El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 108, Los Angeles Lakers 105
|Tim Duncan, PF 29 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | +8
Tim Duncan has hit a bit of a lull offensively recently in somewhat of a chicken-before-the-egg debate. The Spurs offense has hit a snag the last three games, and either the lack of precision has cost Duncan the easy looks he uses to supplement his scoring averages and efficiency, or Duncan’s struggles have bogged down the Spurs offense some. Probably a little bit of both. The important part is Duncan continues to protect the rim.
|Tiago Splitter, PF 35 MIN | 5-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -4
Offensively played about as perfect a game as one could expect from Tiago Splitter. He cut hard, finished at the rime, and drew and took advantage of his free throw attempts. Before the game Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Splitter is “our guy” regardless of the opponent. With the Lakers turning to smaller lineups Splitter was moved away from the basket and taken advantage of a few times, but his offense and rebounding (!) tonight more than made up for it.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 33 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | -12
After the game Popovich called Kawhi Leonard the star of the game, praising Leonard for his defense of Kobe Bryant (who shot 10-24). It was the only praise Popovich gave anyone. And indeed few people have ever stayed step-for-step with Bryant in the manner Leonard did tonight. Literally every shot was earned the hard way. Offensively Leonard was efficient with the ball, though perhaps one big corner three-pointer away from supplanting Bruce Bowen as everyone’s favorite small forward.
|Tony Parker, PG 35 MIN | 10-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 24 PTS | +1
Tony Parker was efficient in his shot selection, and he really never will struggle to create his own shots against this Lakers team. But afterwards Popovich lamented the overall tempo and precision of the offense and ultimately that falls on the star point guard and his six turnovers.
|Danny Green, SG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -4
There were a few moments of hesitation from Green on the offensive end. Though he shot a more-than-respectable percentage he left some shots on the floor on a the Lakers generally ignored him on the defensive end.
|Stephen Jackson, SF 18 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +4
A lack of composure nearly cost the Spurs the game, allowing two quick technical fouls and a Kobe Bryant three to cut the Spurs lead in half on one possession. It’s a shame because Stephen Jackson essentially put the game away (4-6 from three) before giving it back.
|Boris Diaw, C 27 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 PTS | +12
Worked on the defensive glass, swiped a few steals, and made a number of nice passes.
|Gary Neal, PG 17 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -1
Struggled with a few turnovers, which makes what would have been an acceptable 5-12 shooting a less than stellar outing.
|Manu Ginobili, SG 28 MIN | 6-14 FG | 5-6 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 19 PTS | +11
Struggled with his three-point shot some tonight but continued his recent trends of getting to the free throw line and rim, dunking twice in the same game for the first time in what feels like an eternity.
There was no key coaching adjustment tonight. No failing either. The Spurs are simply a better team, which is a result of the season–long process Popovich has implemented. Would say his team struggled to play with the proper tempo and were undoubtedly sloppy tonight. The Spurs are on a bit of a downward trend as of late, so we’ll see how he adjusts.
Five Things We Saw
- The Los Angeles Lakers began the game scoring on a couple of Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant isolation plays while the Spurs earned layups in transition and open shots by working their system. One trend held up just a bit longer than the other.
- On defense Kobe Bryant always seemed to be near the ball, which in this case wasn’t necessarily a good thing. He lost his man a few times and put the Lakers’ defense in some compromising positions.
- Metta World Peace was the opposite, gathering seven steals–often by simply ripping the ball from the Spurs hands. World Peace was a bit of a problem for the Spurs tonight, which ended up somewhat enjoyable if only because we got to hear Popovich refer to him as World Peace after the game.
- The Lakers’ season in a nutshell: Kobe Bryant drains a three-pointer from 30-feet out in Duncan’s face–shooting from the “S” in the Spurs halfcourt logo. Then on the ensuing defensive possession he leaves Danny Green wide open for a three-pointer he converted on. Everyone will remember the shooting barrage he went on, almost no one will point out the defensive breakdowns. Moments of individual brilliance offset by the simplest of breakdowns.
- Stephen Jackson is having a terrible shooting year, except on (expletive)-you shots. He’s shooting about 70 percent from that range and was 4-6 tonight before his emotions got the better of him and almost cost the Spurs the game.