The Los Angeles Lakers dropped Game 2 and if losing Kobe Bryant to injury wasn't enough, there's a new injury to Los Angeles as Steve Blake suffered a hamstring injury, but injuries don't justify losing to Metta World Peace.
On this week's playoff edition of the Spurscast, Jose Grijalva and Trevor Zickgraf join me to talk about what the San Antonio Spurs have been doing right to take a 2-0 lead on the Los Angeles Lakers and what they need to do in order to make it a sweep.
We also recap the rest of the NBA playoffs, although we try not to spend too much time on the Eastern Conference so we don't get too bored with ourselves.
The Spurscast. The Original Spurs podcast.
Music (suggested by Trevor): Stevie Ray Vaughan -- Voodoo Childno comments
San Antonio Spurs fans haven't been too happy since hearing the news that Marc Gasol and not Tim Duncan won Defensive Player of the Year for the regular season.
Gasol received 212 points and 30 first-place votes to edge Miami's LeBron James, who had 149 points and 18 first-place votes, the NBA announced Wednesday.
The 7-foot-1 Spaniard averaged 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals for a Memphis defense that allowed a league-best 88.7 points per game. The five-year veteran ranked 12th in the league in blocks.
Memphis became the first team to hold opponents below 90 points per game in a season since 2005-06 when both the Grizzlies (88.5) and San Antonio (88.8) accomplished the feat. (NBA.com)
AT&T CENTER -- Before the playoffs started, an hour before their last game of the regular season, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich intimated who the Spurs were over the last month of the regular season would not be the team that opened up a playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
In Game 1 the Spurs shook off a month's worth of rust and bandages, riding a dominant defensive performance and a well-timed scoring burst from Manu Ginobili to victory. The Spurs looked better, but one game does not a trend make.
“I thought that was the first time in a while that we looked like the team that played the first 70 or so games defensively. We had done a good job of getting into that top tier of defensive teams, and then for a variety of reasons it dissipated," Popovich said before Game 2. "But that was our best defensive performance in a while and I’m anxious to see if that’s really our team or not."
In systematically ripping a depleted Lakers team apart in ways the 102-91 final margin doesn't do justice, the San Antonio Spurs began answering some of the questions surrounding the team heading into the playoffs.no comments
AT&T Center – It’s game two in the opening round of the NBA playoffs between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers. With the Lakers involved in a playoff series, what more drama could have been added to a series where the injured star declared not to tweet from home anymore because he was becoming a distraction?
How about a player who was supposed to be out for the rest of the season, making a surprise comeback just in time for game two, where the Spurs hold a 1-0 series lead.
That was the case on Wednesday evening as Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said center Jordan Hill, who had been recovering from left hip surgery, was cleared to play against the Spurs as early as Wednesday.
In the locker room, Hill himself said he was surprised the surgery allowed him to recover so quickly. “I thought it was over for the season,” said Hill. Even Hill’s teammates were surprised to hear the news that he could be available for their series.
On the opposite end of the arena, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovcih conducted his pregame interview in a livelier fashion than usual. How open was Popovich to questions? The interview lasted at least 10 minutes long and he discussed a variety of topics from his own players, when Tim Duncan might retire, how he felt about the Cleveland Cavaliers hiring Mike Brown, and more.no comments
The matchup of the game for Game 2 will be between San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker and Los Angeles Lakers' Steve Blake.
Tony Parker ended Game 1 with 18 points, but it wasn't a vintage Parker-like performance. He looked a step slow and still may be bothered by the ankle injury he suffered weeks ago and Steve Blake took full advantage of that. Parker shot 8-21 from the field that game and was constantly hounded by Blake on the defensive end. Tony's drives were slow and predictable with him showing the ball and getting it knocked away or stolen by Blake. Even Parker's decision making was off in Game 1 and an example of that was Blake coming from behind and blocking a shot with Parker not checking if there was defensive help coming. While Parker was off last game, this matchup will likely decide which team will win. If Blake can hold Parker to a bad shooting night again, the Spurs may be in for a long series since we may not see vintage performances from his other Big 2 partners in Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
What Parker must do on offense:no comments
The Los Angeles Lakers may have found the blueprint to impeding Tony Parker; the problem, of course, is executing the game plan consistently.
The San Antonio Spurs (1-0) will host the Los Angeles Lakers (0-1) in Game 2 of the 2013 NBA playoffs first round in San Antonio.
The Spurs won Game 1 in San Antonio 91-79 to take an early series lead. Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 18 points off the bench. Tony Parker recorded 18 points, 8 assists and 3 steals while Tim Duncan had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals. Dwight Howard paced the Lakers with 20 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks with Pau Gasol finishing with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Lakers will have forward Jordan Hill available tonight after three months of rehabilitation for hip surgery. Hill averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Lakers before his injury.
And as the Spurs look to take a commanding 2-0 lead int he series before the scene shifts to Los Angeles, here are five things to watch for during tonight's game:
• Spurs' Parker, Manu Ginobili and Duncan combined for 53 of the Spurs' 91 points in Game 1.
• When falling behind 0-1 in the opening round, the Lakers are 4-9 (Los Angeles era only).no comments
After the disappointing performance in Game One, the Los Angeles Lakers were back at practice yesterday making adjustments for Game 2 tonight. Following practice, Steve Nash and Steve Blake took a few moments to chat with the media regarding tonight's contest against the San Antonio Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs probably won a game they shouldn't have in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
They dominated the Lakers while only shooting 37% (32-85) while the Lakers shot 41% (30-73). The biggest difference for the Spurs was the 3-point shooting with the silver and black outshooting the Lakers 31% (7-22) to 20% (3-15) and the bench production with the Spurs bench pouring in 40 points to the Lakers' 10.
The long range shots helped the team, but that's an aspect of the game they can't rely on for the entire series, let alone for the entire playoffs. While the Spurs defeated the Lakers in Game 1, there's four (two offensive, two defensive) adjustments the Spurs could make to possibly defeat the Lakers easily in the next game at the AT&T Center.
#1) Make the Lakers one dimensional
Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant had the same advice for Mike D'Antoni in "post, post, post!". Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard shot a combined 53% (15-28) from the field this game with Gasol playing 43 minutes and Howard playing 41 minutes. Although this is probably the best strategy for the Lakers, it's also the most demanding with those two in the game resting less than 10 minutes for four quarters.no comments