El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 121, Los Angeles Lakers 97

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Los Angeles Lakers 97 Final

Recap | Box Score

121 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 26 MIN | 10-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | +26Last year Tim Duncan was a good, solid player. This year he is a legitimate match up problem once again. There is a large difference between the two, and the Spurs surge in the second half of the season coincides with Duncan own reemergence as a fundamental force.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 19 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +13Made Kobe Bryant work for his shots, even if the final box score doesn’t show it. Hit a few corner three-pointers. He’s not Bruce Bowen, not by a long shot, but those first two sentences are a familiar formula for success.
Tiago Splitter, C 20 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +2Worked the glass and had his usual floor game, but got into a little bit of foul trouble.
Tony Parker, PG 28 MIN | 8-14 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 10 AST | 20 PTS | +24Even in a game where he wasn’t going supernova, as he did earlier in the week, Tony Parker still completely exploited the Lakers pick and roll defense and set the tone for the game. If being a point guard is about setting the proper pace, this game was clearly under Parker’s command.
Daniel Green, G 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +20Solid effort from Danny Green in a season full of them. I absolutely trust in Green headed into the playoffs.
Stephen Jackson, SG 22 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -2Still finding his way in the offense, but the defensive effort is noteworthy and the size he brings on the on the wings is a big difference maker from last year.
Matt Bonner, PF 18 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -1There was a sequence, matched up with Pau Gasol, where Matt Bonner absolutely got after it on defense, forcing a shot clock violation. There were also a couple times he struggled to recover to Gasol popping out. A lot of big men have this problem. He’s not a great or good defender by any means, but he’s far from the complete liability some make him out to be.
Boris Diaw, PF 24 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +19In the small sample size that has been his Spurs career, Diaw has proven to be somewhat of an expert at defending jump-shooting European seven-footers. The extra aggression on offense is a revelation.
Manu Ginobili, SG 25 MIN | 6-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 20 PTS | +15GINOBILI!!!! The play where he caught and delivered a bullet of a pass to Matt Bonner in one motion was an absolute thing of beauty. And a thing of beauty is a joy forever. My man Keats said that.
Gary Neal, PG 19 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -4Vastly improved from a year ago in creating his own shot and settling into his role as backup point guard, even if pressure still gets to him from time to time. Gary Neal is proving to be quite a bit more than a three-point specialist.
DeJuan Blair, F 7 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +2Good effort in garbage minutes. There will be other matchups for Blair, but this will not be one of them.
James Anderson, SG 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +3Was on the court for three minutes.
Patrick Mills, PG 3 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +3I’m going to continue running with my theory that the Spurs are undefeated in playoff series with an Australian player on the roster.

Five Things We Saw

  1. After getting steamrolled by Andrew Bynym for 30 rebounds, the San Antonio Spurs have held the Lakers big man to a combined five in the last two games. The Spurs beat the Lakers on the glass tonight 42-29. Furthermore, they have clearly frustrated Bynum at times with swarming double teams leading to errant passes. He is still a monster, but he is a manageable one.
  2. The San Antonio Spurs have won four straight games (in five days no less) by 20 or more points, and their last six by double digits.
  3. The Big Three scored 20 points each for the first time since April 1, 2011 and seem to be peaking at the right time. Each displayed signature moments from their prime, from Duncan finishing a driving “and-one”, and Tony Parker’s repeated forays into the paint, to Ginobili’s pass and breakneck change of directions.
  4. For all the talk about the matchup problems the Lakers present the Spurs (and they legitimately do) based off last year’s playoffs, it’s easy to forget how much the Lakers struggled defending J.J. Barea in pick and rolls. My point, if I have one, is this: The Spurs struggled against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, two all-world post players. The Lakers struggled with Barea. The gap between Barea and Parker is much bigger than the gap between the Grizzlies and Lakers front lines.
  5. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better pick and roll team than the San Antonio Spurs. Ever. Sure, there have been more prominent signature pick and roll pairings—Stockton-to-Malone, Nash-to-Stoudemire—but as a team?
  • NYC

    Hey what happened to the site the last couple of days? You guys get infected with a virus?

  • neverthehero

    Runs like this, it begs the question, do you care about what comes at the end or do you enjoy the journey just as much?…maybe the Spurs will fall short, but how the hell can you not enjoy the 4-20 point plus wins and two insane bullet passes from MANU (I forget when he made his first bullet pass, sorry)…….. The sublime passes , just everything has been a joy this past month when actually getting to see the Spurs ( I don’t have time to pay for the NBA season pass)….

  • grego

    “Tony Parker’s last two vs. LAL: 49 points, 23 assists. Spurs will win a lot of games with those averages”

    Per https://twitter.com/#!/JMcDonald_SAEN/status/193561499875282945

  • NYC

    I have to disagree with giving an A to Neal. He stopped the ball and/or dribbled too much. Got trapped several times or plain lost the ball. I thought there was a stretch in the second half where he wasn’t getting his teammates involved, just putting up one-and-done jumpers. It may have been during garbage time. When he was playing off the ball, he was great and hitting his shots. Off his own dribble… not so good. Have to completely disagree with you on this one.

    The only other glaring weak spot I noticed was that Jackson still takes too many long, bad shots. But he gave us great defense and quieted down Ron Ar….I mean… Metta WorldPeace. WorldPeace was starting to pick up where he left off from Apr. 11. Then I noticed Jackson was placed on him and then didn’t hear much from him afterward.

    If we meet the Lakers, I think the blueprint for shutting them down is to shut down their role players. Kobe is going to get his. Bynum will get his. Tonight we made Gasol a spectator. WorldPeace and Matt Barnes did some damage but were ultimately contained. Sessions got into foul trouble and made himself a spectator. We do have to work on containing him. Blake got abused. No one else really stepped up. We can live with Kobe and Bynum scoring 20+ if we shut down everyone else and keep their bigs off the boards. The future is looking bright!

  • Deeds130 (aka td4life)

    I have to agree with point #5. Awesome.

    Great point with #4, also. This team is really good, and vs LAL, Tony sets the tone. Timmy is absolutely VITAL in this matchup as well. What’s funny to watch is how Pau especially just doesn’t seem to enjoy KB’s teammate, trying so hard to be the perfect role-player on Bryant’s team. Bynum, meanwhile, and I’ve posted this here before, is still too green to depend on through a series at this stage in his career. Timmy is just SOOOO MUCH more in his element, than those other guys are. That said, should we meet them again, we will need to play with the same urgency we saw tonight, and hopefully we’ll hit our shots just the same.

    The highlight play was a tremendous sequence in which Tiago’s hustle got me out if my seat before Manu even touched the ball!…
    Gary Neal is versatile true, but the tradeoff is we don’t get those huge nights out of him that he delivered as a SG last season… I now find myself expecting Matt Bonner to dribble inside on his touches… Is Jax our worst offensive player? I almost never think his shots are going in.

  • http://facebook.com/ryan.mcshane Ryan McShane

    Where’s jabber-jaw @theghostofjh??? Splitter > Blair against bigger front lines!

  • Matthew

    Gary Neal makes me extremely nervous when he dribbles, but I like the effort and the sharp-shooting ability.

  • Junierizzle

    I can’t believe the roll they are on. They’ve looked like Harlem Globetrotters Vs The Washington Generals this week. Diaw is looking like his old Phoenix Suns days out there. I honestly thought he would just be used sparingly. I didn’t think he would be completely rejuvenated. I predict he will have one monster game in the playoffs.

  • TK

    Holy crap, the Spurs are on a totally different level right now. This team could beat the Shaq Kobe Lakers and possibly even the ’96 Bulls. I’m completely blown away by them. And Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the league not named Doc. How he get’s guys like Leonard and Danny Green to play that well is amazing.

  • Bankshot21

    Forget TP for a moment. I think we are witnessing what happens when the entire SPURS team goes SUPERNOVA. I believe the 30 rebound game by Bynum and the media thinking they found the kink in our armor may have really awoken the sleeping giant that was and is our beloved Spurs. Yeah we were winning games but now we are STEAM ROLLING the league.

  • Easy B

    The result is great but I think the spurs need to analyze the tape and look at the end of the first through to the end of the second. The pace then was more like the playoffs and the spurs had issues. Given, TP just turned the tide when he is inserted, but the team needs to prepare for playing well at a different tempo, which I think they can, because of the depth.
    I’m very positive that our guys are going to take it home this year…but we will have some proper battles before its all said and done

  • Random Fan

    In the Manual Ginobili review, “And a thing of beauty is a joy forever. My man Keats said that.” White Men Can’t Jump reference maybe?

  • http://www.awakeat2oclock.com John Dini

    The whole team looked great. The key word here is team. Passing crisply. When one player missed an assignment or dribbled off his foot (Manu!) someone else was hustling to make it up.

    I disagree with two “B” grades. Tiago deserves more recognition. Until he went out with his third foul (one of which was iffy, and one just bogus)he had held Gasol to 4 points in the first quarter and a half. What do you want?

    And Jacko deserves less. He may be helping on D, but on offense when the ball is in his hands all movement stops. Everyone just watches Jack dribble and look for a lane to the basket, where he tries to bull his way through or realizes it’s hopeless and kicks a last second pass that is frequently touched. He and Ginobili seem to be running different playbooks, and Manu is clearly frustrated at not knowing where Jack is going to be on the floor.

  • Bentley

    It seems like it’s a rare even when the Spurs DON’T score 110+ points. My goodness.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Don’t look now but I’m thinking Diaw could be starting a lot of playoff games. He can shoot, he can rebound, he can defend bigs (real ones), he can pass and knows the Spurs system so very good with good BBIQ to boot. No reason not to.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Does anybody here think Blair can guard Artest? I just don’t like when Artest muscles his way down low. Is Blair quick enough to guard him should we meet them in the WCF? If so that would mean either Green or Leonard would sit while Blair is on the court. I only mean for short spells to disrupt any flow they intend to get on.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Sorry for all the posts but just saying one more loss for the Bulls (at the hands of the Mavericks)and we win out would be nice to have home court through out. Should we go for it or not? (Playing some of our big 3)

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    A+ for the “White Men Can’t Jump” reference.

  • Jimbo

    The Lakers could give the Spurs a tough time in the playoffs when the pace slows down, but I think the coaching advantage the Spurs have would make the difference. I’ve never been impressed with Mike Brown as a head coach.

    @Titletown, I don’t think Blair could guard Artest if his life depended on it. But I’m watching the LA-OKC game right now, and I don’t think Artest will be playing in the playoffs after the elbow he threw.

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