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Lakers vs. Spurs: A few thoughts

Pee_wee_at_the_alamo I always enjoy watching the Spurs, and things are no different this year.  Whether they're struggling with injuries as they did opening the season or playing well as they currently are- San Antonio is 18-6 since a 6-6 start, and 8-2 over their last 10- Gregg Popovich's crew always provides a test.  They're like the Terminator.  Or the Energizer Bunny.  Or death and taxes.  Or whatever comparison to something that is steady, consistent, and relatively hard to kill that you prefer.  While they're generally not the most athletic or dynamic team, they're always smart, fundamentally sound, play to their strengths, and most importantly, San Antonio doesn't do the opposition's work for them

With that in mind, some thoughts about tonight's game:

  • SA's frontcourt combination provides an interesting matchup for the Lakers.  Power forward Tim Duncan spends more time near the basket, while center Matt Bonner loves to bomb from the outside, taking three triples a game and shooting nearly 50% from beyond the arc.  It's a similar setup to the Jazz, with Boozer/Millsap and Okur. Look for Bynum to play Duncan, Gasol on Bonner.  On the other end, as Kurt from Forum Blue and Gold points out, whoever gets Bonner needs to take advantage.
  • The Spurs are, in general, a three-heavy group, again, playing to strengths.  Rounding up from George Hill's 39.5% (and eliminating Blake Ahern's six-plus minutes of burn), San Antonio has six rotation players who shoot 40% or better from distance. 
  • With that in mind, don't leave Roger Mason Jr. open. 
  • Given Tim Duncan's defensive abilities, it's no surprise to see that he Spurs don't give up much by the basket, relative to every other team in the league.  Pau Gasol struggled to put up points against them in last year's playoffs, and Andrew Bynum hasn't lit them up, either.
  • Threes are tough to come by against the Spurs as well.   For the Lakers to not get stuck in "long two" hell, they'll have to move the ball far more effectively than they did last night in Houston. 
  • Still, good as they've been in some areas, BDL's Kelly Dwyer notes that the Spurs have sputtered in others: "The weird thing about this giant is that the team is last in three pretty major categories: causing turnovers per possession, pulling in offensive rebounds per how many are available to grab, and getting to the line compared with how many field goals you attempt. The Spurs will also win about 58 games, so there‚Äôs that, as well."
  • Tonight's theme: Controlled speed.  Injuries and rotation issues have made it tough for the Lakers to play at truly full speed over the last few games, but if they could gently increase the pace of things tonight, it would serve them well.  But discipline is important- you don't want to turn the ball over against the Spurs.  On the other end, with SA's shooting ability and the penetration skills of Parker and Ginobili, the Lakers will have to be very disciplined in how they trap and what passing lanes they try to jump.  LA has been strong all year forcing TOs and can do so tonight, but can't take shortcuts to get there. 

BK

 
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If its one thing the Spurs are is consistent, them and the friggin Utar Jazz.

I hope Drew and Pau come out like a house of fire after the game they both had last night...They just need to come out and play angry and pound the ball down low and slap around the Spurs' gaurds when they drive the lane.

One thing I would like to see more if is less double teaming...let Drew and Pau handle the middle everyone else needs to stay on their man


The Lakers need to come fired up and cannot wait for their offensive game to step up. I predict the Lakers to lose. San Antonio's crowd will be looking for revenge.

Pau has been in a shooting slump the past 2 games. He is due for a big scoring night...

Guess what NEVER, SA's crowd isn't on the floor!
ps your predictions are she-ite.

As I write this, the 76ers lead Portland 38-15...

I wonder what cute phrases that poor little girl is learning right now...

http://tinyurl.com/5br7qj

Please, please, please... let's get off to a quick start, Lakers! And I'll take a strong finish, too. As long as we outscore the Spurs by one, I'll be a happy guy.

Go Lake Show!

It is going to be interesting to see what Gasol has tonight after Phil played him an inexplicable 42 minutes last night.

I know Bynum had 4 fouls in the third quarter but for Phil who appears to be constantly monitoring Kobe's minutes to play Gasol that much on a back to back is perplexing.

One of the Spurs strength is the 3-point line as BK mentioned........this becomes a strength as Popovich allows penetration from Tony Parker or pounding the ball inside to Duncan. Either one of these threats provides 3-point opportunities for the Spurs.

Last night Gasol was like a rag-doll in his attempt to keep Yao out of the lane, fortunately for us Yao ran out of gas in that fourth quarter...........I don't expect Duncan to run out of gas which means we may have to double Duncan more which in turn could free up 3-point shooters........so our ability to cat and mouse and recover to shooters is very important tonight........in fact ......the game may hinge on it.


OFFENSE:

I look for another "volume" shooting night from Kobe tonight.......why? I think Phil put it best this afternoon...."NEED". ESPN has been running a stat that focus on the number of shots Kobe takes (don't ask me why) I believe they said when Kobe takes over 20 shots that it doesn't bode well for the Lakers. This stat can be very misleading (which may be their intention, but I digress) because they never examine WHY he has to take that many shots at times to keep us competitive.

I don't expect Gasol to draw many doubles tonight or be very effective one-on-one against Duncan in the post. Hopefully Bynum can be effective down low but I really don't expect that as well. This means more shot attempts for Kobe as he did last night in order to keep us in the game (what's the alternative?) or hopefully we can get some more timely shooting from Vlade or Fisher spotting up for 3's

With that in mind spreading the floor will be key in order to keep the Spurs honest.........we are a reasonably good shooting team from 3 point range with Rad leading the way hitting at a 45.5% clip ranging to Ariza and Walton who are shooting a hapless 29.6% and 25% respectively.


Go Lakers

This part of the schedule is pretty gnarly...

The Lakers would be doing well to hit the AS Break at 42-10, in my estimation. That would still put them on pace to win 66 with all their toughest games behind them. There is one more tough stretch at the beginning of March and a 7 game road trip at the end of March, but after the AS break, we have no more matchups with Orlando, Boston or Cleveland.

Conservatively, I'll say the Lakers win 64 this year. I have a feeling we'll see 4 teams win 60 this year.

If they keep up the current pace, 31-6 extrapolates to 69-13 for the season...

One of my best friends is a massive spurs fanatic.He says the lakers have got every excuse in the world to lose tonights game and the spurs havent.

I told him he was missing the point

Go lakers!

At Staples, they should play this song whenever Sun Yue checks into this game, http://tinyurl.com/6uwawq . "Here comes the Sun...it's alright."

Amazing's Key to the Game:

Lamar Odom needs to take advantage of his matchup more than Tony Parker does for his matchup.

Maybe Phil played Pau so much cause he knew we'd lose in SA. Lakers won by only 5 and 2 of the Rockets players didn't play? We were lucky to win, and we wil lose for sure if kobe puts up 32 shots.

that said, please run Bowen into about 10 picks in the 1st qtr!!

LaRon Profit anyone?

I was reading the BallDon'tLie blog interview of Caron Butler and was reminded of that guy. He was pretty good for us until his Achilles popped.

He should know the triangle decently well. To my recollection he had some ball handling skills and was pretty quick on his feet.

Who told Andrew Bynum he was a superstar and he didn't have to hustle? He needs a sense of urgency! As I watch Tim Duncan school him I hope he is taking notes.

No such thing as a good loss but the Lakers losing to SA tonight was not a bad loss.
2 questionable ref calls. I don't think Fish s/d have been called for a foul and that walking call on Ariza - well, that was way more legal than the crab dribble.
Quality play by both teams all night long and Kobe had perfect decision making 7 straight times on offense. Spurs making 2 shots under good defensive pressure from the Lakers in the last minute. Good comeback and coaching moves from PJ in the last few minutes. Not a bad loss on a tough back2back in Tejas.
What it did show is that SA is not the dominant team they used to be and have become far more beatable.

Who ever thought up this "let's see how many steals we can get" defense should be shot, the reason Mason was open was Fisher going for the steal, your up by two on the road, just play good Defense and don't gamble, Fisher gambled and lost and it cost us the game because Kobe was doubled and could not bail us out.

Not taking anything away from the Spurs...they played a great game, and they are always tough. They deserve every title they won...unlike Detroit and Miami who were handed theirs. The one observation that I was left with last night after that game was this: The game's winning team was decided at halftime. The rigging of the game would have been subtle had the Lakers not come back to take a lead at the end. Duncan did not have possession of the ball when he called that T/O, Fisher did not even touch Mason on that shot with 10 sec left, and Ariza's last second traveling call was just insurance to make sure the Laker couldn't tie the game. STEP DOWN NOW DAVID STERN! You're killing the game.

hahahahahahah Someone please tell me why david stern would rather have the lakers win than the Spurs. I bet he hated screwing the Spurs last year so he could have his dream match la-boston.

Dear Phil

How 'bout calling a timeout with 1o seconds and running a play? Is that too much effort?


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