Andy Kamenetzky wants the Spurs at full force

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Keeping with our tradition, I’ve exchanged notes with one half of the two-headed monster that is the Kamenetzky brothers.

One brother is Ivan, the other is Dmitri. You figure it out. Ron Artest is definitely Alyosha. And the dead monk? The Lakers’ recent play. Maybe they’re not saints after all. I’ll let you assign the rest of the characters to their best Laker analogue.  Why? Because that’s what we do at 48MoH, right?

Check out ESPN’s Land O’Lakers blog for my part of the exchange. On this end I asked Andy if the Spurs should lose tonight to avoid playing the Lakers in the second round? I know. I shouldn’t think that way. But the Lakers are tall. They scare me.  Kamenetzky:

Wow. Tough question to answer. In part because reading tea leaves in a tight race for the #2 seed with many moving parts is tough. And in part because if the Lakers maintain their current level of play, the second round feels like an ambitious landing spot.

I kid, of course. The Lakers are definitely advancing to the second round. I’m actually still confident about my preseason Three-peat prediction. But they definitely have not played well of late, and unlike some previous skids, the issue hasn’t been entirely about complacency. Partially at times, since they played like zombies on Nyquil against Portland. But not entirely. The Lakers have often put forth legitimate effort during these five losses, but effort isn’t always enough to offset wretched execution. The offense in particular has gone inexplicably haywire. 10+ seconds are often frittered away just getting into their sets, which predictably leads to low percentage shots. And moving the ball without risking a turnover has become a decided chore for arguably the NBA’s best passing squad.

With all that said, they’ve been down this road before and I agree with Kobe’s take about issues being largely correctable. Which means if the Spurs maintain their regular season success moving forward, a meeting with the Lakers may be unavoidable. Thus, Tuesday’s game should be played above board. If Pop is more concerned with health than staying ahead of the Bulls for best overall record, playing his core vets limited minutes and living with whatever results is perfectly reasonable. But tanking to avoid a specific opponent is pretty bush and reflects a lack of inner-confidence. Unless, of course, the goal is situating yourself to play the 2006 Nuggets. Even David Stern deep down knew the Clippers were doing the right thing in that case.

  • TD = Best EVER

    For all those who said Tiago could start for most NBA teams…… there you go……. AS you can see his game isn’t polished enough to be a starter unless it’s on a certain system……. Like ours(he could and should start here…..) but not many other places……. there are plenty of Bigs in the NBA just as good as Splitter who are not getting minutes for a ton of reasons……. Mostly fit….. Looking for a team that plays a style that suits them…… But w/o a lot of finishing off the PnR, Splitter looks a lot like Blair out there…….

  • idahospur

    Have to say resting the starters was for the best. The Lakers looked like garbage and our 2nd team got some good minutes in. Play Duncan/Splitter together in the 4th qtr against these guys and I like our odds.

  • TD = Best EVER

    And

    + 100000 for all those who are finally seeing Bonner’s D for what it has always been. HORRIBLE…… and yes all those who complain about Blair’s fouling……. it’s better than just allowing Odom to have his way with you……. Blair for the night picked up 2 Steals and 1 Really hard foul on Kobe……… not bad…..

  • Jacques

    @TD = Bestever
    I agree to a certain point, but you’ve got to take into consideration that Gasol guarded him. I think Tiago’s hook shots would have gone in against other teams.

  • MSteele

    @Jacques
    Ahhh right, to be honest the whole team shot the ball poorly except, ironically, Bonner, Novak and Blair, probably the worst 3 defenders on the team.
    Loved Tiago and Dejuan’s work on the offensive glass against bigger defenders.

  • Bob

    @TD = Best EVER
    Give Splitter time. If he gets consistent minutes he’s just going to get there. He’s a smart player. Plus he already brings the effort.

    @Jacques
    I agree. Bonner could at least help his cause by if he’s already surrendering the layup not fouling and giving up the 3 point play. He really brings nothing if after a 3 he gives up a 3 point play on the other end. At least if he doesn’t foul he still ends up +1.

  • Titletown99030507

    Splitter didn’t have a good game tonight. Seemed like he had oil in his hands. He just couldn’t get a hold on some rebounds. Tomorrow is another day with another game. But overall I’m proud of the guys for hanging in there that long and really the Lakers didn’t come away with anything they can say they accomplished. Bonner got his confidence back and Blair had a great game. Overall we have a great team period. The best part of the game was the look on Jack’s face when Neal ripped a 3 late in the game. I’m keeping that on my DVR for a while until I get tired of it.

  • Bruno

    @TD = Best EVER
    Splitter really played bad in offense but he grabs 6 offensive rebounds and played good D, and his offensive rebounds were not 3-4 straight putbacks.
    But like i say before, Pop should put Hill, Neal, Novak, Blair and Splitter in final minutes.

    But don’t matter, the reserves played well until, and i was expecting a defeat.

  • Bruno

    Funny fact(?) = after Bonner has sucked for like 6 consecutive weeks and always playing the entire 4th, now when he was FINALLY on fire, Pop put him in the bench.

  • MSteele

    One thing that I think we are all forgetting about this ‘back up’ cast is that it is made up of George (4th yr with team), Blair, RJ (2nd), Anderson, Green, Neal, Novak, Quinn, Splitter (1st) and Bonner (too many). This wasn’t a team with any ‘veteran’ players, like a Bowen, Finley, Horry, Oberto… etc. A lot of thes guys (Neal, Anderson, Splitter to be specific) are only really scratching the surface of their NBA game but because we have been treated to the excellance of the core 3 for so long, that we expect so much of them – It’s important to remember that they’re only rookies and that we have to give them time.

  • DorieStreet

    @Titletown9930507

    One of the best moments of the game I saw was in the 4th qtr–James Anderson driving to the hoop and making that basket, then backpeddling back on defense: he was sucking wind big time but he was not giving in to the fatigue.
    The man wants to contribute to this run so bad–I hope opportunitites come where he can –and Pop gives him the chance to do so.

  • TD = Best EVER

    Yes Splitter did hustle well tonight…….8 rebounds in 28 min is GOOD……. But you can see that he is far from starting material….. unless someone passes him a lot of balls on PnR he really can’t do much for himself……Remember he either plays with Manu, or against other teams back ups most of the year…… His Defense was ok today, but again against starters, he needs to find away to get more blocks and use his height better………He like Blair need to work on a 10ft jumper or something…… that hook shot from the hip was just brutal……

  • Titletown99030507

    @TDBestEver,

    Splitter didn’t have one of his better games. It happens to the best from time to time. I know he’ll have more good games than bad ones in his NBA career. And if he doesn’t start on a lot of teams right now I know he’d get significant minutes though and no DNP’s . The effort he has brought in a season that started at a disadvantage such as injuries and minimal playing time throughout the season has to be recognized. I still say he will be needed in some capacity during the playoffs. Also noticed there was less help (double teaming) on Gasoline and Bynum which could have helped our bigs. Don’t worry about Splitter Pop won’t play him that much in the playoffs this season. But next year I see him improving in a few areas of his game. Free throws and a post game as well as handling players like Gasoline. Got to to get the experience somewhere, sometime. Just happens to be now. He’ll be fine.

  • Titletown99030507

    Sorry for the stupid spellchecker using my phone downstairs.

  • Timmay

    Splitter was very solid defensively, hustled and was able to draw fouls especially on the offensive board. Offensively he struggled tonight, but without Manu and Tony I did not expect much. Wish he had done some more up and under moves than hook shots. Still a good game by the 2nd and 3rd unit of the Spurs which gives the Lakers some more to think about …

  • andy

    @TD = Best EVER
    April 12th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    “Yes Splitter did hustle well tonight…….8 rebounds in 28 min is GOOD……. But you can see that he is far from starting material….. unless someone passes him a lot of balls on PnR he really can’t do much for himself…”

    at least you recognised that he hustled. you and i obviously disagree on a lot, and this is a big one. you’ve continually been pessimistic about splitter. what do you think qualifies one to start? 10.3 boards/36 on an off night tonight, and that’s still not good enough to start? also, your last comment could be true about every big man in the league save a dozen or so.

    i agree that he needs to improve his shot, and i’ve said before that his hook needs work. to say he’s not starter-quality ignores a growing body of work that suggests otherwise. look, i didn’t see the game tonight, but i have seen him play almost every other time, and what i’ve seen shows me that he could start on almost half the teams in the league because of his defense alone. the guy is a magnet for drawing fouls, and his steal rate was much higher than i thought it would be.

    on a side note for those harping on blair’s defense. yes, i understand that he’s short, but let’s not pretend he’s a bad defender (from basketball-reference.com):
    Defensive Rating

    1. Dwight Howard-ORL 94.5
    2. Kevin Garnett-BOS 94.9
    3. Joakim Noah-CHI 96.8
    4. Andrew Bogut-MIL 97.3
    5. Taj Gibson-CHI 97.8
    6. Ronnie Brewer-CHI 98.4
    7. Carlos Boozer-CHI 98.7
    8. Marcus Camby-POR 99.7
    9. Rajon Rondo-BOS 99.9
    10. DeJuan Blair-SAS 100.2
    11. Glen Davis-BOS 100.3
    12. Tim Duncan-SAS 100.4

  • tradetp…not right now

    Great last post.

    I hope we can all AGREE after 2 years of debate that Dejuan is a better all around player than all of our bigs.

    How can I prove this:
    First you watch the games.
    Then you take that in combination with stats.

    Blair has the best efficiency, defensive rating FG%, SPG, RPG, ORG, BPG, out of all the bigs but TD.

    Can we stop the nonsense that McD is better?

    Great game.

  • DieHardSpur

    If we had a playmaker on the roster last night, we win by 6.

  • badger

    No matter what excuses the Lakers make, they were thoroughly demoralized by the Spurs, and they know it. Kobe’s tirade at the bench is all you need to see to know that they were extremely frustrated. That game will stay with them in the back of their minds, but unless you saw it, you wouldn’t know it, because the final score is deceiving.

    Most people in the country will look at the final score and see a Lakers win against the Spurs, and they will conclude that the Spurs don’t have what it takes, and that the Lakers are back on track.

    The people who really follow basketball will know that the Lakers are in trouble. Big trouble. If you stop and think about what players almost beat the World Champs last night, in a game the Lakers needed to win, well, then you know. Bynum’s injury was gasoline on the fire.

    I was so proud to see our B team (and C team) keeping it close almost until the very end!! If these guys needed some extra confidence going in to the playoffs, they just got a major boost. Spurs ARE the deepest team in the NBA.

    Thoughts:
    Splitter was solid. He’s in need of NBA off-season polish, but he CAN give us that quality big off the bench in the playoffs. Hopefully, Pop sees that now. Neal, Hill, and Blair are already starters on half the NBA rosters, and they had very little to prove this game. Nonetheless, they all played hard. Quinn showed us that he is no Tony Parker, but he did show that he can shoot or dish when called upon. His ability to attack the rim is still lacking, but at least he can take care of the ball. RJ and JA were MIA, and that position seems to be a weak link for us that needs to be fixed.

    Vegas oddsmakers still have Lakers as the favorite and have the Spurs as 4th or 5th most likely to win it all. CRAZY.

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    Titletown99030507
    April 12th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Splitter didn’t have a good game tonight. Seemed like he had oil in his hands. He just couldn’t get a hold on some rebounds. Tomorrow is another day with another game. But overall I’m proud of the guys for hanging in there that long and really the Lakers didn’t come away with anything they can say they accomplished. Bonner got his confidence back and Blair had a great game. Overall we have a great team period. The best part of the game was the look on Jack’s face when Neal ripped a 3 late in the game. I’m keeping that on my DVR for a while until I get tired of it.

    Must have sucked for you to say Splitter had a bad game? ;)

    I really don’t think he had a bad game. He drew a nice charge on Kobe and on Gasol. He hit most of his FTs. His hook shot made me throw up a little in my mouth but other than that….he was solid.

    We should all be proud of the efforts of the 2nd and 3rd teams.

    If the Spurs would have pulled that win off, no doubt the Laker fan base heads would have collectively exploded. Too funny.

  • DorieStreet

    DieHardSpur April 13th, 2011 at 4:16am

    “If we had a playmaker on the roster last night, we win by 6.”

    Is George Hill that guy- now – or can he improve and become one?
    When was the last time the Spurs had a “dynamic”, multitalented scorer at the SF/the 3 position? Bowen was THE perimeter defender, but his only offensive weapon steadily declined until he was not confident in it anymore. Remember at the end- he was coming in from the corner and throwing up that half set/tear drop shot.)
    Elliott’s injuries diminished what he really could have been, if I’m recalling his play accurately after all of these years.
    De’ Sean Butler- 6′ 7″ , 230 lbs -can overcome his collegiate injury and step into that role?

  • Nima K.

    Playing LAL is like playing AC Milan in soccer.

    Splitter has a bright future no doubt. He hasn’t reached his ceiling. This is just the beginning.

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

    Splitter’s game was fine. I don’t mind him shooting the hook once he’s gotten a touch for it. Until then I’d prefer he take advantage of the defense being in flux and draw fouls. He already seems to be quite skilled in that department, and it takes its toll on the opposing team’s front line, even when he’s not hitting free-throws (practice makes perfect, right?).
    The Lakers played all of their key players heavy minutes and spent a good portion of the game with their starters going against our THIRD unit. The score was tied when Bynum went down, and it was still tied with six minutes left in the game. Add that to the fact that the Lakers were at home, well-rested, and badly needed a win and I would be very frustrated if I were a Laker fan.
    Blair stopped trying to shoot over Gasol and Bynum, and starting using his lateral quickness and 260 pounds to either power into them or get around them. He finishes well with either hand and is simply bigger than even the Lakers front-court. Both he and Splitter just need to figure out how to exploit their advantages and refine their respective go-to moves and they will be a dominant front-court tandem. Trust me.
    For those of you who are still hoping to see a lot of Splitter-Duncan, Pop seems to have decided that he only wants one tower at a time this season. That is why Splitter goes from sparse minutes to starter only when Duncan is out.
    And, at the risk of ranting too much, I don’t know why everyone is crying that the Spurs ‘rely’ too much on the 3-ball. When you shoot 40% and lead the league in 3-point percentage, it means that you are probably shooting the ideal amount of 3-pointers; not too many. They have a team stacked with long-range shooters. What do you want them to do?

  • rob

    @ Bry

    Great post. And I’m in agreement with you regarding the 3 point shooting. But are these guys great shooters in the sense they can make it from anywhere on the perimeter? Or are they limited to only making 3 point shots because that’s all they practice doing?

    The weakness that can be garnished about this team is if an opponent can close out on our shooters…they have a good chance of beating our team. I hope something can be compensated by our shooters/team/philosophy that can take away from another team focussing on defending our shooters from beyond the arc.