Rebounding, competitiveness and when it all goes wrong
AT&T CENTER — At one point as the first half came to a close, it was just comical. Andrew Bynum was batting the ball around in the air like a kid who had his growth spurt several years before the rest of his classmates.
Bynum being the first to touch the ball in flight was a common theme on Wednesday night in San Antonio, as the Lakers center physically dominated the Spurs inside with 16 points and 30 rebounds. And there was nothing you, I or anyone wearing silver and black could do about it.
For comparison’s sake, the entire Spurs roster finished with 33 rebounds. All told, the Lakers grabbed 60 boards and Bynum finished with more offensive rebounds (8) than any Spur grabbed total boards (5). Los Angeles grabbed 16 offensive boards to the Spurs’ sole OREB, from Tony Parker of all people.
You get the picture.
“It was really a poor performance execution-wise and competitiveness-wise,” Coach Pop said after the game.
Beyond Bynum’s length, his mass made it difficult on the Spurs. Tim Duncan did a decent job preventing Bynum from setting up too deep in the post, but once Bynum made a move and went toward the basket, there was little chance of preventing him from getting off a good shot or rebounding his own miss, as Bynum’s momentum seemed to carry him right to the front of the rim.
“[Bynum] got a lot of position rebounds,” Duncan said.
For added help, Lakers perimeter players like Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace (can’t believe I actually typed it out) crashed hard on the offensive boards, putting pressure on Spurs big men to secure boards with not just one but two or three players attacking. There was little in the way of team rebounding for the Spurs on Wednesday night, it seemed more like every man for himself.
Offensively, the Spurs faced the same problems they have for the last several seasons against the Lakers. Once San Antonio guys got into the lane, they didn’t get good looks at the rim, shooting floaters and jumpers over outstretched arms — if they got that far. Oftentimes, guys wearing purple and gold got their hands on the basketball before a shot even got up.
Coach Pop was convinced the problem lied in the effort of the Spurs and I can’t fault him too much in that theory. The Spurs were always going to be outrebounded in this game, but the final margin was far worse that anyone realistically expected. Coming out flat and lacking energy can absolutely put you in a hole physically. And that’s all the opposing team needs to turn an advantage into a overwhelming mistmatch.
If I told you before the game that Spurs the would shoot 13-24 from 3-point range and commit only seven turnovers, you’d think San Antonio would cruise, right? Me too.