Spurs Experiencing Deja Vu
1Q Right out of the gates, Fisher was aggressive in taking the ball to the rim, drawing 2 fouls early. Throughout the first, the Spurs had a hard time getting into any kind of rhythm, leading to Vaughn playing very early in the game. Gasol would pick up 2 fouls in the first, but Kobe was well into a hot shooting groove, so it wouldn't matter.
2Q With Kobe on the bench, the Lakers offense would stagnate for a few minutes, but San Antonio couldn't take advantage, as they still couldn't find their groove. Walton threw a beautiful lob to Odom for the dunk, and the Spurs guards, much like the rest of the playoffs, continued to force passes in traffic. With Kobe still resting, and their offense getting out of its funk, LAs bench looked good, really good. As Duncan would start to get into a groove, and the half coming to a close, Vujacic answered with big shots, pushing it out to a 46-37 Laker lead.
3Q Several minutes into the third, Manu would finally get a basket, getting fouled in the process. San Antonio would continue to get frustrated, committing a few silly fouls in the process. Odom had a great third as LA pushed the lead to 17.
4Q The Lakers came out for the final 12 minutes looking to kill. Putting up several baskets early, they forced Pop to make a decision, and the Spurs bench would close out the rest of the game. As the San Antonio starters rested on the bench, the Lakers continued to pour it on, building the lead even further before pulling Kobe out of the game. Adding insult to injury, the Lakers hit one last 3 with 7 seconds to play, to leave the final score at 101-71.
Review San Antonio is a team of no excuses, but when you make 9 less shots than your opponent, with 16 more attempts, along with 8 fewer rebounds, it's really hard to win a game. There's really no other way to sum up why they lost. 35% overall, 26% from 3. Attempting half as many free throws, overall making 13 fewer than the guys in gold. LA had a HUGE lift from their bench tonight, as they stepped onto the floor, seamlessly continuing an aggressive trap whenever the Spurs had the ball in a corner. 14 turnovers is not San Antonio basketball.
Remember The Alamo After 2 devastating losses with Hollywood watching, the Spurs will need to rally the troops. Calling every capable man to defend what they call home, they will need all the help they can get. Parker needs to be a little bit smarter when he's passing, and at the same time look to attack the defense in the paint at every opportunity, Ginobili needs to be a bit more aggressive going to the rack, EVERYBODY needs to be dominant on the glass, and Stoudamire especially, when he gets the chance to be on the floor, needs to do something. He was brought in with the expectation he could help create on offense. Zero points and 1 assist in 9 minutes doesn't cut it. Damon, listen up, if you want to play, you need to bring something to the table that Brent Barry can't. And Kurt Thomas, where did your game go? If you could find it before Sunday, that would be great.
Duncan: 12 pts, 16 boards Popovich: Giving the starters some rest before game 3
Odom: 20 pts, 12 boards Kobe: 22 pts, 5 boards, 5 assists Gasol: 10 pts, 7 boards
Final Thoughts The Lakers bench is better than I gave them credit for. Turiaf reminds me of a young Malik Rose, he brings a ton of heart off the bench, a big boost for LAs front line.
Coming off of a very hard loss in game 1, in which San Antonio gave up a 20 point lead, the Spurs knew it wouldn't be easy. And from tip off, all the way to the final buzzer, it wasn't easy.