The game may be over, but San Antonio Spurs fans are still living it up and to get you through your morning, we get to relive it again in "The Morning After."
• Postgame Q&A
I spoke with Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass right after the game to get his thoughts on what he had seen the previous 48 minutes, his thoughts on what the Spurs did right, can work on and what the Lakers need to do to get out of their current 3-game skid.
1. Did you learn anything new about the Spurs tonight that you didn't know before this game?
Their defense was outstanding in this game. Maybe part of that was that Kobe shot the ball too much (Shannon Brown was the only one to shoot more than 10 times... and he finished 1 for 11) but holding the Lakers down to 82 is pretty damn impressive. The Spurs had changed their identity this year but, in this game, we got a little throwback.
2. Spurs fans are sometimes notorious for getting a little overexcited. While I'm beaming, I'll wait to start popping bottles until this happens in the playoffs. Is this just a case of a bad game, catching the Lakers at a bad time, or was that a true barometer of the level the Spurs are playing and capable of playing this year.
Probably a little bit of both... but teams trying to three-peat have had trouble. Look at the '93 and '98 Bulls. Look at the 2002 Lakers. Those were the toughest title years for those squads. I'm not sure if the Spurs are peaking too early or not, it's hard to tell... but this is still the Spurs. They still have Gregg Popovich and they still have Tim Duncan. They are the masters of discipline and I won't doubt it if they actually roll through the regular season.
3. Kobe isn't always going to be limited this much, so even in a win, where do you think the Spurs can improve before they play again?
It was very noticeable that Tim Duncan wasn't in the game much... although he did bother Pau Gasol quite a bit. But his offensive output was minimal (1/7, 2 pts.). Tiago Splitter was also supposed to be a key to the team but he was non-existent in this game. So basically, your frontline needs to step up. DeJuan Bear, er, Blair, though... man, did he play a key in this game. I wish the Lakers didn't trade their first round pick and used it on Blair instead!
4. What were the biggest keys for the Spurs tonight, and what will the Lakers have to do to get out this slump?
We knew coming in that the guard play was going to be key. Parker, Neal, and Hill were running all over the place. While Ginobili shot badly, he set the table for the rest of the guys. Plus DeJuan Blair was a killer on the offensive glass when the game, at the time, wasn't out of reach. Seemed like the Lakers didn't want to put effort or something.
As far as the Lakers go... we've seen this before but this is to a different degree now. The Lakers have lost three straight for the second time this season. They have to step up on defense. They have to stop whining to the referees when nothing is going their way (the refs did a good job calling this game, by the way... and I will never use that as an excuse). They have to stop making bad decisions. And Kobe's emotions seemed to get in the way. Better ball control, better effort on rebounding... man, this sounds like I'm talking about a lottery team.
Now I'm just hoping they play a tad better against the Hornets, who have Chris Paul. God. I'm going to jump into a bedful of knives.
"Things just kinda fed off of me not being able to make shots and everybody else started not being able to make shots…missing free throws and layups and stuff like that. I just gotta put the ball in the damn hole. It’s my responsibility. It’s my job and I gotta do it."
- Kobe Bryant.
• In Black and White
Spurs show Lakers who's best in west (Boston Globe)
Lakers come unglued again in 97-82 loss to San Antonio (Los Angeles Times)
Notes on a scorecard (San Antonio Express News)
Kobe joins Lakers' latest blame game (Yahoo Sports)
Another blowout loss (or is this rock bottom yet?) (Forum Blue and Gold)
• Balanced offense
We've been saying all season long that balanced offense has been a huge factor to the Spurs success. On a night where Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined for four-of-nineteen from the field, that couldn't be more obvious as Tony Parker, DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal and George Hill carried the scoring load. Add James Anderson to that mix when he comes back and the Spurs could be pretty hard to stop in the post-season.
• Tweeting the game
I don't get why Celtic fans want to face the Lakers in the Finals, wouldn't you want to beat the other Dynasty of this decade? the Spurs? - @ProBskbllTalk
I'm absolutely loving the clinic on NBAtv. - @DMArtest
In addition to his 10 points, George Hill had nine boards, three assists, two steals and four blocked shots in 27 minutes. Awesome. - @stackmack