Los Angeles Lakers 102, Pomona-Pitzer 93: The Spurs’ second unit wins cookies and milk

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The Spurs started George Hill, Gary Neal, Richard Jefferson, Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair. The Lakers ran with 0.4, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Spurs’ starters logged a total 130  minutes; the Lakers starters tallied 157 minutes.  The Spurs lost by 9.

Those are your facts.

Andrew Bynum also hurt his knee, and that’s the tempest in the teapot that will emerge from this game. It already has. MRI this morning. Media frenzy to follow.

The immediate impact of last night’s game had more to do with the Spurs bench getting a good workout against a great team. Players like James Anderson, who figures to play next year, got a foretaste of what it’s like trying to slow Kobe Bryant. Tiago Splitter was reminded that Pau Gasol is very good.   These things pay themselves back in time.

The immediate impact of last night’s game might morph into a weightier consequence, but only if this loss cost the Spurs home court advantage in the Finals. Otherwise, the game was an altogether forgettable affair. It was a nationally televised scrimmage.

Gregg Popovich decided to rest his starters. Phil Jackson didn’t. Gregg Popovich’s starters are healthy and rested. We can’t say the same thing about Phil Jackson’s team until later today. Who was right?

I can see the argument both ways.

Elsewhere, Lionel Hollins, head coach of the Grizzlies, pulled a Popovich by resting Tony Allen and Zach Randolph. In addition to resting their best players, both coaches presumably helped themselves by putting off the Lakers for as long as possible. Had the Spurs won, there was a stronger chance they’d see the Lakers in the second round. Had the Grizzlies won, there was a stronger chance they’d see the Lakers in the first round.

Put differently, the jury is still out on Popovich’s Pomona-Pitzer maneuvers.  I’m withholding judgement until May.

 

  • Colin

    “Neal was like top 200 maybe”

    Neal has played NBA-style pick up games in grammar school, high school, and in college since he was a young boy. That all makes a big difference at the NBA level. Brandon Jennings wasn’t as good in the Euro league either.

  • Colin

    ….last post @ Bruno

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

    Wow, that was the worst quarter of defensive basketball that I have seen the Spurs play all year. That was also probably the single greatest quarter of Marcin Gortat’s career (I’m writing from Poland, so the announcer’s are going beserk). Just awful all around. The seriously look like a D-league defense right now.

  • Nima K.

    @Bry

    Whats worse than that is how MEM is playing. Down by 30 from the Clippers? Because they figure they can beat the Spurs?

    Pathetic.

  • andy

    couple of things:

    you can’t compare splitter to pau gasol yet, even as rookies. there’s just no comparison. i like splitter, and think he’s got an all-star ceiling, but gasol is definitely a top 3 big man in the league today. completely underrated, as crazy as that sounds about a lakers player.

    i don’t think he should be starting, though, unlike some commenters. i think he should be one of the first subs in, but not start. i know he would draw needed fouls on starters, but i feel he would feast on 2nd unit players even more, especially since looking at his hook shot, he’s used to playing shorter competition.

    @Bruno
    April 13th, 2011 at 4:11 pm
    about his shooting mechanics: what i’ve learned from personal experience and from shooting coaches, is that unless you’ve worked extremely hard and honed it to the point at which you can achieve confidence and consistency, faulty mechanics will always hinder you from your full shooting potential. it’s better to change splitter’s mechanics now and let him grow into it than let him flail away with poor ones.

    also, neal was killing it for benneton treviso. i don’t know if there were 100 players in the euroleague better than him, and i agree with colin that neal’s experience in the american system probably gave him a leg up on splitter.

    i like that people have a sense of humor on here. along with the writing, definitely keeps me coming back.

  • Gomezd

    Nothing will make me happier than to see the lakers fall to the 3rd seed and have memphis miss out on the opportunity to play the mavs as a result of their obvious tanking, its pathetic, unless you are locked into your seed every team should hope to improve, its embarasing for the league and the spirt of competition.