. Top 5 in MVP Voting (10): Tied for 2nd

    Add to this his 7 Conference Championships, 5 NBA Titles, 2 Finals MVPs, and 1 League MVP, + that’s an impressive resume, belonging to one of the greatest of all time.

    Thanks to everyone who has supported the Kobe Alert these past 2 years, and thanks to R, PurpleBlood, Tra, Chearn, and Barath for your sentiments in the recent threads. I am hoping to write many more !

  3. Whether you are a Kobe disliker or a Kobe admirer – thanks Tra – the job today is to see how the others will step up. The middle won’t be as crowded, the ball probably won’t stick as much – talking at you MWP – and there won’t be anyone to play center-field on defense and also lose his man. No excuses – time for the team to man-up.

    We certainly won’t be better, but we can be good enough to get to the playoffs. At that point we will see what adjustments the coach and the players are able to make.

    Go Lakers!

  4. honestly, i didn’t even know achilles heels could be repaired. In Korean mafia traditions, you would often send somebody to cut the other guy’s Achilles tendon to ‘retire’ him from the field. Guess that was in the past.

    Also, anyone in the know tell me how the amnesty thing works? If Kobe comes back a full season afterwards, is he still subject to the bidding process or can he choose a team of his choice?

    I know Kobe probably wants to be back sometime during next season, but the more reasonable approach seems to be to rest the full season and come back after…

  5. I dont know i have a gut feeling the Lakers are going to win this game based on pure emotion. Its possible that they feed off that emotion at least for tonight. DWIGHT NEEDS TO STEP UP and Pau needs to be our finisher. If MDA stick to a 7 man rotation i will officially give up on him and pray that he gets fired. If i were him i throw everybody out there to play, nothing to lose by triying to win by comitee. No other choice. Nash wont play tonight either. So MDA needs to swallow his pride and live or die with the best frontline in the game. Time to man up.

  6. Like Darius said we need our wings to step up, having the best frontline in the game means nothing if our shooters dont hit their shots.

  7. Man, we’ve got to play, we don’t have time to wait for the offseason.

    We need to WIN the last 2 games, Kobe out, Nash too. I really don’t care. If we feel sorry for ourselves, there is nothing that we can do with it.

    Just stay positive and hopes everything will be okay soon.

    What a wound…

  8. Re amnesty – the lakers would potentially save 80 million next year if they amnesty Kobe.

    As a part of that they would also lose kobes bird rights which complicates things when it would come to signing him in 2014 as he would eat up a lot of our cap room depending on what we do – someone had mentioned that we would only be able to offer him 2.5million but I don’t think that’s accurate

  9. we still have 2 elite players…let them lead the way….

  10. The Lakers will morph into another team without Kobe. Players will grow. I know you might think this is crazy, but this might be the best thing to happen for the long run.

    A fast-forward button will push them into the future on a new path.

    An achilles tear is NOT the injury to come back from early, if it is even recoverable at all. I cannot imagine Kobe coming back next season at all and being recovered.

  11. Shaun, the Lakers will not amnesty Kobe, that would make sense if he was some overpaid player like say, Joe Johnson not a franchise cornerstone/global icon like Kobe Bryant, i know your answering a question but i cant believe people eat anything the media speculates. Im a Lakers fan first and foremost but if they were to do something so disgustinly disloyal to a player like Kobe especially when he went down like a soldier fighting for the team and franchise i would stop being a Laker fan forever im serious about that. The Lakers and the league in general are about money and what Kobe gets paid is peanuts compared to what he brings back to the league in revenue. A Kobe Bryant comeback/farewell/last hurrah tour would be a license to print money, even if he dont retire his comeback will bring butts in seats and millions and millions of dollars to the Lakers and the NBA. Kobe will retire as a Laker.

  12. I know the guy is probably saying these things ‘tongue in cheek’, but man D’Antoni really rubs me the wrong way.

    D’Antoni on Lakers life post-Kobe: “One of the problems (early this season) was we had so many alpha dogs.”

    D’Antoni’s response to Kobe’s tweet that he would call at halftime with adjustments: “I’ll be sure to turn my phone off.”

    Yeah- I know that the guy is joking, but damn.

    It’s gonna be really tough for me to watch the game tonight. After Magic retired, I had a really hard time watching the Lakers for quite a while until my expectations adjusted. Kobe will be back next year and it would be quite the surprise if it wasn’t by opening day.

    Great post Robert. I can’t wait to see those Kobe alerts start to change up a bit next year. 😉

  13. darius: as if the challenges weren’t enough without kobe bryant, do we give the lakers a pass since the guarantor is not able to play and thereby the guarantee to push thru to the playoffs is null and void? i think not. and from what we’re hearing, the spurs and the rockets will be hard pressed to gain victories against this new look lakers, sans kobe.

    the nba needs the lakers because we are and have been the frontruners (except for maybe one hiccup season) for over this past decade, moreover since the beginning of this century.

    have we been written off? have the odds fallen greatly? have we no chance in hell? yes would be the sane answer. but in this insane season, what are the odds that we turn this around and make a run beyond the imagination?

    we’ll find out, starting tonite vs them spurs from san antonio.

    Go Lakers.

  14. Robert, thanks for the Kobe Alert. I look forward to the day when those numbers start changing again. Just too bummed to post anything.

    Watching the game tonight will be very difficult, the only positive that I can find is that Kobe will be watching along with all of us: Screaming at the television.

    Let’s go Lakers!

  15. Wondering if this development will influence Ron’s desire to exercise his player option.

  16. Really to bad Nash is not feeling perfect. Need a shooter. Maybe he will be ready by summer time.

    Not Kobe like huh.

  17. Where is all of the ball movement? All I’ve seen is 1-on-1 plays by less talented offensive players than Kobe Bryant.

    One pass and a shot.

    No inside, outside or side to side movement of the basketball to make the defense do anything other than stand still.

  18. On the out of bounds play, Spurs lose sight of Howard who gets the ball and slams it home. Popovich calls time out and is not happy. GO LAKERS.

  19. wonderful post, KobeAlert today Robert
    Chearn-that´s right! KB´s screaming along with the rest of us here tonight! hadn´t occured to me..

  20. Meeks is just garbage . The guy can’t shoot and always losses his man. Bench the bum.

  21. Agreed, Ken. He has one job to do. Freakin make WIDE open 3’s!!!!! It’s that simple.

  22. Why is Pau out after 6 minutes? He is our best offensive player. Saving him for summer volleyball with Nash. Get the guy in there 45 minutes Mr, Clueless Coach.

  23. The coach (I won’t say his name again….ever) couldn’t play Morris 2-3 minutes a game all along. SMH.

    This is the most minutes Dwight has played in the first quarter all season.

  24. Pau needs to play 42 minutes…thus group can win if the coach doesn’t get in the way…

  25. Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t it look as if Duhon’s packed on a few.

  26. Horrible point guards. Turnovers will kill us once again.

  27. Duhon with another bad pass, this one easily picked off leading to a clear path foul. Lakers need to take care of the ball.

  28. Question: the Suns get our pick if we MAKE the playoffs or if we MISS the playoffs? Or is it no matter what? And isnt there a trade stip that someone (Chicago?) can swap picks with us? Is that for this year only or can roll into 2014? Forgive me, I’m just daydreaming about Kobe coming back in 2014-15 with Dwight and Andrew Wiggins… anyone who can clarify would be appreciated

  29. Seems like the old Pau is back. Could really use some offensive production from him…

  30. Looks like Steve Blake drank some Mamba blood tonight! We’d be getting crushed if not for him.

  31. Thank goodness for Blake’s shooting. Everyone else on the team is acting like they’ve never shot a basketball before, especially from 3. Geez.

  32. Steve Blake leading the Lakers, having a nice game. More Steve Blake, that felt strange saying that.

  33. yeah, blake´s making up for those 3 quick TOs alright
    way to go Steve!

  34. Cant believe this, Kobe is out, Nash out, people asking that MDA increase the rotation, check, that Morris get some burn, check and people still whine about the exact same things it gets really tiresome, i dont think this is the time for another whinefest 2013. Im rooting for the team and if it wasnt by Pau bad shooting the Lakers would be leading by 10, more than happy with the team play so far. They giving their all.

  35. If meeks could give us anything…..

  36. Thank goodness for Blake. Mette, Meeks and Pau are 2 for 16. Way to step up guys. Ops Make that 2. For 18 Meeks is just a loser.

  37. Fern- wasn’t saying we would, no would i want us too – Kobe is my hero – i started playing basketball as a 12yr old watching play as I player in high school amd now into normal life – just wanted to give some details

    As for our pick it goes to the suns if we miss the playoffs and it goes to the cavs if we make the playoffs – not sure how this effects our later drafts as we will still owe someone a pick + a second 1st rounder and a 2nd rounder to the suns at some point

  38. Valiant effort so far!

  39. Pau is looking great on defense he needs to get his offense going, he cant stop being agrresive, really pleased with the team effort.

  40. Goudelock should have played instead of chris duhon. theres no way he would have played worse.

  41. Good job…S.A.plays good D…Pau is going to score…the defense has been great…the team has enough players that kobe shouldn’t hsve been pkaying 47min. a game..

  42. Duhon – 3TOs in 4 min played

  43. Shaun i know you would not want that either, i was just adding my 2 cents to what you said

  44. just been following the game on gametracker, so i’m curious for anyone who’s watching. are the terrible shooting percentages for both teams a function of good defense, or just missed shots?

  45. The team is playing okay but the Spurs can be much better. I bet Pau misses getting an on time pass from Kobe in the high post set in the triple threat position with 2 feet of space. Lakers need a dominant 2nd half from Dwight can’t disappear after one quarter like he just did. This is a game Lakers can win but I don’t want to count on a career night from Blake rather put it in the franchise guy’s hands.

  46. Might be a good idea for Metta and Pau to make some shots. Being as this could be their next to last time in a Laker uniform.

    That 3 pointer at the end will come back to haunt them.

  47. Shaun even if we had retain those picks odds are that we would not get anything worth our while either this year draft is weak and even if the Lakers miss the playoffs and had those drafts there would not had amounted to much. The Lakers is a team that pretty rarely get something good out of the draft.Thats the price of sucess, we will reload on 2014.

  48. Blake s defense on parker is more impressive then his offense

  49. Ugly ugly game. Just hope we have more points than they do at the end. We need this game.

  50. Blake carrying us.

    Howard attacking like he should have been all career.

    Pau reverts to old form.

  51. Pau with the epic choke job. Here are your touches Pau.Well finally!!

  52. Jodie Bricks is horrible. Thank God Mike D finally took him out. Gasol 1-13??!

  53. wow, we’re actually giving spurs a fight. this is a good sign. bring home the W Lakers – for Kobe.
    in all honesty, i like the Kobe alert, thanks Robert for that. kind of reminisce of Kobe’s career, and i know some of the kobe bashers did not know how the guy started. he climbed a hell of a mountain to be the the Kobe that we know. he’s the epitome of greatness post-Jordan era.
    i know that he’s in the conversation with the greats, and in the last few years, while ESPN was feeding on others guys stats, our guy just keeps on playing, showing that you cannot change the game by mere stats alone – you have to show others your style of play, finesse and pride. The will to win to get that championship.
    Kobe is a warrior and i really pray for his fast recovery. it will not be easy due to the type of injury, and with his age, however if there’s a man who can overcome this, it definitely is the Kobe aka Black Mamba aka Vino.

  54. Is there some kind of Spanish All-Star game this summer? Pau must want to leave early for Spain. Worst gane of his career. This team is just terrible on offense without Kobe but then defense is better.

  55. they really need to change the rules to prevent hack-a-whomever. It makes for some terrible terrible basketball and I’d be pissed if I paid to see a game and had to watch someone shoot FTs for 5 minutes.

  56. Dwight has been the best Laker on the floor tonight. But 13 fga and 15 fta for only 20 pts won’t cut it. He does have 14 reb 2 stl and 3 blks. Lakers have to ride him and he has to deliver this game.

  57. Duhon and Morris 1-5 combined with 0 assists in 17 minutes and people wonder why MDA plays a short rotation.

  58. Instead of changing rules how aboutt changing coaches. Jordan for Clips never plays at end. That solves the problem. Pau is single handed blowing this game.

  59. an antawn sighting!

  60. Meeks finally makes a 3

  61. Really seeing some inspired basketball right now! Meeks, Jamison and Blake have all stepped up to contribute. It’s awesome to see!

  62. What a nice run Lakers! Yeah

  63. For everyone ragging on Meeks, look at his career stats, which are in line with this season:

    He’s not an elite three-point shooter, and never was. If you wanted him to be that, take it up with management.

  64. Nice fast break, Darius to MWP for the layup.

  65. Pau is playing great D and rebounding great….more to basketball then points

  66. In the prior two games in the last 3 minutes Dwight is 1 for 8 in FT. Is he going to show he is a clutch or choke?

  67. What Duncan is doing at his age is simply amazing.

  68. Diwght has played franchise player level tonight.

  69. S.A.not even playing parker….Gasol…16 rebounds 2 assists…3 blocks A higher plus/minus then Howard….hardly choking!!!


  71. Lakers win, if the Timberwolves beat the Jazz tomorrow the Lakers are in the playoffs.

  72. Oh my that missed duck by Metta almost cost me a TV.

    Great effort in spite of terrible offensive game by Pau. Amazing win.

  73. Gritty, gutsy, inspired play tonight from the whole team. Even Pau did everything he could to secure this win, even though there was a lid on the basket for him. One step closer to the second season!

  74. 23 points by Blake!Holy crap

  75. YES!! A gut-check win! One for Mamba, the organization and us crazy diehards!
    KB must be whooping it up!
    @KenOak, you´re spot on, Duncan is great

  76. So this is why the Lakers traded for Dwight. This is a glimpse of what the Lakers could be with Dwight leading and better pieces. It was more important for Dwight to step up than Pau himself. Huge gut check for him and his post game commers makes me believe he is staying. Wow what a night!!!

  77. Duncan and kobe are the same. They’re both tough old school warriors.

  78. Oh, and the Lakers need to somehow sneak into 7th to play the Spurs because this is a team that they can beat in the playoffs.

  79. Great game…guys like Meeks and Morris may not be the most skilled of players, but they played awfully hard. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Kudos to Dwight and Pau. Pau shot poorly but played well otherwise. Dwight showed his chops tonight. He is showing his true self. The man is capable.

  80. Man, nothing more to say.

    Played with heart, effort, played hard and good defense.

    Pau might be absent on offense but played defense tonight. Also Morris, Blake, Antawn hitting those 3’s.

    Of course, Dwight as the franchise player in a game we needed.

    I really don’t care if we will get sweep by OKC. We’ll be ready next season.

    Guys will give no props on MDA in this game. Thats for sure…

    I’ll give MDA hell of credit tonight and please, stop whining for just this game. sigh..

  81. Despite everything the Lakers have been through this season they will finish with a better record than the Celtics.

  82. Fern April 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm
    “So this is why the Lakers traded for Dwight.”

    Naw, wouldn’t you still rather have Drew on the team, sitting on the bench in a suit, with totally messed up hair? :0)

  83. Not sure if you guys caught this, but the Lakers still have an outside chance of catching both Golden State AND Houston, if either lose their remaining games. (LA would own the tiebreaker over both if they beat Houston on Wed). Games to watch are Houston @ Phoenix, and GS vs San Antonio and @ Portland.

  84. @Kenny T you are absolutely correct,and about Meeks he plays hard every single night its a mixed bag but thats why i dont rag on him like some do obsesively on this site. And Bizzard link and comments are spot on too.

  85. @R you missed my point. I guess thats all you read, the first sentence.

  86. Blizzard – good info.

    I think 6th seed is the lowest that’s ever won a title (2nd Houston Championship w Hakeem and Rudy T?).

    Hey, let me dream a little.

  87. Fern – just kidding around.

  88. I bleed purple and gold and I used to post on these forums a lot, but for the past year or two every time I check in I just see post after post of people hating on certain players with all kinds of hyperbole. And then when those same players do good things on the court, instead of giving credit where its due, they just find another player on the team to throw some hate at.

    Sorry for venting, I just think that when you support a team, you ought to support every player on that team, because not a single one of them is trying to lose the game. We don’t have any unlikable guys on the bench as far as I’m concerned. And today in the face of adversity the team had a huge grind-it-out win. The Lakers are one of the best, most proud franchises in the NBA. They deserve fans that support all the players, even when they’re struggling.

  89. Dwight stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park tonight. But what I (and I’m pretty sure several others) was surprised to see was SB out-playing Parker. Because of this, we were able to withstand a terrible shooting night by The Spaniard and still come away with the win.

    1 win and we’re in.

    Finally, Much Respect to, IMO, the Greatest Power Forward of all-time, Mr. Tim Duncan. It’s obvious that he still has a lot left in the tank.

  90. Dwight played very well and stepped up. Gasol is not alpha and I think he is going to continue to struggle with no Kobe in the lineup, things are just going to be harder for him.

  91. I really hope the Rockets lose tomorrow’s game and then the Lakers beat them on Wednesday to sneak into 7th versus SA in first round!

  92. I think Kurt Rambus said it best about Pau. He was forcing things to score. What he wasn’t doing was being the focal point to help assist others. Pau is not a #1, but he is a fantastic assist person who can score if left alone at all. When he trys to score first – to make up for the loss of Kobe – he often fails at both the scoring and the assists.

  93. Gasol played well. Reminded me of the 6-24 Kobe line in the finals where Kobe contributed with rebounds. We won, and now it’s Utah’s turn to just lose one.

  94. Good grief! This is the 2nd time in 24hrs I put something fairly innocuous up and it got tagged for review. I am not angry – but I am frustrated. I try to avoid words and phrases that might trigger something, but I do try to sound somewhat intelligent and not just throw things against the wall.

  95. Good Win and Good Night. Lakers need to win one more game. No one is gonna help the Lakers but themselves.

  96. Dwight Howard only smiled a couple times tonight. He sank freethrows during crunch time and he played like Dwight of old. Tonight he played with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

    I liked his post game interview, he looked like a man with work to do. I’d say he’s learned how to lead from the great Vino, by the tone of that interview. Not happy to have won that game, knowing that they still need to win the game against Houston.

    Steve Blake was the point guard but only had 4 assists and 4 turnovers and he’s a pg. Don’t get me wrong he played a phenomenal game on both sides of the floor, but Kobe would get raked over the coals for only 4 assists as a shooting guard.

    2nd year pg Morris showed he deserved playing time to develop this year. He was drafted 41st, plays decent defense, needs to work on his jumper but looks much more under control.

    Very good all around game by the Lakers.

    Just win! One more win to the post season.

  97. Please correct me if I am wrong:

    If Houston lost their 2 remaining games (@PHX @LAL), the Lakers could actually take the 7th spot? (series tied at 2-2. but Lakers have better conference and division record)

  98. Whatisheavenfor April 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    hhsammo, that would be correct. Furthermore, it is in the realm of possility that GS Warriors lose their next 2 games as well (against SAS and then @ POR) and have the Lakers position themselves as the 6th seed (barring they win their last game against HOU).

  99. I was at the game tonight. Pau had an awful shooting night, but he was working his a– off on the boards and to create shots from the post and almost every shot he took was a good shot that he normally would have made. If anything, he was pressing too much, trying too hard to take the mantle as the #1 option. I swear that some people on this board don’t even watch the game but just base their criticisms on the box score.

    This team, in the last 20 games, has impressed me with its passion and work ethic, whether that’s Dwight or Blake stepping up, or Jodie struggling but still making the extra defensive rotation. I really am growing tired of the incessant criticisms of the players who struggle on a given night– if they’re lazy it’s one thing, but if they’re working hard but missing shots, shouldn’t that be something different? Or is everyone supposed to shoot 80 percent from the field?

    Making the playoffs, with all that’s happened to us this year, should our version of the NBA championship. This season has been brutal – from the nixed CP3 trade, to the injuries to Dwight, Nash, Blake, Hill, Pau and finally Kobe – but I feel so proud to be a Lakers fan. This team is playing with championship intensity, despite a less than championship roster. You know what? I’m proud of these guys– we weren’t going to beat OKC even with a healthy Kobe, but I find this ending to the season to be so much more beautiful– like Rocky losing the fight but knowing he’s a winner because he went toe to toe with the champ and remained on his feet.

    The Lakers are dead. Long live the Lakers.

  100. @BlizzardOfOz – Carnivale reference? “Take it up with management…”

  101. Lil Pau

    Good post. I also was proud of how hard they worked.

    Think you meant the Lakers aren’t dead at the end.

  102. the other Stephen April 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    thanks for your comments, lil pau. i’m glad you went to the game.

  103. IMO, best scenario would be for Hou to win tomorrow and Gst losing thereby locking Houston at 6th seed. That way lakers should be able to beat Houston’s backups Wednesday night and if Gst loses to Portland that same night, lakers would move up to 7th and play the Spurs whom they’ve played relatively well against and match up best against.

  104. True..If Houston loses to Phoenix, we’ll play them for the 7th spot. Golden State could also lose their last 2, and end up tied with us and the Lakers would also win the tiebreak I think. But the GS scenario is unlikely. They play San Antonio and Portland. I expect SA to rest their stars since OKC pretty much have the top seed locked-up. Right now they are a win, or a SA loss away.

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