Before tonight's game, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker said he hoped Kobe Bryant would play in the Spurs' first meeting of the season against the Lakers.
Perhaps it would've been better for the Spurs if the NBA's leading scorer had left his purple suit in the visitor's locker room and suited up in purple and gold.
Without Bryant, the Lakers focused on mismatches inside against the Spurs and speed the ball around a little more. As they have done in their last few games without Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have played very well.
Very well might be the understatement of the year for how they performed tonight, giving the Spurs a dominating 98-84 beating and doing so on the Spurs' home court, where they had only lost four games all season.
"They played great and they beat us to death. There's nothing else you can say about it," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said following the game. "They beat us in every facet of the game. It was a really poor performance execution wise and competitive wise."
While the Spurs remained scoreless throughout the first two minutes of the game, Kawhi Leonard finally put the Spurs on the board with a layup with 9:31 remaining in the first quarter. The rest of the first was a series of runs.
Danny Green's three-pointer two minutes later gave the Spurs a five-point lead and punctuated the end of an 8-0 run. The Lakers then bounced back with an 8-0 run of their own before the Spurs answered with, yes, another 8-0 run. But it was the Lakers who finished the first quarter strong on an 11-0 rally before Manu Ginobili's three-pointer brought the Spurs within three points at the end of the first quarter.
After Andrew Bynum grabbed an impressive 11 rebounds in the first quarter, he continued that trend in the second with eight more in what would be a recurring theme throughout the night.
"Drew’s performance was outstanding. 30 rebounds and 16 points was remarkable. One of the things we talked about doing coming into the game was trying to control the tempo because we know San Antonio likes to push the pace and they’re very good at scoring a lot of points," Lakers coach Mike Brown said. "One of the ways we could control the tempo was by trying to rebound and Drew took it upon himself with 30 rebounds."
Matt Barnes also burned the Spurs defense when they doubled in the post and sagged off him. Barnes definitely made them pay with 11 points to lead the Lakers charge.
While Patty Mills drained a three-pointer and stole the inbounds pass leading to a layup, the Spurs got within one point, but that's about as close as it would get for the rest of the game. While the Spurs struggled offensively, going scoreless for 4 minutes in the second quarter, aside from Barnes' barrage, Steve Blake was hitting open threes and Pau Gasol added a few points to take a five-point halftime lead.
The Lakers didn't let up, busting the game open and leading by as much as 20 points in the third quarter. While the Spurs kept it close early in the quarter, they had several consecutive possessions where balls went in and out or they just didn't take good shots.
While Gasol led the Lakers in the first and Barnes did so in the second, Lakers forward Metta World Peace decided to take over in the third quarter, hitting five of six shots for 11 points, just five less than the entire Spurs team scored that quarter.
The Lakers scored the first five points in the fourth quarter on an open drive and dunk for Josh McRoberts followed by a three-pointer by World Peace. Another World Peace three with just over seven minutes remaining gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game with a 26 point advantage.
The Spurs had an opportunity to close the gap later in the game after Danny Green (22 points) hit two three-pointers and James Anderson followed with a three of his own for a 9-0 run to pull within 15 points. While the Spurs defense continued to make stops and kept the Lakers scoreless for four minutes, Anderson forced up two missed shots and Mills missed a 10 foot jumper and air balled a three-point attempt. A 17-foot pull-up jumper by Mills brought the Spurs within 15, but missed opportunities on what could have been 10 points cost the Spurs their last minute chance to get back into the game and swing the momentum in their favor.
While the Spurs didn't appear to shoot horribly on paper, three of the Spurs' starters combined for 3-of-16 from the field. Tony Parker had what is likely his worst game of the year, knocking down only two of his 12 shot attempts for four points. While three of the Spurs' starters also combined for just six points, they got some help off the bench.
In the end, a 60-33 rebounding advantage, 30 of which belonged to Bynum, gave the Lakers several extra opportunities (13 second chance points), while the Spurs only had one offensive rebound all night, courtesy of Parker.
“Metta stepped up big and he hit a lot of clutch shots for us. Blake did too," Bynum said. "Matt Barnes shot freely so that’s why we have teammates and they picked up the slack.”
While plenty can change when both teams meet again, especially considering Bryant will be back, this game was definitely still a big test for the Spurs inside, and they are still a ways away from solving it.
It won't get any easier with another of the league's better front court tandems coming into the AT&T Center tomorrow night when the Spurs play their last regular season game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
@spurs123 He rtesoro has been spewing that stuff since before the trade deadline. I'm sure he would be happy if the Spurs employed a midevil torture rack to stretch out a few more inches from their big men. He would probably say I am a fanatic, but what's wrong with that? I'd rather be positive about my team than a complete downer. I don't think the Spurs are a lock for the championship, but I believe they will put up a hell of a fight and have the pieces to win this year. Every team has good games, and every team has bad games. I think we know which team had which last night. I honestly found myself wanting Bynum to grab more rebounds by the end of the game, because it was a pretty cool feat even though he was totally demolishing the Spurs. If you think about it, it was an impressive game. Bonner passed Bruce Bowen in made 3 pointers, Manu passed 10,000 points and Bynum's 30 rebounds was only the second time in like 12 years from what I read. All in all, even thought the Spurs were defeated, for those records it was a pretty cool game! I know it renewed my respect for the Laker's. I may not like them, but you have to respect them, just like I would hope they respect the Spurs!
The Spurs had a bad night last night and the Lakers played better than they have all season. Simply put, Lakers were the better team on the court last night.
This rtesoro is ridiculous. This was not only the worst Spurs game of this season, but also the worst Spurs game I've ever seen (and I watched off and on since late 1990's and watched every game since 2006). The Spurs played terribly, and the team shouldn't be torn apart. This rtesoro never says anything productive and just wants to tear the team apart all the time. Even though the Spurs won 11 in a row, they only played 3 or 4 of those games well, and their last 5 games have been terribly played. It's not a problem with the roster, but focus and shot selection.
It's not like the SAS has had issues with bigs in the past. When Amar'e was with the Suns,. he used to drop crazy nums on SA. But the SAS shut down everyone else. Last night they didn't and add the fact LA just couldn't miss. I mean Metta's prayer-shot was answered. That's when you knew it was not going to be SA's night.
While the game did hurt, I think most spurs fans are overreacting a little bit. We've played the lakers one time, and yes it was ugly, but will the spurs get out rebounded by 30 again? I have to believe that they won't. Also there are many people getting on Blair for his effort, and while he can be very frustrating to watch, he did have 4 reb in 13 min of playing time. Duncan had a horrible rebounding game and I haven't seen one person who noticed. 2 in 25 min? That's not good. And ast night everyone but Danny Green and Matt Bonner just seemed off. Ron Artest also had a great game that I don't expect him to have again anytime soon, as he shot 66% for 26 points? I'll take my chances on Artest. One more thing I found entertaining was how little the spurs starters played while Artest and Gasol each played 40 minutes and Bynum had 37 for a combined 117 min while the spurs big three played 77 min. Thank god we get to see the Lakers two more times so we can truly see how we can do against them, since I don't believe it will be that bad again. However, while I do think we are overreacting, I do have complaints. WHY CAN'T POP JUST TRY SPLITTER AND DUNCAN TOGETHER?! Even if our offense would slow, we have enough options to where we should be able to still find a way to score. And speaking of splitter, there is no reason I can think of for him to only play 15 minutes against the lakers. There is just no reason! I would've also liked to see Leonard play a little more just to get some more experience. He and jack were also our leading rebounders. I don't believe this game accurately showed where we are against the lakers, as I have to believe Duncan will get more than 2 reb in our next meeting. However, we really lost because Neal didn't play;)
Getting Jackson, Diaw and Mills was OK but it still didn't help the SAS where they needed it most, in the paint.
Pretty ugly loss. Really can't expect Blair to do much with his height,but remember Malik Rose found a way to rebound against bigger guys by using his girth to move them out and get position. Blair certainly has enough girth to do the same. Artest (forget World Peace) had a "rare" game. They did it all right and we didn't!
The lose to the lakers is a grim reminder of what happened last year against the grizzlies. The spurs were beaten in the interior and superior firepower. 6'7" against 7footers. The much ballyhooed "depth" of the spurs' bench is put to shame. Diaw, Jackson and Mills have reached their level of play. They have nothing more to give. Splitter is just a reliever to TD nothing more. Tonight, the spurs plays the grizzlies and randolph is back. Let's watch.
a couple of thoughts, 1st no way, NO WAY does bynum do that for a series. one game maybe 2, and i would be willing to bet he doesnt do it nearly as much with kobe on the floor. 2nd, maybe the loss to a good team with pretty much everyone there will refocus the spurs. i got the impression the spurs where coasting or where not focused early on and then it got out of hand. 3rd at least the spurs got some rest, i mean no spur over 27 minutes. with the b2b im not surprised pop didnt play anyone big minutes so im not taking a lot from this game.
i also dont expect to see a full lineup against the lakers next week in the middle of our B2B2B so MAYBE april 20th. even then i think seeding will be all but set and so pop may still be in rest mode so we may not see anyone then either.
all that said i do believe to much rest can throw a rhythm off and so im hoping pop doesnt sit guys TO MUCH.
@spurs123 BLOW IT UP! ship duncan manu and parker for howard lebron and dwill, ship leonard for kobe. splitter, blair and bonner should be enough to get kevin love and bynum. thats a solid starting 5 huh? maybe ship capt jack, diaw and neal for aldridge, rondo and blake griffin. we should be able to get at least rose for james anderson also. mills should be enough to net us scola right? danny green has been on fire lately so he should easily be worth dwade right? no wait im rethinking that, green and a 2nd round pick for wade and durant. yeah thats about right. i think we should be able to field a bit more successful team next season when we BLOW THIS TEAM UP! come on pop you suck if you dont pull this off and RC needs to be fired!
@JeffProjectSpurs Yep. They caught fire. We've beaten LA before when they were a better team, we can do it again.
@ZedekielNeal would not have mattered.
@Zedekiel Exactly! I mean I can't remember the last time tiny had such a bad shooting night. Sean Elliot said it last night, it was like the guards where giving Bynum to much respect. When was the last time Bynum had 0 fouls. Nobody attacked him. We are never going to out rebound those guys but if the guards attack then they can cause fouls and getting a Bynum in foul trouble with the lakers weak bench is a very good thing. I really put the loss on the guards not the bigs. They didn't attack they settled.
Nobody of the 3 stands taller than 6'8" and the lakers have an arsenal of at least 3 or 4 seven footers. There is an over-emphasis on shooters and short in interior defense.
The spurs were NOT coasting along or resting. They gave it all but the lakers were good. True to form, the spurs were outrebounded, outplayed by the lakers big men. What can a 6'7" do against 7 footers. The game was a matter of pride. Diaw, Jackson and Mills gave what they could but they have reached tneir level of play. Splitter is just a reliever of TD nothing more. The socalled spurs big 3 performed below par or just plainly outplayed. The much vaunted deep bench is nowhere to be found. Lets watch what the spurs can do against the gfrizzlies now that randolph is back.
@JohnAbney This game should be a wake-up for everyone on the team. The playoffs are not going to be a coasting situation where we win just because we take the floor. You have to work hard and execute which were simply not done last night. I honestly believe that we need to go to DJB and tell him either commit yourself to rebounding or you're not going to be a Spur anymore. We cannot have our starting Center averaging 3.0 Defensive Rebounds Per game. That is ridiculous. We got him specifically to rebound and now all he wants to do is floaters in the lane and eat Whataburger. It's time for Tiago to take over the reins and start at center especially against the Lakers or Grizzlies. I really don't care if our offense grinds to a halt as long as we get defensive rebounds. It's pretty simple, stop the Laker bigs, and you stop the rest of the team. Obviously, we were not focused enough to do either of those last night.
The lakers have a weak bench? Come on you are way off. The lakers have a great bench in blake, ebanks, murphy, mcroberts and the other guards. Its either the spurs have an off night, or have reached their limit. Anyway, you can't take anything away from the lakers. They did a fine job and we didn't. why not watch the game against the grizzlies?
@JohnAbney Great point about the guards not attacking, just an off game overall. I wish I could hear Sean and bills commentary, I had to watch online with commentators speaking in Spanish.
@rtesoro440 @JeffProjectSpurs miss information! Lakers have 2 guys 7' Murphy who has yet to break 15 minutes all season is 6'11", hill who has been out injured since his trade is 6'10" and so is mcroberts. You realize bonner is 6'10" right. Thiago and Duncan are both 6'11".
We played scared. Sean said we gave too much respect to Bynum and Gasol. All the doubleteaming was ridiculus. The Spurs usually allow tems to make their own mistakes and play themselves out of the game, (Kobe scoring 30). The spurs attempted to adjust their scheme and it didnt work. Memphis will give the team their confidence back.The spurs just nned to play their game. (and too much Matt, even at Utah)
@rtesoro440 I am sick of your comments, if you think that the spurs gave their best efforts your way off. I saw a almost complete letdown by the starters last night. I really am tired of seeing your gloom and doom posts.
@JohnAbney @rtesoro440 @ZedekielWhat do you call the lakers win last night, a spurs give away? Evaluating a game dispassionately is different from being a fanatic. Why don't you just accept that we lost to a better team and come out playing harder the next time? What's wrong in saying Diaw, Jackson and Mills having reached their limit? If they haven't, then let them prove it.If Splitter is not meant to be just just reliever, then let his game prove it. Fanatics like you isn't helping the spurs but giving them a false security. It is reputed that they have a deep bench, now its proven otherwise. If the "depth" of the bench is so much, then let them show ir. The remedy is going back to the drawing boards NOT apologies like you are doing. Coasting along? My foot. They lost fair and square. It hurts to lose but being forthright and preparing for the future is better than excuses, alibis and justifications.
@rtesoro440 @JohnAbney @Zedekiel That was an inspired game played by Bynum, Gasol, Blake and especially Meta last night. But to claim that the Lakers have a great bench is ludicrous. Their bench is mediocre. Murphy, Eubanks, McRoberts. Gimme a break, man. Good news that we have another game tonight vs another elite frontline. Against the Lakers, 2 more to be played for a change of strategy and improved focus and effort. Last night was atypical of how we played all season long. Just a bad game all around.
@rtesoro440 @Zedekiel The lakers bench is garbage! Blake is a joke, Ebanks is only playing since Kobe is out, Murphy can't get minutes and mcroberts plays sometimes. The lakers bench is terrible. If they had a bench, Kobe, pau, and Bynum would not average 37+ minutes. Pau played 40 minutes last night in a blow out. So did artest. If their bench was any good those guys would surely have gotten more then 8 minutes of rest.
@rtesoro440 @CrazydaveSalazar you think my criticizing is not helping?every post i have ever seen from you is off. i am not a fanatic, and i never said they were holding back. You need to read my comment better. i stated that the Spurs starters letdown the team. Parker and Ginobili both stopped trying to penetrate . Stop acting like everything you say is correct and what anyone says is wrong.
@rtesoro440 @CrazydaveSalazar And your criticizing the spurs helps them get better? If the spurs listened to you then we would have traded 2/3s of the team for Howard and Bynum and we would out rebound people but have nobody at all on the wings. I'm with the other guy, your repetitive posts are old and annoying. Now stop blowing a single key down game out if proportion. The spurs coasted for the 1st period and by the time they tried to get a rhythm it was way to late. They where off, they had a bad day and in your spurs hate world the just got eliminated and the playoffs have not even started yet.
The spurs have 2 more chances to prove they can beat the lakers. If the starters were holding back, let them prove otherwise
@CrazydaveSalazarYour criticizing won't help the spurs. Y ou got wrong amigo. If they have something more to give, why don't they? I am NOt a fanatic as you are, what I say is the truth. Give me a good reason why should the spurs be holding back? The game against the lakers was a matter of pride and besides, it was held before spurs fans and in their home turf.