Lakers/Spurs: A Little Overwhelming

Rey Moralde —  April 24, 2013

Well, maybe not just a little.

But the San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 102-91, to take a 2-0 series lead in this best-of-seven.

It seemed like the disparity of talent showed in this game. It’s not like the Lakers played bad overall but you can see how much better the Spurs are. The Spurs were able to get a basket when they needed to and have a lot more firepower than this depleted Laker team. What’s even worse? Steve Blake (16 points), who had been basically carrying the Lakers in the past week or two, injured his hamstring late in the game. Yes, because what the Lakers need are more injuries.

On the positive side, it was nice to see Jordan Hill back on the court. Did Mike D’Antoni bring him in too late? Perhaps. But the guy just got back from an injury so I don’t blame Coach Mike D’Antoni taking it easy on him. It was also good to see Andrew Goudelock get some minutes and he probably should’ve been used earlier considering how the backcourt was so hobbled.

Also, this was the most energized Dwight Howard had looked this season. He was quick to rotate defensively and made some athletic putback dunks and rejections. Dwight had 16 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks but foul trouble limited his minutes.

It hurt to see Steve Nash out there. The 39-year-old looked more like he’s 89 years old out there and he was laboring. If anything, he seemed to hurt the team more by being out there but it took a lot of guts for him to get on the court. You gotta admire that.

It also wouldn’t hurt for them to get on the post more. They have Dwight and Pau Gasol (13 points, nine rebounds). The Lakers should use them more often. It was nice to see the 2-4-5 alley-oop play even without Kobe and I wonder if they should use that more often.

As for the Spurs, Tony Parker persevered through Steve Blake’s tough D and ended with 28 points. We knew he wasn’t going to be kept down for long. Tim Duncan was his usual brilliance with 16 points. Kawhi Leonard got it going for San Antonio with 16 points of his own. And Manu Ginobili with his herky-jerky movements and pull-up threes poured in 13 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Even Matt Bonner put in 10 points (the Red Rocket, Red Mamba, Red Rooster, whatever). Just too much firepower. When the Spurs made runs, the Lakers simply couldn’t counter.

I don’t have much to say at this point. They’ll be at the comforts of their own home on Friday and we know what the Lakers’ advantages are. So they should go to that more and often. But if Steve Blake isn’t going to play, who will fill in for him? Heck, who will be their third scorer?!

All year long, the Lakers haven’t belonged in a professional basketball league. They really should be in a hospital ward.

Game 3 will be on Friday. Let’s hope we get some good news out of Blake’s injury.

And lastly, I would’ve loved to see Kobe Bryant live-tweet the game. But instead, he probably ended up watching Pitch Perfect for the tenth time. I wouldn’t blame him. That’s way better than watching Game 2.

Rey Moralde

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41 responses to Lakers/Spurs: A Little Overwhelming

  1. There is no single reason for this loss – and the entire team really tried – but there just isn’t enough, nor has there been enough playing time together.

    With all the talent, I just can’t get too on-board with Pau Gasol. There is absolutely no question he has an extremely high bb-IQ. He is a pass-first power forward, to a fault, and I do mean a fault. However, his pension for passing first has resulted in his passing into traffic this year and he has contributed to a lot of turnovers – perhaps he should follow the dictum of making the simple pass or simply shoot the ball. Also, he has weak hands – I have seen him lose the ball too many times when he goes up for a rebound or holds the ball and a defender strips him from behind. Sometimes he just looks like a ballerina in a football game – Wayne Gretzky could do it, Pau Gasol cannot.

  2. Spot on Darius, lack of firepower is the name of the game, i have a question coming from the game thread if you can answer it, Nash got re-injured and now Blake, but what the Lakers could do but play Nash?, i mean, what alternatives are there?

  3. Shocked to see you say Nash may have hurt the team. Reading the posts the “telling the truth” thing will get you critized by some on the site.

    Truth can be an ugly thing.

  4. Well, to be honest with all the injuries, we exceeded expectations by getting the 7th seed. All I am hoping for is to avoid a sweep. I would question the value of vesting the franchise on Dwight except that the roster is depleted. We could actually even use Smush Parker and Sasha now.

  5. MDA is a loser. The look he has today after the game reminds me how he lost seemingly every year to the Spurs when he had his run with the Suns. With young Nash, old Nash, Shaq, Howard,… He always has talent around him, just never figure out how to utilize them, or get the players to play hard for him. After his fan comment about Kobe, he is now truly exposed of his character.

  6. I can only guess, but I bet Nash retires soon. He’s 39 and his body started falling apart this year.

    Once injuries start snowballing at that age, it can be pretty awful. Especially if you are barely making the playoffs.

  7. James: Lakers got fleeced with that Nash trade. Two 1s, Two 2s and a 3 year deal. Whoever authorized giving Nash 3 years deserves to be fired. The idiocy with that decision is mind boggling.

    Franchise player Dwight Howard: 16 pts 9 reb 2 ast 1 stl 4 blks 12 shots 4 fta. Somebody needs to go around the locker room show that stat sheet junk and let his game tape rerun throughout the day. Pathetic play from Dwight. We thought the Chris Paul trade set us back. The Nash deal and giving Dwight max dollars will be the death of us.

  8. This is the 3rd consecutive year that Gasol has struggled in the playoffs. I think he really has to go, either via trade or the amnesty clause.
    Time to give Goudelock, Morris, Clark and Ebanks more burn in the whatever remaining games we have left to see who is worth keeping.

  9. Kevin: do you have anything new to contribute?

  10. our team has one injury after another and some “fans” blame it on the coach and on nash who is playing hurt and could´ve shut it down a couple weeks ago (see chicago and the derrick rose situation). but no, he is out there at his age playing hurt and instead of acknowledging his heart and desire to play for this franchise you´re calling him a loser… how pathetic.

    nobody in their right mind would call steve nash a loser except spoiled lakers “fans” like you who got used to seeing the brilliance of kobe year after year and expect the same consistency and longevity from every player on the team.

    this series is far from over and the guys are fighting every minute they are out there. why now support them instead of complaining and wishing for something that this year just won´t happen?

  11. Sweep time. At least mda is only coaching the Lakers for two more games. My dreams for this team are 1) get booed out of staples center after game 4 2) Nash retires and I never have to see him again; worst trade kupchak ever made

  12. how good was Nash with Kobe together sans injuries?

  13. Well, to be honest with all the injuries, we exceeded expectations by getting the 7th seed. All I am hoping for is to avoid a sweep.
    _____________
    I felt exactly the same way at around the 4:30 mark of the 4thQ. last night harold – maybe even before then -
    It´s obvious that Pau´s gotta get it going offensively; I agree with those of you who feel he should post up much more even though it´d take him away from the high post/horns set. It´s just that at this juncture, why not give the Spurs a different look? Give Gasol the chance to get easier buckets?
    Well, at least we´ll be back at home…
    BTW people, Darius didn´t write the post-game article, it was R. Moralde (good points made Rey)

  14. Rusty Shackleford April 25, 2013 at 7:22 am

    With all of the injuries that have happened this year there is no way this team can be considered the biggest bust of all time. I’d call it more of an 82-game-buzzsaw. Literally and figuratively the ball never bounced the Lakers way all season.

    Moving forward the front office must make better decisions.

  15. Crazy season for the Lakers. If somebody would have said that the starting line up Nash, Kobe, Artest, Pau and Dwigth would only lpg in a total of more or less 130 minutes all season long due to injuries on every player thenwho would have predicted that the Lakers would even make the playoffs.
    Can we have stats on how long the starting five of Miami, New York, Indiana, San Antonio, Oklahoma, Denver, Clippers played together in comparison with the Lakers? Injuries just keeps on coming to this team Almost every significant player Dwight, Pau, Ron, Kobe, Nash, Blake, Hill, Jamison, Meeks, even Clark suffred injuries this season.

  16. I guess Ebanks is one of the few who has not been injured… is there any word on his situation at all? Just deep down the dog house?

  17. Dwight and Pau pouted the whole time they had Kobe, but without him they arent putting up monster numbers nor are they winning. Dwight should have 30 20 AND 5 with no Kobe..even if they lose.

  18. The injuries are at a biblical proportion now. Half expecting to see Ron-Ron turn into a pile of salt after a missed jumper.

    They’ve played hard and shown heart. Gotta give them credit for that.

    Maybe some home cooking and the sounds of cheers will change their fortunes a bit. Fingers crossed.

  19. I look out at Chicago who has also been injury ravaged, and they lost their MVP a long time ago.

    They are a tough, tough team. Thibs is the undisputed leader. They play in his image. No excuses.

    He always says, “they have enough pieces to win”.

    This Lakers team has been hammered, but they also pat themselves on the back when they “try really hard”.

  20. the Lakers are a better team than the rose depleted Bulls and would beat them in a series with a modicum of health. remember playing in the east adds at least 5 wins per year to your record if not more.

    No one can say anymore that this group does not play with passion and energy.

  21. We have been decimated by injuries and even3 of our “healthy” starters are not at 100% (Metta; DHoward and Nash). I am dumbfounded as to how anyone realistically expects this squad, with these injuries and poor bench to be anywhere but where we are today. I frankly believe that some of you are so passionate about the Lakers that reality and common sense go out the window. Look at the bench. Assess the situation. I hate to say it, but it was a miracle that we made it to the playoffs. The only left to do is see what, if anything, can be salvaged for the next season.

  22. Hey Laker fans, does this finaly prove Dwight is NOT a franchise player? I have been saying it all year. He cannot come up big. He is not the type of player to carry a team. He is not someone you can count on. Point proven.

  23. Let Ebanks play. Might want him next year. Young and can guard and has no AARP card like others on team. Yes he screwed up with DUI earlier, but how many other guys in nba make bonehead mistakes. Kid shut Durante down last year. No one else can stop a anyone, let him have a crack at it. What’s the worse that happens, lakers lose? MD is out next year if they want Howard to think about staying. Start for one coach, other wont let you play? Shows how bad MD is at job.

  24. Is it bad Pau can’t score a basket unless a 6-6 guy who can’t play defense is guarding him? Including wide open 15 footers… Pau is probably 3 for 25 when Bonner or Blair isn’t guarding him. This is the third postseason in a row. When will people stop pretending Pau is still a good player? When the defensive intensity picks up in the playoffs Pau struggles to even get off shots in the post against average defenders. He struggles to catch the ball (how many fumbles wide open have we seen from him on the permiter). And he for some reason Is too nervous to make open 15 foot jump shots.

    The Lakers right now have one player who is above average on their whole entire team. Which brings me to the main point. Dwight Howard is now 90 percent of Dwight Howard. The Lakers future is bright because I was wrong. With an offseason Dwight will get back to 95 percent or maybe even 99 percent. He is now back to demanding double teams and jumping all over the court. Next year he can be the second best player in the NBA again. Things are looking up.

  25. Aaron- I have often disagreed with you but everything you said above is spot on. And props for owning your former pessimism about D12, which given the overall track record of players coming back from back injuries was not without basis. Sort of key that Dwight re-signs this summer.

  26. Ebanks last game played was his last game played as a Laker and maybe the NBA. Apparently, the mandate was to sit him lower on the depth chart than a player not medically cleared. To his discredit, he looks puffy rather than showing he’d stay professional under adversity. That doesn’t scream “work ethic”. If I recall correctly, the speculation was that he didn’t sign his deal until the Dwightmare scenario had concluded so that he wouldn’t be part of the trade. Whereas I wasn’t expecting Batum level out of him, I was pulling for 75% of Matt Barnes.

  27. Pau is probably 3 for 25 when Bonner or Blair isn’t guarding him.

    That must mean that Pau has made 9 shots in the remaining 5 field goals he’s attempted this series! If you’re wondering why that doesn’t make sense, it’s because it doesn’t. In two games Pau is 12-30, which certainly isn’t great. He is leading the team in assists, however.

    But hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good hyperbolic statement.

  28. Darius,
    How many made baskets has Pau made while not being guarded by Matt Bonner (with one attempt agajnst Blair) that haven’t been put backs? This includes wide open set shots. The answer is around 4. We understand Pau is your favorite player for a veriety of reasons that aren’t appropriate to discuss… But take off the blinders. Yes he is still a good passer who still though often turns the ball over whole trying to do so. This however is the only above average skill set he has left. Against Duncan (who is getting torched by Dwight when the Spurs don’t send the hard double team) Pau has struggled to get the ball to the rim. This is the same pattern we’ve seen from Gasol in the last two postseasons. It’s not a coincidence.

  29. The Robert above is not me. Never been a Newlywed game fan. Although the last sentence might have led you to believe it was me : )

  30. The Lakers went into this series with the Spurs with arguably only one player better than his Spurs counterpart (Dwight), including starters and benches. The coaching matchup is equally, if not more, unbalanced in San Antonio’s favor. The first two games were in San Antonio.

    Not sure what anyone was expecting, but if you accept the facts above, you really have no business being surprised by or angry at the results so far.

  31. Aaron,
    Do your own research. Or make up the numbers as you’re prone to do. I couldn’t care less either way, to be honest.

    Pau’s not playing that well, no. Neither is anyone else, save for Dwight — though some of the fouls he’s taking aren’t good for the team.

    I have no problems calling out the players, whether they’re my “favorite” or not. What I do have a problem with are hyperbolic statements are aren’t supported by fact or are provided without context of the circumstances at hand. You’re not the only offender of course. Read the comments, it’s nearly everyone.

  32. FYI…” Hyperbole” would be if I said something to the effect of “Pau hasn’t scored a basket except when matched up with Matt Bonner. What I did is something called “exaggeration”.

  33. But yes… Nobody is playing well besides Dwight (yes he gives dumb fouls and always has historically). That hits on my point above where I said this team doesn’t have a player on the active roster that is above league average at their spot sands Dwight.

  34. Is it bad Pau can’t score a basket unless a 6-6 guy who can’t play defense is guarding him?

    When will people stop pretending Pau is still a good player?

    Call these an “exaggeration” instead of “hyperbole” if you want, but it’s just really semantics. You make over the top statements, act like they’re fact, and then proceed forward full speed. And you’ve done it since you found this site. Yet I’m the one that has to take of the blinders. Please.

  35. Darius,
    That’s not an exaggeration. Statistically Pau Gasol was not just a not good starting PF this year he wasn’t even league average as first string PFs go. These are just facts.

  36. guys (darius and aaron) if the lakers had your passion we’d probably would have won a game or two more during the regular season and maybe, just maybe one of the two vs the spurs in these first series playoffs. of course, one of you would have a sprained ankle and the other plantar fix the itis by now.

    couldn’t take my eyes away from american idol, or was that the laker game we witnessed last night? looked a lot like game 1; tried very hard on defense, made some strides on offense and pretty much got shut down by the spurs every time we came up for air.

    game recap: dog does not scratch door; knew we were in for a long night.

    home cooking friday, hoping for the best as always.

    Go Lakers

  37. Pau Gasol is shooting around 42% in the playoffs the past 3 years. That’s pretty awful for a 7 footer. And more so for a guy earning around $18M. The poor performance so far is not an aberration. This is who he is at this point in his career. His career as a Laker is just about to end. I hope his expiring contract is worth something to other teams.

  38. Pau makes more ‘”ake hustle”plays than anyone since Sash. He will “run” at a shooter but always too late. He runs after a play but always after there is no chance to catch up. He doesn’t jump for rebounds or box out, but yells everytime someone comes near him. Parker drove the lane three times in a row when Pau was ‘protecting” the paint. Pau put his hand up but turned his body slightly away (as he always does). He has never given a hard foul in his life. He gets stripped by smaller guys all the time. And he won’t punish defenders in the post. Yes, he has skills. But let’s be realistic. He is who he is, and at playoff time that will not get it done. Period.

  39. “Fake” hustle. Sorry.

  40. Is there a chance that Steve Nash would retire next season and Lakers would amnesty either Pau or Ron then get Brandon Jennings? Not a shot against Nash, Pau or Ron but just hell we can be a good team with just Jennings and Dwight plus some scrubs.

  41. It is either win tonight, or we get swept. This team knows they aren’t winning this series. The question is, how much do they still want to be there and compete. I think tonight we will have an answer to that. Whatever happens, this season will not go down as the biggest disaster ever. Lakers were well out of playoff range and despite the injuries, they went on a pretty impressive run to make the playoffs. While not the biggest disaster, I think many would agree it was still a nightmare of a season.