Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Spurs

Darius Soriano —  February 19, 2016

Records: Lakers 11-44, Last in the West; Spurs 45-9, 2nd in the West
Offensive ratings: Lakers 97.5, 29th in NBA; Spurs 108.8, 3rd in the NBA
Defensive ratings: Lakers 108.2, Last in the NBA; Spurs 95.4, 1st in the NBA
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Clarkson, Williams, Kobe, Randle, Hibbert
Spurs: Parker, Danny Green, Kyle Anderson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Timmy

The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers’ have not played since last Wednesday. That game, a loss to the Cavs, was like so many other games the Lakers have played this year, it is sort of a blur. The Lakers go down big early, made a little run in garbage time to make the score look a bit more respectable, the end. Of the team’s 44 losses, I’d venture to guess more than a dozen of them have followed this format.

That, however, was 10 days ago. The team then went into the all-star break and while Kobe, Jordan Clarkson, and D’Angelo Russell all made trips to Toronto to participate in various activities, this team got some much needed rest. Hopefully that rest doesn’t translate to too much rust, but we shall see tonight.

Beyond the fresher legs, the other good news is that Larry Nance is available to play tonight. And while he won’t get a full compliment of minutes, he will likely be the primary backup to Julius Randle at PF and, hopefully, play about 20 minutes tonight after a sore knee has kept him out for a few weeks. We will see if any other rotation adjustments are made, but my guess is we will see little of that tonight.

The Spurs Coming in: The Spurs returned from their all-star break a day earlier than the Lakers, facing off against the Clippers on Thursday. That game netted them only their 9th loss of the season, a game where they did not look good and missed Kawhi Leonard severely. Leonard will be out of tonight’s game as well, so the team will slide former Bruin Kyle Anderson into the starting lineup instead. Manu Ginobili — hurt before the break — is also still out so that lessens their wing depth overall.

Beyond missing Leonard and Manu, there’s really nothing new to say about the Spurs. They are a top team in the league and have quality players all over the floor. Their 2nd unit is fantastic at running the team’s ball movement heavy offense and it creates the types of open shots most team’s reserves simply aren’t capable of defending well enough to keep pace. Add in their strong defensive schemes and overall level of execution and you get the record they have.

Spurs Blogs: 48 Minutes of Hell is smart and offers a unique perspective on covering the Spurs. Check them out.

Keys to game: The Spurs did not look good against the Clippers on Thursday, but missing Kawhi and coming off a long rest with an aged roster on the road will tend to do that. Tonight I expect similar rust from the Lakers, but with fresher legs and a home crowd to help them along. How this translates to success remains to be seen since I think the rebounding battle and ability to get out and run will be balanced against some general sloppiness and suspect shot making.

It should also be noted that these teams played less than two weeks ago and the Lakers played them tough. That was with Kawhi (but without Duncan and Manu), so it’s tough to say how that result impacts this one. But the Lakers have been able to hang with the Spurs for longer stretches than expected so maybe this game will be close to.

I’d be lying if I said I wan’t doing anything more than guessing here, honestly. After such a long layoff anything could happen and I would not be surprised. Well, a Lakers’ win would surprise me, but a back and forth game that came down to the last 5 minutes would not. If the Lakers can get some second chance points, hit some threes, and get out in the open court they will be in business. If the Spurs are able to control in possession tempo and do their usual work off the dribble in order to create open three pointers, I see them pulling away at some point.

In other words, this game is worth watching just because there really is some unpredictableness to it. Add that this is the first game in 10 days and I think we’re all a bit thirsty for some Lakers’ hoops. Let’s go.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.

Darius Soriano

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to Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Spurs

  1. – Phoenix has made it’s intentions known yesterday. They have decided to challenge the Lakers, Nets, & Sixers for the worst record this season…which can be very problematic for our Lakers.

    – So how does the Laker brain trust (lol) handle this? What has the Buss (Bust) family informed Mitch to instruct Byron to do? Will somebody(ies) playing time drastically increase? Decrease? Will we start witnessing strange lineups? Season ending “injuries”?

    – It all starts tonight, stay tuned.


  2. Big sid,,, u r awesome


  3. BCS, according to ESPN this is how –

    Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer

    Byron Scott reiterates that his No. 1 goal the rest of the season is to win games. His No. 2 goal, he says, is to develop young players.


  4. The rest of the season hinges on Kobe’s health. It will be more of the same as long as his army of trainers can keep him on the court. That is okay, this season is all about Kobe and it will lose all meaning if he goes down.

    I agree that Phoenix can be unconscious when it comes to tanking. They can string losses together with the worst of them.


  5. Don’t forget about the Knicks. They fired Fisher and now they have Kurt Rambis as interim coach. They have lost 7 straight games and are 1-9 in last 10 games.


  6. Clarkson off to a nice start, 4-4 from three with 12 points and 4 dimes.


  7. Nick pouting when asked to play, goofing with his hair when not. A pros pro.


  8. So I figured 8 in row. This is 5th.

    Kobe shooting 30% in the 5. 34% on year. But of course most shots in 1st half 9.

    Clarkson 4 for 4.

    As the fairwell continues.

    I give.


  9. Kobe…22 shots in 24 minutes….Embarrassing…..


  10. Tim Duncan went 1-6 for two points last night against a blow out loss to the clips with -18 +/-

    That was in 20 minutes of burn.

    But….ok, Kobe was “embarrassing tonight.”

    Our team is awful, yes, but seeing Kobe light up the third quarter is one of the only reasons I’ve been watching the lakers this year. The franchise has no control over ping pong balls, or the whims of FA’s, but Kobe is one of the greatest Lakers and basketball players of all time. Head scratching, affirmative. “Embarrassing?” Not so much.


  11. On a positive note for a change the Lakers played well. Kobe’s career has 26 games left so there is no point on whinning about his shooting, he is going to go out guns blazings that was a given dislocated finger be damned enjoy this final stretch because we won’t see somebody like him again and he was ours!!. Randle? another double double battling against Aldrige and Duncan and let me let you in a little secret, his fg % it’s been going up every month since December and hes shooting 46% in February he earned back his starting role as much as i want Byron fired his handling of Julius and The Bust isn’t one of the reasons. The Bust keeps improving as well. A side note , Julius, Clarkson and the Bust shared the floor for a grand total of 4 minutes, Yeah must be us because that isn’t Byron fault either. Must be that “context” that keep being tossed around here lately. Like i been saying we need to build around what we have in the summertime. We have money to build a good surrounding cast around these kids. And if we keep pick and it’s top two even better. Lower than that? meh, this is a two player draft thats it. We’ll see…


  12. KO … From last thread… Lakers fans are desperate. Clearly Jim/Mitch are not the leadership we need to get back on top (to mediocrity yes– on top, no).

    So we all turn to Jeanie, who says she’s ultimately in charge. We are hopefull she will finally be a leader and make the necessary changes and put the right people in charge.


  13. Lakers played well enough to make it close.
    Kobe kept us entertained.

    I agree with Fern that Byron’s handling of Randle has been adequate to good. But IMO Byron’s coaching and lack of an effective game plan on both ends of the floor is so pathetic that even guys who get playing time will experience a strange and stunted growth.

    I’m of the school that the FO has done a decent job – like nabbing Nance and Clarkson – but in their misguided loyalty to Byron and protecting him for so long they’ve made themselves look incompetent.

    A better coach would have done more with these players and this roster. We wouldn’t be tripping all over ourselves pointing fingers and scratching our heads. A better coach and the future would look brighter, not relying on a ping pong ball to save us.

    I agree that a coach like Thibs would be a huge upgrade. Does this FO team see that too?

    Couldn’t we have made a similar play for Tobias Harris? Did we try? We need a SF badly. I hadn’t heard but if we didn’t, in hopes that a marquee FA is going to come to a 15-win team, that’s more evidence of criminal negligence.

    IMO this summer is gonna be this management team’s last stand. If they can’t nab a good FA or two, or pull off a successful trade, or at the very least FIRE BYRON – I’ll be on the ledge contemplating my chances of survival.


  14. Feel you there JC.

    Ask yourself, would a Tibbs or Pops type coach fit with KOBE?

    Point is season was “pretend” season. Pretend they would be competitive to fans while selling tickets to the longest closing act in sports history.

    Bryan is here to coddle Kobe. Plain and simple. Play when he wants. Shoot when he wants. Do what he wants. 20 to 25 shots a game at league low for SF 34% ain’t gonna work for a real coach.

    Look at it this way, we have substantially reduced the field of real Laker fans and band wagon fans. Another year of this and it will be you and me sitting in a corner drinking my wine playing the “remember when” game.


  15. Looks like David Lee, JJ Hickson and Steve Novak are all now available after being waived by Celtics and Nuggets.
    I wonder if we’ll be waiving Hibbert. I doubt it!
    He’s been such an integral part of our success this year. Especially now that we know Byron’s primary goal is winning games, not developing the youth.
    I can’t help but think Lee is better than Roy.


  16. JC, i see no point on nabbin any of those guys, those guys are useful for those lower seed/ fighting for a spot teams. At this point the best move is no move. Hibbert is going to play the remainder of the season and his expiring contract is more useful than his play, even if he was playing better…


  17. Fern,
    I agree, I doubt the team goes after those players.
    I was pointing out that these other teams made moves.
    The other teams at least give the appearance of having plans, agendas.
    We can’t even waive Sacre.

    Making zero roster moves – even if it’s to clear cap space or pick up a 2nd rounder in the year 2030 – is telling me the FO is asleep at the switch. You can’t tell me that not a single team in the league who still has something to play for this year couldn’t use a Bass or a Williams.
    And for the record I happen to like Williams.

    I’m already in the corner drinking.
    I think Kobe would have been engaged playing for any coach that valued winning.
    As I mentioned on another thread, I actually think Byron hastened Kobe’s departure.
    A new and winning culture here might have at least sparked his interest. He may have been convinced that sharing the ball could even extend his career. Instead, Kobe saw the writing on the wall with not only his own descent but the team’s inevitable crash.
    Why shouldn’t there be a year-long Kobe show?
    It’s the only thing selling tickets and he knows it.
    He’s devolved into a likeable shell of his former self.
    It’s alternately inspiring and embarrassing.

    My personal Kobe highlight was him dislocating his finger and seeing Vitti snap it back into place. Then Kobe strolls back onto the court and shares a laugh with Duncan.
    If nothing else, that shows us what Kobe has been all about for 20 years – it was awesome.


  18. When BS says his priority is win: you can understand as “the priority is TANKING”…

    I wish yall lucky in all these last 26 bc I don’t wanna see it, no more. Period. We know the strategy of this “FO”.

    Let’s go back to what Magic Johnson said last season: “I hope the Lakers lose every game,” “Because if you’re going to lose, lose. And I’m serious.”


  19. Fern – Julius evolution came up from Larry Nance injury. If Nance wasn’t injured, Randle, certainly, would stay on the bench or in Byron’s dog house and he could not develop as we have seen right now. C’mon.


  20. @Mr G.

    What if Nance had developed despite Randle being on the bench?
    You guys act like Randle is the heir apparent but Nance is no slouch people.
    Player of the year from his conference and had a nice scoring average.
    You guys also forget that Nance has the bloodlines and is getting some advice from pops I’m sure. That position battle ain’t over yet mark my words.

    Remember Golden State had Barnes and Lee plus traded for Iggy but the play of Green caused them to adjust…. Move Lee, Barnes to bench and kick Iggy to 3 and role player status.

    Stay Tuned I’m telling you.