El Conclusion: Los Angeles Lakers 98, San Antonio Spurs 84


Los Angeles Lakers 98 Final

Recap | Box Score

84 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 24 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -12Went into the archives and pulled out a driving dunk early and played okay defensively. But the difference between Duncan five years ago and Duncan now is that a front line like this can make him seem ordinary when he’s not receiving enough help.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -8Kawhi Leonard was practically invisible, but then, so much of his game still relies on Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili being able to collapse a defense. With that in mind, how negatively do you reflect on Leonard when the players he depends on struggle? Defensively, Ron Artest had a flashback to his Pacers days and was simply too overpowering for Leonard at times.
DeJuan Blair, F 13 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -4This is simply a terrible matchup for Blair. To an extent, it’s hard to fault him. His performance on the Lakers will always be a mere barometer for how focused Andrew Bynum is on that particular night. Tonight Bynum was pretty damn dialed in, and it reflects in Blair’s stat line.
Tony Parker, PG 27 MIN | 2-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 4 PTS | -16The key to beating the Lakers defense is collapsing it, then making their towering front line move side-to-side, scrambling on rotations. For a number of reasons (had a rare off night with his jumper) Parker never really could collapse the defense completely. The eight assists look nice, but they’re inflated stat filler. When these teams meet again, Parker needs to exploit the Lakers as the matchup advantage it’s supposed to be.
Daniel Green, G 27 MIN | 7-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 22 PTS | -2Started the game brilliantly, and ended on a scoring flurry against the Lakers starters, so it wasn’t completely a case of filling the stat sheet with empty calories. I eagerly await seeing Green get a shot at Kobe Bryant.
Stephen Jackson, SG 25 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -5Wanted to give Jackson a lower grade, but then reasoned on a night the Spurs played better, his contribution would look better. Was tied for the team lead in rebounds with five.
Matt Bonner, PF 20 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -8Should the Spurs meet the Lakers in the playoffs, I can see Bonner starting. Tim Duncan is the only player that can competently defend Andrew Bynum, and while Boris Diaw might be a bit more effective defending Pau Gasol, Bonner can at least make life difficult for the Lakers at the other end.
Boris Diaw, PF 17 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | -4While the passing is nice, at some point Diaw has to be a threat to score. Otherwise it’s just watching your 6-8 power forward dribbling into the middle of the lane and making a harmless pass to the wing to reset the offense with less time on the shot clock. To be an effective passer, the defense has to respect you. The Lakers did not.
Manu Ginobili, SG 26 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | -13Ginobili’s drives were swallowed alive by the Lakers length, and he had trouble finding rhythm anywhere else to compensate. Like Parker, needs to do a better job collapsing the defense and either going hard to draw fouls or making smarter decisions.
Tiago Splitter, C 15 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -9Was he efficient? I suppose. Was he impactful? Not at all.
James Anderson, SG 7 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +9Had a nice little run with the fourth quarter unity that made the score more respectable than it was. Provided Lakers fans with an opportunity to chant air ball in the AT&T Center.
Patrick Mills, PG 21 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +2“Has never met a shot he couldn’t turn into a fade away.” –Andrew McNeill

Five Things We Saw

  1. Andrew Bynum’s performance may have been somewhat of an outlier, I doubt the Spurs play this badly again, but the scary thing is that this a perfectly repeatable performance when he is completely dialed in. The Lakers aren’t 20 points better than the Spurs, but they’re not a team they want to face early in the playoffs either.
  2. Kobe Bryant is the best player on the Lakers, but he isn’t what makes them special. The key to the Lakers defeating the Spurs is, was, and always will be their vaunted front line. Bryant might be able to score a high volume of points, but he’s not going to deter Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker at the rim the way Bynum and Gasol can.
  3. The quick answer to matching up with the Lakers would seem to be to play Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter together, but I’m not sure it’s the correct one over an extended period. Tiago Splitter’s greatest strengths involve operating in space, the Lakers biggest strength is consuming it. Splitter works best in tandem with Blair, and a Duncan-Splitter pairing still wouldn’t compensate enough for Gasol-Bynum and might diminish some of their offensive capabilities. I might be overthinking this, however, as it’s still a better solution than DeJuan Blair against this team.
  4. The Lakers had the Manu Ginobili-Tiago Splitter pick and roll scouted fairly well, closing out on Matt Bonner in the corner almost every single time.
  5. The Spurs are still vulnerable on the interior, and I don’t think anyone has forgotten that. But if everyone remains available for the Grizzlies, we might get a better indication of how much of problem that still remains.
  • DorieStreet

    Didn’t see the game, but the rebounding stats speak volumes. I look forward to reading how Spurs Fans who viewed the contest catogorize the game/critique the play.
    Of course the team has to now focus on the Grizzlies immediately.

  • Hobson13

    To me, it seemed like the Spurs had an off night.  However, this is what you can expect when your 3 stars are forced to sit in a very winnable game (Utah) after your team has just rolled to 11 straight wins.  I have never been and will never be a fan of sitting all of your big guns in a regular season game down the stretch.  If Manu or Tim can’t hold up during the season after not playing for half the season (Manu) and playing almost a career low in minutes (Tim) then the team does not deserve to hoist the trophy.  PERIOD.

    I’m also a firm believer of going into the postseason playing good basketball and tonight will simply not cut it against any WC playoff team.

    P.S.  Bynum had almost as many rebounds (30) as the entire Spurs team (33).  We simply must do better than this.   

  • Anonymous

    Haven’t felt this discouraged by a loss in years. Lakers are a horrible road team and were without their best player. Yes he chucks but Bynum/Gasol will be there to get the rebounds after he misses. The Spurs played bad but over the past few years the big 3 have generally had their worst games against LA. If the Spurs get the Lakers in the 2nd round, the series won’t go more than 5 games.

  • Anonymous

    Haven’t felt this discouraged by a loss in years. Lakers are a horrible road team and were without their best player. Yes he chucks but Bynum/Gasol will be there to get the rebounds after he misses. The Spurs played bad but over the past few years the big 3 have generally had their worst games against LA. If the Spurs get the Lakers in the 2nd round, the series won’t go more than 5 games.

  • Justinray813

    wow, just wow…. UNACCEPTABLE!!!! the most embarrassing loss that i can remember

  • mdupnic

    shots didn’t fall and bynum completely manhandled the entire team. Mind you the man formally known as artest shot out oh his freaking mind when the lakers put the game away at the end of the third.

  • neverthehero

    Seems the best we can hope for is that the Grizzles get the 6 seed and the Lakers the 3rd. And so much for rest doing the three any good. I would love to have a chat with Pop and the usefulness of resting people. The smart thing would have been to bring the ‘big’ 3 off the bench last game. It’s the same crap that always happens in the NFL at the end of the season. One or two teams decide to sit people and bam, they get beat off the bye week. 

  • observerfirstfansecond

    Credit the Lakers, they won big on the Spurs home floor. The Spurs were embarrassed tonight. If Bynum continues to play anywhere like he did tonight the Lakers can get to the finals and maybe win it all. He is that dominant! The Spurs’s bigs simply put are not as good as the Lakers’s.  As we know Bonner can space the floor but can not defend and when chased from the 3 point line becomes a non factor.  Tiago is neither strong enough nor long enough to bother Bynum but can be effective on Gasol. But if he starts along Duncan he would have to play in the post and Duncan would have to be the floor spacer thereby taking him away from the post which is taking away our best rebounder, shot blocker and post defender.  Blair is a non factor against this front line.and should play limited minutes, if any, against the Lakers. The best solution maybe to start Duncan on Bynum, and  Diaw on Gasol. Diaw has to score and  he is  capable. You lose the 3 point shooting of Bonner but you gain a more effective defender and a more skilled offensive player with Diaw. He can body up on Gasol and bother him. Despite the disparity in rebounding the game would have been closer had Parker and Manu scored more. Let’s not forget that Gary Neal’s contribution was sorely lacking tonight. However, the reality is that we have no answers for a focused and motivated Bynum and a focused and motivated World Peace. Gasol can be nullified through physical play but not Bynum and Peace.  If Kobe plays tonight those two players do not get as many touches and maybe its a different outcome. Tonight is the best I have seen the Lakers play all season. We will see what adjustments, if any, Popovich makes for Tuesday. I think it will be a test and a glimpse of whether the spurs can win it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-Thomas/1541940034 Craig Thomas

    I did not see the game, but from what I heard, it was a flashback to the Memphis series last year. That being said, I hope this was the wake-up call the Spurs need before the playoffs to get their shit together because it’s crunch time. Counter to what you may hear, rebounding is not all about height, but rather heart. Bynum doesn’t get 30 rebs by just standing there. Blair’s fat-ass should be able to push him away from the basket when a shot goes up because he is lower to the floor. The rebounding stats were embarrassing. Pop should package this as a warning to the Spurs to show up or risk getting destroyed like tonight.

    As much as TP has been touted as the “MVP” of the team, it’s not showing up in big games like this that make Spurs fans question his value. 4pts on 2/12 shooting with 8 dimes is a LeChoke James performance reminiscent of what he did in the Grizzlies series. When you’re playing Ramon Sessions (average defender) and Steve Blake (overrated and slow defender) you should be pillaging the Lakers on the pick-and-roll. How in the world is he not blowing by those guys or popping a jumper with a slow Gasol hedge or and even slower Bynum hedge on the pick? Of all the teams in the NBA, the Lakers are one of the worst in defending the pick-and-roll. How we did not exploit this with Parker or Ginobili is mind-boggling. I wish I could have seen what exactly when wrong, but the box score points to our bigs (or lack thereof) not even trying on the glass, and TP having an atrocious game. 

  • junierizzle

    I think the most disturbing thing was the play of TP. He was not in attack mode. Yes the Lakers have length but why is that guards like Dragic, Jarrod Jack, Westbrook, CP 3, etc can get to the rim against LA but not TP or Manu. I’ll tell you why, because TP and Manu,TP especially, stop trying just because they get blocked once. I love TP but he shrank after Bynum blocked him and it effected his shooting.

    I also like how Metta has stunk all year but had the game of the season. On a side note I think the rest really took the Big three out of rhythm. And it’s easy for Bynum to eat up the boards when The Spurs can’t hit a shot. Some of it was the Lakers D but they still got a ton of good looks.

  • junierizzle

    And please can teams stop giving Gasol all that space. All he has to do is square up and shoot. He’s been known to hit that shot once or twice.

  • Bentley

    I just saw a soft Spurs team out there tonight that was beaten in every aspect of that game, you could just tell the Lakers came ready to play and the Spurs were going through the motions, especially offensively. I blame Pop for that. But as far our defense and rebounding, a lot of us have been saying it for a while now, this team will go nowhere without better D and a big man to help TD up front, otherwise we will get destroyed by the Grizzlies, Lakers, and Thunders of the league. 

    I just can’t see this team making it out of the second round this year and its a shame that we’ve known what we’ve needed for years now (a reliable big man next to TD) but we still havent even attempted to address the issue

  • Deeds130

    LAL completely spanked SA last season, too.  There is very little that is suprising about tonight’s game.  Honestly, Bryant makes “his” team more beatable, b/c he confuses their identity, takes bad shots, and turns Artest into a spectator. But Bryant wants to win, and in a playoff series, “his” bigs will make an impact. With that team, they beat themselves more than they actually get beaten… they can so easily lapse into disfuntionality. 

    SA is the opposite, they overachieve and rarely beat themselves. We simply haven’t had the personnel in the Bonner-era for these kind of matchups. I don’t know why people act surprised by these kind of nights. 

    I have to wearily agree with Jesse that even a TD + Splitter pairing isn’t enough size to win such a matchup night in and night out, unless their stars heads get in their own way.  That kind of self-sabotage could happen, but we can’t really count on it.  Remember, we’re just not that great defensively, and no amount of Kool-aid changes that fact. All I can think is that too-familiar thought: Tyson Chandler is the one that got away (not that RC Buford went after him when CHA was chopping salary… why would he? He had to figure out how to sign Bonner and RJ that summer. Oh well, I guess.)

  • chippwalters

    I suspect this is the outcome of what happens when your coach tells his team he doesn’t care about extending a hard fought 11 win streak by not even playing *any* of the big three. 

    Let’s see, did the rest help? Tim had 2 rebounds while his opponent grabbed 30. Tony went 2 for 12 and wasn’t any kind of factor. Manu couldn’t even hit his free throws.

    While I know Pop can turn his desire to win ON and OFF, game to game, I’m not so sure the players can so easily do the same.

    The next game with Memphis tomorrow night will be big. If they get wiped, then it will appear the Spurs are in repeat mode of last year, where they clearly peaked before the playoffs. I hope it’s not the case.

    Re: Bynum. I think it was Shawn who mentioned Malik Rose would get low on big bigs and box out. The way it works (Spurs, I hope you’re reading this) is to box out, when the big guy behind you goes up, you back up and he ends up on the floor. Nothing too new, but it’s legal and a great equalizer when you have one guy dominating the boards. Blair should figure this out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-Thomas/1541940034 Craig Thomas

    I wish people understood this. The second Blair’s huge behind hits Bynum below the waist with some force, he’s not going to be worried about getting the next board but instead about the future of his manhood. No matter your size, if you put a body on a bigger guy and push his ass backwards, he can’t jump over you and get a rebound without an over the back call. Awful rebounding by our posts.

  • Bob

    Does anybody still think Blair is the answer?

  • theghostofjh

    There’s several points I want to briefly hit on.

    First, IMO, the grading by Jesse is WAY off for tonight’s game (except for TP, Manu, and Green). For example, the idea that our best rebounder gets a “B-” for getting TWO rebounds in 24 minutes is laughable in a game we got outrebounded 60-33, and 16 to ONE on the offensive glass. On the other hand, Blair, who did not have a good game (partly because our guards sucked), got 4 rebounds in 13 minutes and gets an “F”. Blair deserved a “D”, and Duncan a “C”. And Bonner, he gets a “B-” because the Lakers are dumb enough to leave him wide open at the 3-point arc, and so he makes 3 of them in 19 minutes, along with ONE measly rebound. Uh … sorry, but that is not a “B-“, not when the team was never really in the game, and REBOUNDING was the MAIN problem in the game from the get-go. Mills gets a “C-” because he launches several ill advised, way off the mark deep shots, going 3-11, with 7 points in 21 minutes. Sorry, but that’s a D+ at best. Jackson a “B-” for 6 points in 25 minutes on a night we needed some scoring and play making? No, I’ll give him a “C”, for his rebounds!

    Also, the idea that based on this ONE game we have to make some rash changes to our starting line-up is silly. Like the “free association” that, gee, maybe Bonner or Splitter should start? Umm … not a good idea, for a number of reasons I won’t bother to enumerate.

    But there are two main points that we have to “fully” come to terms with at present, one about the game tonight, and one about the Spurs/Laker match-up in general.

    (1) This was a LOUSY game by our ENTIRE TEAM tonight. Almost all our players appeared to be going through the motions. We were flat. Our guard play was passive and careless. ALL our forwards/centers were simply not ready to battle on the boards tonight — at all. You have to GANG rebound against LA, with the EXPECTATION that Bynum would be as active as he was tonight. We were simply lazy, unprepared, and unfocused during the entire, meaningful part of the game. Pop deserves some blame here, but all the players even more so. But the point is, all you can really say about this one game is that sometimes these things happen. We just sucked TONIGHT, but it’s far from the end of the world. I expect the team will bounce back strong on the road tomorrow night. NO need to panic.

    (2) The second point is, we need to drop the expectation that we’re going to battle Bynum and Gasol to anything close to a draw with the bigs we have, regardless of who starts, or who comes off the bench. Bynum is by far, along with Howard, the most dominant center in the entire NBA at scoring and rebounding in the low block. He’s got great size, great youth, and great talent. NO ONE GUY on our front line is going to slow him down (TD in his prime, yes, now when Bynum is on his game, NO). That said, as a TEAM, we can slow him down a bit by getting super physical with him, and frustrating his rhythm. However, this has to be done by sending guard wings at him constantly; periodically darting toward him the moment he puts the ball on the floor, attempting to disrupt his dribble without fouling, and just being a real pest in and out of his space. And even more importantly, our bigs have to be MUCH more physical with him with box outs in the paint. The fact is, you have to go to WAR with him down low, and we have to use a tag-team approach to do it, even if we put him at the line, and it fouls out a big or two by late in the game (not Duncan of course, which I’m not worried about anyway because TD’s an expert at being effective, but not fouling). We simply cannot allow him to to rule the paint as he did tonight. And we must defend and rebound “aggressively” as a team.

    As an example from tonight: Green 3 rebounds in 27 minutes – not gonna cut it against this LAL team; Diaw 2 rebounds in 17 minutes – not gonna cut it; Duncan 2 rebounds in 24 minutes – not gonna cut it; Splitter 2 rebounds in 15 minutes – not gonna cut it; Bonner 1 rebound in 20 minutes – not gonna cut it; and Blair 4 rebounds in 13 minutes – not gonna cut it. You get the picture.

    And the other thing about this match-up? Our guards and wings have to win the battle decisively against LA. We have the talent and depth to do that. We have the shooting skills to do that. Tonight we failed horribly. This must also be atoned for in the rematch. Let me provide just two clues: ball movement and dribble-drive penetration.

  • theghostofjh

    I hate to tell you, but THE SPURS don’t have an “answer” for Bynum. And neither does virtually the entire league. In addition, I wouldn’t read too much into one game.

  • chippwalters

    Yup. good point on the grading. Ridiculous that Timmy received a B- and especially Mills a C- for his forced and poor shooting. Like I said, I suspect the players have a harder time ‘turning it on’ and ‘off’ like Pop can. This was a hangover game from the Utah debacle. Maybe now everyone is ready to play.

  • theghostofjh

    Good point about boxing out Bynum (and Gasol too for that matter).

  • theghostofjh

    Yes, that was one of several key problems for our team tonight. All our bigs were not physical or aggressive enough.

  • theghostofjh

    ” …… this team will go nowhere without better D and a big man to help TD up front …”

    Yes, but TD has to also accept some responsibility for tonight’s beating. TWO rebounds in 24 minutes simply doesn’t cut it. And he’s the leader of our bigs..

  • theghostofjh

    Yes, he’d prefer that open mid-range jumper over driving toward the rack. And he’s not overly quick off the dribble either.

  • theghostofjh

    ‘I think the most disturbing thing was the play of TP. He was not in attack mode.”

    Agree. he’s our catalyst, especially against LA, and he was clearly asleep at the wheel tonight. Did he, TD, and Manu go out partying during our road game against the Jazz?!

  • Len

    This was a disturbing game, no doubt.  It rekindled our concerns from the Memphis debacle and was just a flat out embarrassment.  But, the Spurs under Pop just lay 3-4 eggs per regular season with maybe 1 more in the playoffs.  As much as I can remember, they always have.  It’s just one of those things.  And the Spurs usually bounce back from their annual eggs with a ton more focus and energy.  I expect nothing less against Memphis.

  • sdedalus83

     Duncan did a great job of forcing Bynum into bad shots, and blocked 3 of them.  He was also getting good position for rebounds but wasn’t boxing out(neither was any other Spur for that matter), allowing Bynum to tip the ball from behind without getting called for over the back.  From what I saw, most of Bynum’s points came on second, third, or even fourth chances.

    Duncan’s passiveness in establishing position, and sloppiness on the part of everyone else, led directly to Bynum’s monster stat line.

    Offensively they were getting what they wanted when they attacked.  Unfortunately, unlike Bynum who kept at it no matter how many times Duncan forced him into a bad shot/blocked him/deflected him, they gave up and settled for bad midrange jumpers at the first sign of resistance.

    Artest was having the night of his life.  Fallaway, contested threes, behind the backboard prayers, even what looked like an alley-oop pass to no one, everything was going in for him.

    Despite all of that, the game was within 5 at the half, despite Bynum’s absurd 10-20-2.  At that point it was annoying but they still should have won the game.  Then the Lakers went on a 10-2 run to start the third, and the Spurs rolled over and died, throwing up crappy rushed midrange 2 after crappy rushed midrange 2.

    Hopefully Pop was trying to embarrass his players into getting their crap together.  If he just threw in the towel, this team is ripe for a meltdown.

  • Bob

     TD + Splitter gives you a fight chance because you’re not struggling so hard to defend and rebound in the post.

  • Bob

     Next time Pop throws games for rest he should at least make sure the team is ready to play the next game. So if they had played in the Jazz game they would have played worse?

  • Lvmainman

    Wow, that was pathetic. The Hornets scored 91 points on this team with ZERO fastbreak pts. The Suns had 125, the Rockets 112, and the Clippers 108, but the Spurs only 84???

    The big 3 looked like they took 2 weeks off, instead of 2 days. Parker was atrocious, Ginobili got stripped on every drive to the basket, and Duncan missed uncontested jumpers, bankshots, and post ups on Barnes. Terrible.

    A Kobe-less Lakers team at home with rested players and the Spurs can’t even compete? Depressing.

  • Miggy

    I’m curious about playoff minutes. Currently Duncan and Tiago take up exactly 48 minutes of playing time between them (28.4 and 19.6 respectively). Duncan and Tiago play no time together during the regular season. In the playoffs, I expect that Duncan will get more than 30 minutes a game. Does that mean that Tiago will get less than 18? Befuddled. I don’t think playing Tiago less in the playoffs would be a wise thing.

  • Bry

    It’s just a bad game, people. It happens. World Peace played out of his mind, and Bynum went crazy. It happens. The Spurs were missing open high-percentage shots (which allowed LA to sit back, go under screens, and cheat out) while the Lakers were hitting awful low-percentage shots (just look at World Peace’s shot selection). When those two things combine, you can’t win. Everybody had a bad game, and the Lakers clearly have some advantages when playing without a shameless ball-hogging rapist. Panic-mode sets in again in the post-game comments, and suddenly everyone acts as if everybody in the league accept for SA has an answer for Bynum and Gasol. Relax people. On a different night the Spurs can and do beat the Lakers. I mean, do you think they got crushed and humiliated in a sweep last year through dumb luck. They have obviously weaknesses that are predictably exploited when two of their players don’t have freakish nights. Forget this game and move on to the next.

  • Bob

     Rhythm has a lot to do with it. The Lakers completely disrupted the Spurs rhythm. That’s why they were missing open shots.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Splitter on Gasol and Timmy on Bynum is and will always be bettee than what we saw last night period. I have been saying this all season especially when it comes to plating teams like this. Screw the spacing those guards have to do their jobs as well. I guarantee you Splitter will have less trouble with Gasol than Timmy with Bynum so. They have to do this or just throw the towel in when they come up against theae teams. As much as Pop wants Blair to be the right fit he nwwda to give up that notion. Not in this case.

  • Dan

    So…what we REALLY need is for the clips to pass the Lakers into the 3 spot. Let Memphis and LAL beat up on each other on the OTHER side of the bracket. Houston/Dallas/Denver/Clippers don’t worry me. LAL and Memphis do.

    Lets go Lob City!!

  • Zach R.

    It was just so disgusting to hear all of those idiot Lakers fans on the broadcast.  I know it’s been the scenario for quite some time now, but it was just awful yesterday.

  • Bentley

    Agreed. Counter length with length, they might have had the advantage but it would’ve been nullified to a certain extent. Besides, it’s not like all that “spacing” paid dividends in our offense last night anyway

  • Chromao

    Five things I saw:

    1- Dejuan Blair played, when he shold be on the bench with the warning “Kid, you are 6’7″ and these guys are 7’1”. I won’t play you against the Lakers and Grizzlies unless you develop a 15-to-17-feet shoot like Karl Malone and Carlos Boozer. Enjoy your posse’
    2- The Spurs were in awe of the Lakers frontcourt (copyright: Sean Elliot at halftime). It was like “there is no point in trying to get a offensive rebound or trying to box out a defensive rebound agains these guys”. 
    3- Once you dare an oponent to shoot, like we did against Mo Williams in the Clippers game and Metta World Peace yesterday, and the dude starts knocking them down and get confortable and confident, it is a clear sign that the plan backfired and should be revoked! I do not know if it is out of stubborness or refusal to admit his mistake, but Pop neve reversed the plan, and both Mo Williams and Metta World Peace had season highs agains us. 
    4- The thing got so ugly with the awe and rebounding and 3-pt-shooting daring yesterday that Gasol was trying threes with the full knowledge that Bynum would get the rebound if he missed
    5- (this one I did not see, I am afraid I will see tonight) The Spurs is going to face the real Grizzlies tonight. The Grizzlies we dispatch twice at the beginning of the season was not the real thing. 

  • Thaddeus Clark

    While it was extremely disappointing to watch this game I’ll chalk-it-up as an anomaly. 

    The Lakers are almost last in the league in 3pt shooting and hit 6 in the first quarter.

    Parker and Mills shot over 20 shots combined and hit only 4.
    Bynum nearly tripled his rebound average.

    Artest hit everything he threw in the sky. 

    And I don’t think the Spurs will get out-rebounded this severely ever again. 

    There is one silver lining: Jackson and to some degree Leonard were playing effective defense in stretches on Gasol. Jackson was forceful and (I’m speculating) Pop saw this and immediately pulled-him from-the-game (hopefully to use later). Both Leonard and Jackson were able to block Gasol jumpshots and there’s no way he’s dribbling by them. 

    In the last 2 years Bonner was able to play surprisingly good defense on Artest. Hopefully Pop remembers that going forward. 

    I think in the next 2 games vs. the Lakers we’ll see Duncan, Diaw, and Blair try to limit Bynum while using Jackson, Leonard, & Bonner on Gasol.

    Yes the Lakers are long, but historically the guy the Spurs had no answer for whatsoever was Odom. He’s no longer there.

    I think this was a good and humbling loss especially after two 11 game win streaks in the last few months and the possible ascension to the #1 seed. 

    Also OKC lost last night so there was no effect on the 1/2 seedings. 

  • Chromao

    There was an unfortunate effect on the 2/3 difference, though.

  • Jimbo

    Very true.  The Spurs, like last year, have really over-achieved.  They have a fair number of holes on this roster that they disguised well, but a good opposing frontcourt is too much for them. 

  • Dr. McCoy

    Unfortunatly, I didn’t watch the game either, but looking at the stats & the minutes played, to me, I just did not see any long minutes played (no one went over 30) nor did it sound like that this team’s heart was in it either. Was it a design, knowing of the greuling back to back games with the Lake Show & Memphis, so you pick your poison & focus on the second team, instead of trying to play hard & grind it out, so you tank one game for the other? Hmmm… Perhaps not, but then again…. POP! POP! POP! Perhaps Pop is not worried about the standings right now, but is worried about his team’s health & well being. It was clear that the Lakers came ready to play, & the Spurs just rolled over & played dead. OK, OK, they did go through the motion, but we will see how they will respond to tonight’s game, but indeed length was a issue last night.  

  • Deeds130

    Blair has shown poor attention to boxing out all season. And now you want him to be Malik Rose? The coaching staff deserves alot of criticism here. It’s been obvious for 2-3 years that, if nothing else, we NEED a bigger impact from DJB and Splitter in order to win playoff basketball. That means a bigger role, and in the case of Blair, a clearly defined role based on his skill set. Last year, Pop spent all season trying to turn Heavy D into an Antonio McDyess power forward… it hasn’t worked, he still can’t shoot. it’s on Blair to bring a dialed in midrange game back from the summer, if it all. But, these coaches need to RELENTLESSLY instruct, and secondly, DEMAND, active physical Rose-like D from this kid. Robert Horry might be the worst thing that ever happened to Greg Popovich’s brain… If we get this kind of treatment in the playoffs, will Popovich see the light? In the meantime, do we really think Blair will master this important role? Will the coaches even coach him on it appropriately? To my mind, we should have been seeing that being instilled since December… what we’ve seen instead is Blair and Splitter be misused, underused, and underdeveloped. It’s been exasperating to watch for
    years now.

  • ZeusVizzle

    I’m trying to find a reasoning behind this debacle of a performance the Spurs laid upon us Wednesday night. All I can think of is, as we have seen in seasons past, that there will be a few ugly, disheartening losses to hot teams. One of them happened earlier to Miami (when the Spurs had an amazing first half lead turn into an unconscionable 21 point loss). This game against the Lakers was a facsimile of that Heat game, in terms of demoralization and after-effect.

    But the silver and black lining to this is that for one we haven’t met the Lakers before this year, so the outcome was a wash since we had no previous experience with their gameplay to base ourselves on. Two: Mike Brown is very familiar with facets of the Spurs offense (unfortunately for us having been groomed by Pop) so the pupil taught his sensei a thing or two with the knowledge he gained from his years in San Antonio.

    So, this is the most important caveat to take away from Wednesday night: Popovich didn’t deviate from his gameplan. To some, this is an extraordinarily frustrating and unfathomable realization, taking into account that the Spurs were being annihilated on the boards. It could have been remedied by inserting Tiago with Tim, some might claim; however, this lack of an in-game change means that Pop isn’t flying by the seam of his pants. He’s not delving into a reactionary mode that fans oftentimes do when the chips are down. He stuck to his guns, or as a captain he sunk with his ship. In that aspect, you have to admire that fact that he didn’t allow a regular season game to alter his mindset and season-long goal of making a run in the postseason. Why change things now, if nobody is getting injured or being run into the ground? It makes sense to play everyone the same amount of minutes and roles as always.

    The Lakers, on the other hand, are at a very high risk of running the ragged knees of Bynum into the ground, and injuring Pau in a freak calamity ala Manu at the end of last year. Bryant, as it were, happened to be sitting in street clothes for the fact that he was having a high-usage rate that was bordering on overkill. Right now Pop can say he isn’t doing the same.

    Now, we have another game to lament this loss and ruminate the what-ifs, but we’ll see in the coming 10 games whether these sparse “break-out games” that Artest and Bynum had Wednesday, or LeBron had in January, are outliers to our amazing season or actually a cause for concern.

  • Deeds130

    Sorry bro, this game wasn’t exactly an anomaly. Yes the Spurs could have played better, and hopefully it was a wakeup call for everyone, including the coaching staff. But this team remains too like the Suns to predict a different outcome against these kind of teams, these kind of teams that are built for the playoffs. Look, even Houston has shown the unparalleled merits of aggression and size. Finese is not gonna get it done. It’s not an anomaly when you see our obvious weaknesses, our resume since 2009, our style of play. It’d be an anomaly coming against, Toronto, to be sure. The Clippers, or Denver. Even OKC. But these kinds of teams, no. We have to be able to get into “a bar fight.” And I haven’t seen that in our toolbox. At all.

  • Bob

     I’ve been saying the same thing that Horry was the worse thing to happen to the Spurs. Pop forgets that Horry was a power forward first and happened to hit 3’s. He can’t just use a guy that’s shoots 3’s and is 6’10 for that role.

  • Bob

     Grizzlies will be a good game.

  • junierizzle

    I agree. Kevin Love says all the time that rebounding is won on the ground. Bynum is just lucky he is so tall. It’s hard not to call a dude that grabbed 30 boards a good rebounder but I will. He is not a great rebounder. He’s just tall and a lot of the balls just go to him. You can improve your chances by, like you said, boxing out.

  • junierizzle

    True. Let’s be real, even with the emergence of Bynum, this Lakers team isn’t great. They have the worst bench in the league, and every team in the league has taken it to them. The SPURS on the other hand, I just don’t get it. I honestly was expecting The Spurs to blow them out. I think the Spurs just check out mentally against them. Just look at how TP played.

  • junierizzle

    I agree. THe Lakers have been inconsistent all year. They played loose because they had no Kobe. Eventually Kobe will shoot them out of a series.  The Lakers have the worst bench in the league and no way they win the title this year, but they match up well against the SPurs. And that’s all that matters. That’s why everyone is freaking out. TP shrivels up after one block, Manu gets stripped, TD can’t hit his wide-open jumper, Bonner starts pump-faking, etc. And for the Lakers, let’s see, Blake, Metta, Barnes, guys that haven’t made shots all year, suddenly make em. It’s the perfect storm. Our only hope is the selfishness of KOBE. God help the West if Kobe decides Bynum should be the focal point, but he won’t. He knows he won’t get the credit if Bynum becomes the go-to guy.

  • theghostofjh

    The issue last night was more a lack of toughness and aggression from our WHOLE TEAM, especially from ALL of our bigs. Everyone of them got manhandled in the paint. Spacing is not the issue with playing Splitter with Duncan, it’s that it hurts our bench (and TEAM) to not have Splitter anchor the defense on the second unit.