It was the kind of game expected between the two top teams in the league, down-the-wire finish, last second game winning basket.
Antonio McDyess was at the right place at the right time, tipping in Tim Duncan's missed jump shot right before the buzzer as the San Antonio Spurs survived a late LosAngeles Lakers rally winning the game 89-88.
Here are some of the numbers that stood out in this Spurs' exciting win.
81.8 - The Lakers shot fairly well from the foul line making 18-22 (81.8%) free throws. The Spurs on the other hand made 13-17 (76.5%) of their foul shots.
44 - Los Angeles won the battle of the boards, outrebounding San Antonio 44-38.
42 - The Lakers dominated the inside game, outscoring the Spurs 42-32. They also shot better from the field connecting on 34-80 (42.5%) field goal shots while the Spurs hit 35-85 (41.2%) of their shots from the floor.
24- The Lakers shared the ball better, dishing 24 assists compared to the Spurs' 20.
• What do you get when you combine former San Antonio Spurs players Dennis Rodman and Steve Kerr? Answer: Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love:
So, what do you get when you combine the rebounding ability of Rodman with the long-range accuracy of Kerr?
Through Wednesday, Love was leading the league with a rebound percentage of 23.3 percent. That figure, if it holds, would be the 12th-highest rebound percentage in N.B.A. history.
Coupled with that, Love is hitting 43.9 percent of his 3-point field goal attempts, is tied with two other players for 9th best percentage in the league. (source nytimes.com)
• Does Manu Ginobili have a strong case for NBA MVP? Dimemag takes a look:
The Manu-for-MVP argument has legs: Ginobili has (arguably) been the best player on the best team in the NBA, averaging 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game as the Spurs are 40-7 record going into Thursday’s schedule.
• The Spurs and Lakers have been the two most dominant teams in recent NBA history that it's not even a competition says ESPN:
Congratulations to San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili for being named to the 2011 Western Conference All-Star squad:
San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were selected by NBA head coaches to play in the 2011 All-Star Game to be held on Sunday, Feb. 20 in Los Angeles. This marks the 14th time in franchise history that the Spurs have sent multiple players to the All-Star Game.
Joining the two Spurs players as reserves on the West squad are: Pau Gasol (L.A. Lakers), Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz). Voted to start for the West were the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony, the Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming, the L.A. Lakers’ Bryant, and the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul. (source spurs.com)
Both Duncan and Ginobili will be joining Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich in Los Angeles as he was named the 2011 Western Conference All-Star coach last month.
Despite many who felt Duncan didn't have the statistics to make the team, his numbers proved solid. Also, Houston Rocket's center Yao Ming received the votes to make the squad but he's injured and unable to play. This could have been a factor for Duncan being named as a West reserve as the West could be short-handed in the big man department.
Hit the jump to see the numbers Duncan and Ginobili are putting up this season which got them a seat on the West bench.
What is it about this team and season? It’s just uncanny how familiar it all is, as if we’ve seen this all before. This script, it feels as if it’s already been written.
Of course, just about the time one comes to that kind of a realization, has it crystallized in their mind and believes they may have just found the trend to foretell what’s to come, that’s usually about the time someone gets slapped upside the head.
Bill S. Preston Esquire (via So-crates):
The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.
I’d like to think I’m a grateful San Antonio Spurs fan. I’ve been around long enough to witness the entirety of David Robinson’s career and experience some of the highest of highs and lowest lows a fan can have in that time. But it’s never precluded me from playing the “What if?” game: What if Tim Duncan is available for the 2000 playoffs? What if the Big Three never played internationally? What if 0.4 was disallowed or Dirk was never fouled? What if the 2002-03 Spurs had been able to come back intact the following year; or what if they had been able to start their season the way this 2010-11 team has, with a roster full of familiarity, continuity, good health and a collective chip on their shoulder? Would it have looked anything like 40-8?
Former San Antonio Spurs player and current Spurs broadcaster Malik Rose has done the Rodeo Road Trip during his time with the Spurs and in this interview, Rose talks about being mentally prepared, how to approach the trip and more.
The San Antonio Spurs (40-8) will face the NBA defending champion Los Angeles Lakers (34-15) tonight in Los Angeles in a battle of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
The Lakers will be looking for revenge tonight as the last time these two teams faced off in December it was a 97-82 loss for the Lakers in San Antonio.
The Lakers were pegged as the clear favorite in the West heading into the season but the Spurs have stole the spotlight with their start to the season and league leading record.
Los Angeles has struggled against the best teams in the NBA and add the fact Andrew Bynum suffered a bone bruise and is questionable for tonight's contest makes this contest even more important for the Spurs to strike while Los Angeles is down. Moreover, Los Angeles has been dealing with other injuries to key players such as Matt Barnes, Ron Artest trade rumors, and all adds up to Los Angeles not looking like the dominant team as in seasons past.
As for the Spurs, they will be looking to get back on the winning track after suffering only their eighth loss of the season to the Portland Trail Blazers and extend their lead in the West over the Lakers as they continue their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
To talk about tonight's contest, I turn to friend of Project Spurs Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass the best Lakers site on the Internet.
In this Q&A, Rey talks about the Artest trade rumors, if the Lakers are pressing the panic button, what it will take for Los Angeles to get the win and more. To read the Q&A I did with Rey click HERE to visit The No Look Pass.
Jeff: How serious are these Ron Artest trade rumors out of Los Angeles? If true does this mean the Lakers are pushing the panic button?
Rey: I don't know how serious they are and I'm not one to speculate. Didn't Rajon Rondo supposedly want out of Boston? He's still here, right?
Not sure if the team is pushing the panic button but the fans are pretty, pretty close to it. The Lakers are not playing their best, which I'm sure you've seen. There's even more reason to panic if the Lakers don't beat the Spurs since L.A. has a terrible record against the top teams.
(note: Artest has said he is happy in Los Angeles and has denied wanting a trade out of LA)
Former Lakers' GM Jerry West recently called out the Lakers defense or lack thereof. Did you agree with his thoughts?
Oh, they can definitely do better and I'm pretty positive that they can turn it up to the level where they were in last season's playoffs. They're missing some key guys (Barnes, Bynum is in and out)... but we also gotta realize that the Lakers have played essentially an extra season in the last 3 1/2 years. They're going for their fourth consecutive Finals and that hasn't been done since the 80s. They're tired so they gotta reach down and get those third and fourth winds.
How would you assess the Lakers past the midway point of the season?
Record-wise, it's what I expected. Against top teams, though? Another story. Then again, the Lakers faced this sort of crisis last year (including the trade rumors... though there was no one "claiming they wanted out" last year). I'd like to see them win this game to regain their confidence. By then, the Laker fans can go away from the panic button for at least, a week or so.
The Lakers trail the Spurs in the West standings. Can the Lakers catch the Spurs for the top seed in the West?
I think the Lakers will make a run at the end of the season but I don't think they'll catch the Spurs. The Lakers have a tough road trip ahead before the All-Star break and by then, the gap would be too big to catch for L.A.
Let's talk about tonight's game. The last time these two teams met in San Antonio, it was a game where the Lakers got blownout. What adjustments should Los Angeles make to get the win tonight?
Shot distribution. Only two guys attempted more than 10 shots. We expected Kobe Bryant to take 'em, sure... and then you had Shannon Brown chucking shots (1/11). Pau Gasol didn't even have more than 8 shots. 15 assists by the Lakers in that game. They have to get everybody involved.
Defensively, they need to keep the waterbug guards in check. Parker, Hill, and Neal were getting some looks. Ginobili was great at getting everyone involved. And RJ was also key in the previous game. Also, can someone box out DeJuan Blair?
And there's the talk of focus by Kobe. It's now bigger than ever now that Ron Artest trade rumors are going around. The Lakers should treat this like a Playoff game, in my view; get focused, play the game the right way (go inside-out), keep Pau happy with more touches, and, now that it's apparent, keep Ron happy by letting him get more run and a rhythm into the game.
I would like to say that it would be encouraging that as long as they play better, even in a loss... they would be okay. But now, I say they need this win more than ever to squash anything negative that's going on with the team.
• The San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers will face off tomorrow and Lakers' Andrew Bynum says he will give it a go despite an injury:
Andrew Bynum said he would try to play against San Antonio (40-8) despite a bone bruise in his left knee, and the Lakers will try to reduce the 6 1/2 -game-difference between the teams in the Western Conference standings.
"He looked like he was ready," [Phil] Jackson said of Bynum. (source latimes.com)
• The Portland Trail Blazers may have beaten the Spurs last night, but Portland coach Nate McMillan knows a winner when he sees one:
“That organization has been consistent,” Portland coach Nate McMillan says. “Some would call it a dynasty.” (source portlandtribune.com)
• Speaking of the Trail Blazers-Spurs game from last night, did you catch Manu Ginobili's fake on Trail Blazers' Dante Cunningham? Check it out:
• A dream NBA Finals matchup would be the Spurs vs. the Boston Celtics:
With all due respect to David Stern, Pat Riley, Miami’s Big Three, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, everybody at ABC and the millions of NBA fans who are dying to see a Miami Heat-L.A. Lakers Finals, we’ve got a better championship series waiting for you in June.
That’s right, Celtics versus Spurs.
What’s that, if you’re forced to watch those two teams, you won’t need Sominex to help you get some sleep?
Sure, Boston-San Antonio wouldn’t have the glitz or glamour of a Lakers-Heat Finals and the first-ever June showdown between Kobe and LeBron. We have to admit, we’re rooting for that matchup because we’d like to see at least one Finals pitting the game’s top two players. As far as sheer entertainment goes, who wouldn’t want to see Lakers-Heat, especially with a lockout looming only a few weeks after they put the balls away for the season? (source msn.foxsports.com)
• After the recent drug violation by Memphis Grizzlies O.J. Mayo, the Spurs are careful to what their players intake to avoid the same issue as Mayo is dealing with:
The Spurs regularly distribute dietary supplements to players, part of the conditioning regimen that falls under the purview of strength and conditioning coaches Mike Brungardt and Chris White. But each product has been thoroughly vetted.
Along with the vitamins and minerals, they dispense advice.
“We meet with every player individually and go over all supplements we use, which we’ve obviously researched, even visited the labs to make sure everything is up to snuff,” Brungardt said. “When we have the first team meeting of the year, we address the fact we want all of them to use only supplements we’re providing. If they have something else they want to use, they have to make us aware of it so we can make sure it’s safe and not to use anything at all they got over the counter.
“It’s just too risky, and that’s something we re-emphasize a couple of times each season.” (source Express News)
• NBA.com recently discussed which team is best in the NBA. Seems it mainly came down to the Spurs or the Celtics. Here is an excerpt:
Tomorrow night Western Conference powers will square off as the San Antonio Spurs (40-8) face the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers (34-15) in Los Angeles for the second time this season.
The Spurs and Lakers last met in December as the Spurs came away with the victory over the Lakers 97-82. The Lakers will be looking for revenge while the Spurs will look to get back on the winning track after suffering a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
If you are a Spurs fan in Los Angeles and want to catch the game then you are in luck as ticket prices at the Staples Centers are still available and lower than the average costs.
The cheapest seats are in the 300's corner and 300's baseline. There are 174 tickets still available in both zones for a steal at $89. Click HERE to get yourself a ticket for tomorrow's game and join the Spurs for game two of the Rodeo Road Trip.
And if you want to enter for a chance to win a free pair of tickets to this month's Spurs-Oklahoma City Thunder game in San Antonio, follow @projectspurstiq on Twitter. It's that easy.