Preview And Chat: Los Angeles Lakers v. San Antonio Spurs

Phillip Barnett —  March 14, 2014

The Lakers are in the third game of a weird scheduling four-game sequence in which the Lakers play home and home series against the Thunder and the Spurs. The Lakers (remarkably) went .500 in the first half of the four games with a completely unexpected win over the Thunder in last Sunday, and will seek to do the same (or better) as they kick off a home and home against the Spurs tonight. Not only are the Lakers in the midst of a four-game stretch against the two teams a top the Western Conference, but they’re playing the second of a back-to-back in San Antonio. Most cities get up for the Lakers when they come to town, but San Antonio is usually one of the more hostile environments that the Lakers visit in any given season.

For tonight’s contest, the Lakers are going to need to match the defensive energy they had in their first game against the Thunder, someone is going to have to explode on the offensive end a la Jodie Meeks, and the Spurs might have to treat tonight’s game like an exhibition contest. You can’t really put a zero percent chance on the Lakers winning tonight’s game, but considering circumstance and the talent gap, a lot is going to have to go their way.

There really isn’t much you can say about this year’s rendition of the Spurs that you couldn’t have said about the team in the past 3-4 years outside of the every present continued growth of swingman Kawhi Leonard and his importance to the Spurs. Leonard is a difference maker on both ends of the floor, and when healthy, makes a good Spurs team dangerous. Leonard has dealt with some injury issues that caused him to miss 15 games this season, but the Spurs have not lost since his return. From Matthew Tynan over at 48 Minutes of Hell:

The Spurs have been 16.2 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents when Leonard has been on the floor over the last six games as opposed to just six points better when he’s been on the bench, and the defense is boasting a 95.3 defensive-efficiency rating when he plays. Furthermore, his impact on the defense-to-offense transition game has been a godsend for the slow-legged Spurs.

The numbers show the impact Leonard has had on the Spurs, and the impact has turned into wins. However, nothing is guaranteed, and the Lakers can find a way to leave San Antonio with a win tonight, and it’s going to have to start with the guys on the perimeter.

On the offensive end, the Lakers are going to have to take great care of the ball. The Spurs aren’t one of the fastest teams in the league, but they will make you pay for your mistakes. The possessions that don’t end in turnovers have to end with quality shots. Sharp ball movement and movement off the ball have led to the Lakers best possessions, but over dribbling from the guards have cut down on the number of times that the Lakers have been able to effectively execute sets this season. Kendall Marshall will have to be confident in his jump shot, Xavier Henry and Kent Bazemore are going to have to be smart about when to attack the basket and when to keep the ball moving and Pau Gasol is going to have to get touches in the paint. Playing through the post, especially if Pau can get any kind of early rhythm, will open up the perimeter for shooters like Meeks, Jordan Farmar and Ryan Kelly.

On the other end, keeping Tony Parker out of the lane is, and will always be, the top priority against the Spurs. This is a team that executes as well as anyone in the league, so staying home on assignments and helping the helper will be crucial. Parker can kill the Lakers by living in the paint, but Manu Ginobili can do so as well. Tim Duncan is going to be Tim Duncan. Boris Diaw can hurt the Lakers from multiple spots on the floor with his play making ability while Leonard can stretch the floor or attack the rim with his athleticism.

The Lakers should run when they have their opportunities, but shouldn’t make tonight a track race as the Spurs with more possessions will only have more opportunities to impose their will over the Lakers. The Lakers can be successful in stretches, but it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to keep the Spurs off balanced enough for 48 minutes to leave Texas with a win.

Where You Can Watch: 5:30 start time on NBATV or TWC SportsNet. You can also listen on ESPN Radio 710.

Phillip Barnett

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61 responses to Preview And Chat: Los Angeles Lakers v. San Antonio Spurs

  1. i’m tired of seeing the complaining – about the bloggers complaining.

  2. Another long night, that Marshall vs Tony Parker matchup intrigues me. Lol!!!

  3. Fern,

    You’re right. Marshall did a great job on Westbrook last night. More of the same for tonight?

  4. Can we blur out that part of the screen? I really don’t want to see that…

  5. Agree

    Marshal makes DFish look like defensive player of year. Suns are no fools. We got a broken Nash and Turtle Marshall from them.

    Those suns of a gun.

  6. …and Marshall continues to start. Wow.

  7. Wow the Laker black cloud is spreading
    1-Kobe
    2-Nash
    3-Bynam

    And now Odom after 23 minutes in Spanish league he is returning home with back issue . Out for season.

    Wonder how Smush is doing?

  8. , Wow this was a quote from Jim. Buss and explains a great deal! Yet Jimmy thinks scouting is vastly overrated. “Evaluating basketball talent is not too difficult,” he says. “If you grabbed 10 fans out of a bar and asked them to rate prospects, their opinions would be pretty much identical to those of the pro scouts.”

  9. Ko- that quote is like 10 years old. Give it a rest bro.

  10. Ty Manny LOL.

  11. Anybody who thinks Marshall could start or play for any other team in the NBA is not watching.

    I promise my last about him.

    Sorry Manny I never read it before but based on firing all the scouts last year I suggest it has CURRENT meaning!

  12. Seems like the current roster was picked and signed at a bar around 1:50 am.

  13. It’s actually from 1998. He’s tried to take it back but nothing ever dies in the internet

  14. To bad they released Hill and Kamen. They could use some rebounds.

  15. it’s an old quote and a cheap shot… and the truth of the matter is the lakers did a pretty good to very good job evaluating talent in the offseason given the incredible financial and contract-length constraints they were working with. X, Nick Young, Wes, and Kamen have all played above expectations. Same with Meeks (signed last year). Marshall was brought up from the D-League to fill in for injured players. I would add Bazemore to the list as well.

    The proof will be when we can’t afford to keep most of these guys heading into next year…

    Come on, Lakers! I’m a few games off ‘Amarone della Ko’ pace and believe me, I could use it.

  16. Is there a mercy rule? Mon Dieu !!

  17. This could well be the worst talent and coaching in Laker history.

    By a mile. Good chance of breaking the recent 48 point loss record. How long before Kobe calls Phil to rescue him.

  18. Lots of bricks for both teams, but the Spurs have game. What do you do with a pony that can’t perform its one trick?

  19. halftime speech: words cannot describe. let’s get mikey:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmIeYWg3BJE

    Go lakers

  20. Rfen

    Sell it too Jimmy to train.

    Must be some more bar tender out there to hire.

  21. The Dark Ages are upon us.

  22. Here are the four of the first seven posts on tonight’s SSR game thread:

    I guess a spurs fan will kick this off.
    Good luck out there lakers!

    by Daniel_v210 on Mar 14, 2014 | 5:41 PM reply rec flag

    that sequence should have had the benny hill theme song playing.

    by Daniel_v210 on Mar 14, 2014 | 5:44 PM reply rec flag
    Im so lonely

    2 people in this game thread, well 3 now that I’m commenting
    Hahahahah wow this is crazy

    by Hdg23 on Mar 14, 2014 | 5:52 PM reply rec flag

    ___

    The count there is at 73–well below what they have usually been. So that is not just a FBG thing.

  23. Lakers guards 3 points

    Minus 37

    Small ball for small minds.

  24. Dark Ages indeed and it does not look like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  25. hey, if you hurry, they also got tanked on animal planet.

    Go lakers

  26. Glove

    Not as long as the guy running the team, failed with Sparks , horse racing, collage and thinks he is smarter then Phil Jackson.

    Only chance is a sale by Magic group.

  27. That light is now shining on Broadway, Glove! I am sickened.

  28. Funny thing.

    I read today Time Warner is raising their cable prices again due to much lower ratings!

    Hahaha

  29. Friday Night whinefest i just cant wait this season is over with and then see what this FO will do, i been hearing the same whinning since November, glad is going to be over soon or is it?he he im having a good time with my dear ol’ friend Johnny Walker so in oblivous lol.

  30. Friday Night whinefest yay!! i just cant wait this season is over with and then see what this FO will do, i been hearing the same whinning since November, glad is going to be over soon or is it? hehe im having a good time with my dear ol’ friend Johnny Walker so im oblivous lol.

  31. 2nd verse, same as the first: nobody knows the trouble we seen, nobody knows our sorrow.

    on a related story: even the laker plane ran out of gas.

    Go lakers

  32. So Marshon Brooks joined Kaman in the ” cant get any playtime even in 30 points blowouts” circle of hell?

  33. Fern

    Put Johnny down Mike is a genius. He is saving them for the playoffs.

  34. They shoot 34% tonight and 19% from 3s? And we’re supposed to be alright with this? We’re supposed to tell Kobe, Gasol,Magic, Worthy and Stu lantz to shut up and don’t criticize? Because MDA has a system and it will work eventually. Because Jim b uss can hold 10 championships over Lakers fans heads.

    Stop this now.

  35. Im allright with everything bc this team even having some guys back is extremely injury riddled the most hurt team in Lakers history and must be one of the most injured teams of all time in the history of the league and the rest of the personel outside Pau and Meeks,Bazemore and Farmar just stink specially when the shots aint falling because this team dont defend at all so we cant fall on good D when the offense aint working, this team is been done since December so im alright with everything bc we are getting a high draft pick out of this mess and i doubt we see another injury depleted team like this one on our lifetime(knock on wood). Most of the personel available just stink is as simple as that. This season has been an anomaly and a freak of nature. If healthy this team would be around 500 at least. What happens starting this summer and the next is what really going to define the future not this freak season.

  36. They shoot 34% tonight and 19% from 3s? And we’re supposed to be alright with this? We’re supposed to tell Kobe, Gasol,Magic, Worthy and Stu lantz to shut up and don’t criticize? Because MDA has a system and it will work eventually.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Pgunn, excellent point. When the Lakers win, they do so only because they shoot the lights out–50 / 60 / 70% from 3-pt. range. Unfortunately, that is not sustainable. For Small Ball to work, you need players who shoot like snipers. And this team simply doesn’t have the kind of talent that shoots the lights out consistently.

    D’Antoni has virtually wrecked this team by imposing his “system” on players without regard to the talent at hand. When the team is hot–which they are every 4 or 5 games–they win. But that is not a validation of his system. That’s just the odds. Every dog has his day. Every now and then a player, and a team, will get hot. But you can’t count on that on a nightly basis — certainly not with this team.

    When you’re low on talent, you should emphasize the aspects of the game that do not rely on talent — rebounding, blocking out, team defense, hustling after loose balls, etc. This team is only a great 3-point shooting team every 3-4 games if that. That means they’re going to win once every 3-4 games. If D’Antoni doesn’t understand that, then the Lakers should bring in a coach who does.

    April 17 can not come soon enough.

  37. Is it a whinefest or is it calling it how it is? The Lakers are getting blown out most nights. What kind of content is the game thread supposed to contain? Any comments about the product on the floor will be negative. Why? Because the team and the outcome of most of their games is all negative. The news surrounding the team is negative. The news about the star player is negative. The news about the front office is mostly negative. With 16 games left the team is dead in the water.

    In all seriousness, what can we say that won’t sound negative?

  38. Also, A. Martinez over at Lakers Line should cut Ken a check. He single handedly made that show interesting tonight with his call. Ken needs his own podcast. His inside information about the team is eye opening.

  39. T. Rogers –

    What did Ken say?

  40. In all seriousness, what can we say that won’t sound negative?

    Some people like focusing on whichever guy happened to play the best or play well for him. In the OKC loss, it was Kelly. As I said the other day, while people should talk about what they want, I don’t see a lot of point in speculating about who they will keep yet, but some people like to talk about that.

    The Lakers’ FO did do a pretty good job bargain-hunting last off-season, and I have given them credit for that. But that is not nearly as big of a deal as the larger picture and the enormous challenges thereof.

  41. Thanks T.Rodgers. As my wife says “I need to get a life “. Lucky it’s brokers Serbian English so I pretend not to understand.

    Martinez is a good guy and I have yet to be blocked in spite of its a Laker show.

  42. Yeah, yeah, yeah Ko. How about sharing some of this “inside information” with the FBGers?

  43. “One, two, three, Cancun!!!

    Now is the time that the team is supposed to put players on the floor for evaluation for next year.

    This coach is playing Marshall regardless of his stats (just like he did with Williams), because he likes him, maybe it’s because Marshall strokes the coaches ego. A sure way to destroy a team and a brand is for those in charge to put their ego before what’s best for the franchise.

    Kobe is not merely sitting at home pining over his inability to get on the floor. He’s reading, watching film and adding something of value to his life. I believe Kobe has turned his attention to the business side of the basketball. When the Mamba was playing and training he concentrated on basketball as a player, now he’s looking at the Lakers and the business of basketball through a different lens.

    Lakers fanatics, mark March 14, 2014, down on your smart phone as it will be the pivotal mark for the future direction of this organization.

    #Theendofanera

  44. It’s funny how Phil Jackson is incapable of learning how to manage a basketball team, even though his foundation is in basketball; as a player, and as a coach. Meanwhile, we have Jim Buss as the operational manager with only peripheral basketball knowledge, yet a few people on FB&G think that he’ll become an effective manager over time.

    How is it possible for Jim to learn on the job, but not for Phil?

  45. With Phil officially taking the NY gig, here are some facts worth noting IMO:

    The Knicks at the moment have only 12M committed for 2015-16 when Stoudemire, Bargnani, and Chandler all come off the books, and as I have mentioned, when Kevin Love can become an unrestricted free agent. That is less than half of what the Lakers have committed to Kobe for 2015-16. And of that 12M, over 10 is in Player Options (Smith and Felton).

  46. All im saying is that we know how this team and the coach stinks ok? So i rather do what the FO is doing, EVALUATING not criying over milk thats been spilled and evaporated already. Im more interested on who is worth keeping, who we drafting who should be our new coach rather than whinning about MDA and Jimbo every single game. We seen Mitch out there scouting thats more important for our future than whinning about MDA not playing Kaman.

  47. The Lakers have the talent and depth now to at least be competitive—if they play the right way. What I see is that if you put many of these Laker players on San Antonio, playing under Pop and with the top Spurs players, that team is still going to be very good. The Lakers lack leadership, both from the top and on the floor. Otherwise, they could play much better than they do. And that’s one reason why these games have more meaning that simply securing a lottery spot. We’re seeing where this team is, and management can choose to act accordingly.

    And on another front… I have no way of knowing. Pau just looks and sounds like he’s now ready to leave. I hope he’s successful in any case.

  48. Rr

    It’s just former players opinions and it would get stuck in moderation. Let’s just say that 3 former Lakers are not pleased with direction. Not ethical to quote others but I am moderate compared to others who are more knowledgable.

  49. Jim Buss may learn on the job, and that’s the hope, but he does not have Phil’s credentials, and he’s been around long enough for people to have an opinion about who he is and the job he’s done. If someone says they’re more encouraged having Jim Buss as the current Laker visionary, then maybe they’re sincere. Also could be sour grapes or wishful thinking.

    Much of the doubt about Phil may be due to the high expectations that always surround him. And because of his personality and philosophies, he’s always had his detractors, who mostly have to keep quiet because his record is hard to knock. He’s never been in this kind of management situation, so why not start trying to tear him down before he even gets there? If he were anyone else, people would just say, give him time. If it takes Jackson several years to get things really going in the right direction in NY, the Knicks will be happy they hired him.

  50. rfen,

    You mention that Gasol looks and sounds like he’s ready to jump ship. I agree. However, if D’Antoni gets canned — which could happen — that could change everything.

    If MDA stays, I’m almost certain that we’d lose our 3 top bigs — Gasol, Kaman, and Hill, 2 offensively skilled 7-footers and the 3rd best offensive rebounder in the game. That would leave a hole (“crater” might be a better word) that would be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. Those 3 players are far from perfect. But even so, as a unit they’d be impossible to replace in one, even 2, years.

    If D’Antoni is fired, however, then I would say that we should sign 2 of them if possible, perhaps Gasol and Hill, and draft one of the college bigs (if available) such as Jabari Parker, Julius Randal, or even Doug McDermott (who could be a real surprise next year).

    Then, if in 2015 the Lakers sign Kevin Love, they would have a front line of Gasol, Kevin Love, Jabari Parker, and Jordan Hill manning the 4 and 5 positions. Not bad.

    That could be a plan worth considering. But that could only happen if D’Antoni leaves. If he’s retained, none of this would be even remotely possible and we could be in for a sustained, and horrible, drought.

  51. Pau Gasol is probably my second favorite Laker ever. I had previously hoped to see him retire a Laker. If we’re rebuilding, I have no problem keeping him around. But if we’re trying to win, he’s so bad defensively now that he’s not worth a long- or even a medium-term investment. Some component may be due to effort, but even over the last couple years we saw that his slow feet can’t guard the league’s 4’s, and he’s not an interior presence at the 5. Whatever offensive skills he retains, I still wouldn’t pay more than $7 mil for his services, and I know he can get more on the open market. A front line of Gasol and Love would be atrocious defensively.

    One player really hurt by D’Antoni’s system is Jordan Hill. The guy was, and I believe still is, a role player on a very good team. Worst case scenario, he could have built up trade value and Brooklyn (or some team) may have given up a second-rounder or another young piece for him. D’Antoni murdered his trade value and his role on the team. You can argue for all the bad MDA does for his bigs, he does take unknown PGs/wing players and usually allows them to thrive. But under a different coach, Hill would have been an excellent role player long-term, or at worst, a rare Laker with trade value.

  52. Snoopy2006,

    You actually offer a good point about the defensive liabilities of a Gasol-Love pairing. I was well aware of that when I wrote my post. As an alternative, one could always replace Love with Omer Asik. We would gain defensively but lose on the offensive end.

    However, my main point is that if we keep MDA as a head coach, then we will almost assuredly lose 3 proven, veteran bigs who have, to a large degree, complementary games. That could be devastating. It could take us years to re-build the front line if that were to happen.

    That is why I suggest (and pray for) a coaching change so that we can forestall that mass exodus. The hole that would be left with all 3 players leaving at the same time would be immense. Whatever their individual weaknesses, it would be extremely difficult to replace all 3 of them.

    The fact that they’ve been so criminally misused and under-used by D’Antoni doesn’t mean that 1 or 2 of them should not be retained.

    If we lose all 3, our starting front line next near would be Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly, and Wes Johnson. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

  53. Game Threads: I rarely post during games. I will say this. I have no issue with people whining/complaining. Say what you want about the team, the coaches and the FO. However I do think if you whine yourself, then you shoud not complain about others doing it.
    MD: This board’s tone has changed quite a bit. As the founding member of the MD should be fired club, I have a very good perspective on who has joined and when : )
    Team Attitude: It is horrible. Yes – talent is a big issue, but is anyone still thinking MD is making the most out of this? Hill? Kaman? Farmar? What would they say?
    C Hearn: Nice “How is it possible for Jim to learn on the job, but not for Phil?” Well – I do think Phil can learn on the job, however I would not use Jim as an example of how that has been done succesfully in the past : )

  54. I will bet my house, wine, wife, golf clubs and reputation ( questionable). that MDA will not be the coach next year.

    Unless Kobe moves to Italy or is traded to Newphil York.

  55. The Knicks at the moment have only 12M committed for 2015-16 when Stoudemire, Bargnani, and Chandler all come off the books, and as I have mentioned, when Kevin Love can become an unrestricted free agent.

    This is pretty significant. Basically the Lakers may well find themselves competing against the Knicks over the next two summers when they expect to make their big free agent push.

  56. Robert- I used Phil against Jim because the Lakers could have had Phil remain with the Lakers in some capacity. I think Phil has a basketball acumen more suited to replicating West’s success than Mr. Buss does.

    By season’s end, Rambis could very well be on his way to the Knicks to assist in implementing the triangle. All Phil has to do is input a few offensive sets into the triangle to maximize their personnel. Secure a few veteran players–like Pau–and they will be atop the eastern conference board next season. If not next season then the season after because it takes two years for players to adapt to the nuances of the triangle.

  57. T Rogers,

    Indeed. Jim and Phil may be on a collision course of sorts, leading to Kevin Love. Basically, based on what we know now, the Lakers’ hope over the next two years is:

    1. Nail the pick
    2. Pray Kobe is healthy and effective.
    3. Get a solid guy in FA, like Lowry (not necessarily advocating for him–just as an example).
    4. Land a big-time FA in 2015, with Love being the obvious candidate.

    Things can change of course, and probably will. But that is the path now, and NY fans are already talking about Love.

  58. Pau is relatively slow-footed on defense, but he’s also in a bad position with this team and how they play. If he were on a sound defensive team that doesn’t give up so much penetration, had more help inside, didn’t have to run up and down in transition in faster paced games, then his height could be more the advantage than his movement a liability. His offense is worth having. It depends on how he holds up physically the next few years, and I think that’s a legitimate concern.

  59. rr-good reading, thanks for the link. Lowe echoed my opinions on Phil, the triangle, and free agents far better than I could.

  60. The thought of Dantoni returning is terrifying.