Tonight the San Antonio Spurs (40-15) will face their Western Conference rivals Los Angeles Lakers (36-22) for the first time in this truncated NBA season. However, the game won't have the same feel with Lakers' Kobe Bryant not playing tonight due to a sore shin.
Last season, the two teams split the season's series 2-2 for the second straight season, however, they are 5-5 in their last 10 meetings in San Antonio. Tonight's matchup also marks the first of three meetings the Spurs and Lakers will have in the coming weeks. It is also a homecoming for Lakers coach Mike Brown who used to serve as an assistant coach for the Spurs from 2000-2003. The game will also feature a return to the Spurs Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder who used to coach the Spurs' D-League affiliate Austin Toros.
For a complete breakdown of tonight's contest, make sure to read Project Spurs' Paul Garcia's scouting report but here are five things to watch for in tonight's Spurs-Lakers game.
- The Lakers are sure to work the paint against the Spurs with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The Lakers average 42.3 points in the paint including a season high of 64 points in the paint against the Suns this season.
- It would be best for the Spurs to be leading at halftime tonight. Los Angeles is 29-8 when leading or tied at halftime and are 7-14 when trailing at halftime.
- If Los Angeles is playing stellar "D," it might be a long night for San Antonio. The Lakers are 11-1 when holding opponents under 40% from the floor.
- TD has been leading the way for the Spurs lately. During the Spurs' 11-game winning streak, Tim Duncan averaged 16.5 points per game.
- If the Spurs are trailing after three quarters, it doesn't look like another win. At the AT&T Center, the Spurs are 2-3 when trailing after the third quarter.
Player to watch: Andrew Bynum. With the Spurs' frontline to be tested tonight, here is how Bynum did against the Spurs last season in four games (via nba.com).
Losing kills momentum and resting players makes them rusty to some point. Clearly seen in today's game. We should not have rested the big three in Utah.
The amount of lakers fans in the stands is just disgraceful! The fact that there where actual boos for Manu when he came in is an embarrassment!