With the 2011 NBA All-Star game coming next month in Los Angeles, the NBA released the second returns of fan voting. Here is how San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are doing so far:
Duncan in fifth place:
Kevin Durant (Thunder) 735,521
Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets) 602,516
Pau Gasol (Lakers) 597,201
Dirk Nowitzki (Mavs) 447,737
Tim Duncan (Spurs) 436,651
Ginobili is in third place and Parker is in eighth place:
Kobe Bryant (Lakers) 1,153,694
Chris Paul (Hornets) 585,690
Manu Ginobili (Spurs) 403,632
Steve Nash (Suns) 321,659
Deron Williams (Utah) 313,011
Jason Kidd (Mavs) 234,779
Russell Westbrook (Thunder) 233,593
Tony Parker (Spurs) 219,378
Still time to vote the Big 3 into the All-Star game by clicking HERE.
With the 2011 NBA All-Star game coming next month in Los Angeles, the NBA released the second returns of fan voting. Here is how San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are doing so far:
The Spurs just don’t have it. They just don’t have, it.
Whatever “it” has been this year—by most accounts, defensive help in the frontcourt and on the wing—the lack of it has prevented a fair amount of people, fans or otherwise (this guy included) from jumping on the Spurs’ championship bandwagon. Call it conventional wisdom, call it set in one’s ways, call it what you will, it is what it is—and what it is, is knowing what works; what has worked.
A healthy amount of skepticism is never a bad thing. But skepticism can quickly become cynicism, leaving a curmudgeon in its wake. There comes a time where the skeptic has to become skeptical of their skepticism: “Am I looking to prove a point, or have I yet to be proven wrong?”
While it’s still too early to know that answer for certain, games like the one witnessed Tuesday give a skeptic hope.
After an inauspicious start for the home team—a 10-3 deficit, Bryant converting on 4 of 5 shots for a quick 8 points—the Spurs needed a rudder. They were tight, playing a little too quick and without much composure—enter Tony Parker.
Parker clearly sensed his team was in need of some leadership. The crowd’s Laker contingent was having a little too much fun and the vibe just wasn’t right. The Spurs needed a bucket, stat, and Parker delivered by calmly draining an elbow jumper in early offense as if he was the only player on the court. It’s little, seemingly insignificant points that make a game 10-5 instead of 10-3 that make all the difference. It’s moments that tell teammates “We’re good.” or “They’ve had their fun, our turn.” that instill belief and confidence in a team, develop a swagger. It usually comes from a team’s leader(s), Parker obliged on this occasion.
The Spurs would settle and close the first quarter on a 16-2 run. But the Spurs were playing the champs, an elite team with undeniable talent and experience, and righting the ship is temporary—the journey isn’t over until you’ve reached shore.
Almost exactly as the game started, the Lakers went on an 8-0 run to start the second quarter, only their bench unit had been responsible this time. The Spurs struggled to hit their customary shots and had trouble getting to the basket with the Lakers’ length—the Spurs found themselves down 42-40 at the half. But what was seen on the highlights and what will be remembered by Spurs fans most, is George Hill’s unwillingness to back down or acquiesce to one of the NBA’s best, Kobe Bryant.
If you didn’t know, now you know: be careful what you ask for—or how you step to [George Hill].
And after Hill stood his ground, Blair decided to gain, shake and move a little of his own. In the third quarter, the 21-year-old Pitt product opened the frame with a teardrop and then brought the thunder, recording 7 points, 8 rebounds (3 offensive), two steals and leaving his team up eleven in the plus/minus after just 7:56 of play.
Blair’s early-season struggles have been well documented, and it’s caused some to question where he would be most effective, or even whom he’d be effective against. But his talent and ability to produce have never been in question, nor has the confidence he naturally exudes. He, like Hill, is built of the right timber—it’s a matter of when, not if. Given the fortune of good health, Big and Smallz (as they affectionately refer to one another) will eventually put it all together, both the mental and physical aspects of the game. But for now, fans will see their best basketball when they’re given an assignment, a task, a team like the Lakers—an opponent that comes to the court as a known quantity, someone whose offense and defense have been heavily scouted by the coaching staff—that’s when the duo is at their best.
And in the fourth quarter, Hill and Blair displayed some of their best.
For Blair, it was more of the same, putting up another four points and grabbing six more rebounds. The pearly whites were on full display. But Hill? In his second game back after returning from a toe injury, the man emptied the tank. Simply put, he was everywhere on the defensive end, creating havoc with both his on-ball and help defense—Hill decided to show Kobe he not only stood strong, he had the game to back it up.
And after Manu Ginobili was late to Kobe in transition and Gary Neal got caught up on a down screen, the Lakers closed to within nine after consecutive Bryant 3s. Unease beset the building, as it seemed Kobe was on the brink of a scoring binge. What happened next was so matter of fact and unspectacular that it was, indeed, spectacular: Hill advanced the ball up court on the dribble, dropped the ball off to Neal just outside the three-point line and then ran a wheel play—going from the left wing to under the basket to the right wing—Hill caught the ball off an elbow curl and calmly knocked down the jumper. Spurs up eleven—they would get a stop the next possession, and eventually put the game out of reach via Neal and, finally, Ginobili 3s.
So far as regular season wins go, beating the defending champion is always a nice feather in the cap, and it may have even bolstered the belief of these current Spurs. There’s absolutely nothing negative to glean from a 15-point win over the defending champs, especially when they have a full compliment of players, two of your three best players can’t put the ball in the hole and when you’re able to give a player as valuable as McDyess the night off in the process.
But it’s one game, and those Lakers—the Lakers team seen Tuesday (the one that had been blown out by Milwaukee and Miami the two games prior)—were not the Lakers team you can expect to see come May. And to be fair, neither were the Spurs—though they seemed to display a foreshadowing of who they will be and what the coaching staff this summer hoped to mold them into being.
Length, Speed and Swagger: Spurs’ Recipe for Success–Part 2
The San Antonio Spurs will take on the Dallas Mavericks tonight who will be without Dirk Nowitzki:
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will not play against the San Antonio Spurs, coach Rick Carlisle said after the morning shootaround.
It will be the second game Nowitzki missed after suffering a mild sprain to his right knee during Monday's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nowitzki said after that game that the knee had been bothering him for two weeks. (source espn.com)
Currently the Mavericks are 2.5 games behind the Spurs in the Southwest Division. Should the Spurs beat the Mavericks tonight, expect all Mavericks fans to point to the fact Nowitzki was out and the Spurs did not face a healthy Mavericks squad. When it comes to this rivalry, a win is a win.
Another huge game for the Spurs looming on the calendar is a showdown with the Eastern Conference leaders, Boston Celtics, who might be without their star Kevin Garnett when the Spurs visit Boston next week. Garnett injured his knee in last night's game against the Detroit Pistons and here is an update from our good friends over at RedsArmy.com:
Danny Ainge, much like Celtics Nation this afternoon, is awaiting word on the MRI results for Kevin Garnett's lower right leg injury.
But Ainge tells CSNNE.com that the MRI, more than anything else, was being performed as a precautionary measure, not a necessity.
The news keeps getting slightly better each time we get an update. Now if only we can get the MRI results that say "mild strain...out for 2 weeks", We can all just chill the hell out.
I really want KG to play in this game. These two teams are similar in every way is eerie. Not to mention some NBA fans yearn to see the Spurs and Celtics face off in the NBA Finals. This is another team which is a great measuring stick to see if the Spurs are really as good as their leading NBA record reflects especially if they beat the Celtics at full strength.
Well it seems Garnett will be out against the Spurs next week in Boston:
Hey... remember in my last post when I asked for the MRI to say "mild strain...out for 2 weeks".
KG's MRI came back negative. Has a muscle strain in the right calf area. Will likely be out two weeks.
Well thank GOD for that one. Now we can all do our little happy dance because after what we saw last night... this is the best case scenario!
With tonight's game looming against division rival Dallas Mavericks, I spoke to Rob Mahoney, who covers the Mavericks regularly on his blog, The Two-Man Game.
The Mavericks have also started this season off with an impressive 24-6 record and if you think they might be vulnerable away from the American Airlines Center, they are an even more impressive 11-1 on the road.
Rob and I discussed the game-plan for tonight's game, the matchups and Dirk Nowitzki's play-by-play prowess.
1. What is the status on Dirk and what exactly does "take that with you" mean?
It could definitely change between now and game time, but at present Dirk seems doubtful for Thursday's game. His injury isn't too serious (he's still listed as day-to-day), but the Mavs have no business rushing him back into the lineup, even for a pretty big game against San Antonio.
As for his play-by-play exclamation...I'm baffled. The phrase should become a classic Dirkism as far as I'm concerned, but for now, I'll chalk it up to the random bout of on-air nonsense.
2. We all watched as the Lakers stopped Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, but still lost. What will the Mavs do to try to solve the San Antonio Spurs' balanced offense?
The Spurs' offense clearly isn't some easily solvable solution, even if the elements in the formula are fairly obvious. So the Mavs will do what they can to limit whatever avenues they can. They'll run shooters off the three-point line, use the zone to prevent as much penetration as possible, and assign their best man defenders on Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan. Hopefully they'll still be mindful of George Hill and Richard Jefferson, but if the defense is executed properly, those players should be accounted for, anyway.
3. While the San Antonio Spurs have the NBA's top record and are the hottest team right now, especially after an impressive win against the Lakers, what are you're reasons for why the Mavs may be more primed for a long postseason run into the Finals?
I'm not entirely sold on the Mavs over the Spurs as a Finals candidate myself, but if I were building their case, I'd start with the following:
Better record against quality teams. The Mavs have had one of the toughest schedules in the NBA this season, and they've thrived even against that high level of competition. Dallas has played two more games against .500+ teams than San Antonio, and have the second win percentage (.817) in such games while S.A. is ranked 16th in win percentage against .500+ teams (.754). That's not a glaring difference, but the Mavs have performed better against winning teams, and won the sole match-up between the two Texas teams this season.
Defense. I heard once that defense wins championships, and the Mavs are 1.7 points per 100 possessions better on the defensive end than the Spurs. Again, not an overwhelming number, but the line between the two teams is fairly thin, so you take the statistical distinctions as you can find them.
Wild Card! The Spurs are pretty much a finished product, whereas the Mavs are still missing their second most productive scorer (per minute) from last season: Rodrigue Beaubois. The second-year guard won't be available for Thursday, but by playoff time, he should be in full effect. No one knows where Beaubois will pick up once he returns from injury (a broken foot and the subsequent rehab have kept him out of the lineup thus far this season), but the possibility of a mid-season addition without as much as a trade is interesting.
4. If you were the head coach tonight, what would your gameplan be for a win against the Spurs?
First of all, I'd be pretty daunted; the Spurs are a hell of a team, and I'm not envious of any head coach who has to game-plan against them. That said, I'd start with Manu Ginobili. He's the most dangerous of San Antonio's three stars, in my estimation, and the player which I'd most like to curtail. I trust Tyson Chandler (and Brendan Haywood, to an extent) to challenge Duncan in the post, at the elbow, and in the pick-and-roll, and I trust the combination of the Mavs' perimeter D and team defense (especially the zone) to rein in Parker. Ginobili is such an explosive scorer, and when he's rolling, it won't matter who's defending him. That said, I'd be sure to give him my damnedest, and blanket him with as many defenders as necessary while still respecting the Spurs' top individual threats.
It's not a perfect plan, and it leaves the defense vulnerable to Hill, Jefferson, Gary Neal, etc., but it's what I've got. I'd have an eye on Manu at all times, and if that plays right into Pop's hand, so be it.
5. The Mavericks and Spurs are on a bit of a role reversal this year as the Spurs are winning with offense and the Mavs are winning with defense, especially down low. Which one wins the game tonight?
The Spurs' offense, and the Mavs' lack of offense. Without Dirk, the Mavs are pretty hopeless offensively. Dallas is structured in a way that maximizes Dirk's talents but also makes the team incredibly reliant on his scoring, spacing, and offensive presence. Take him out of the mix, and the effectiveness of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, et al are all slashed. A fully operational Mavs team would have their work cut out for them with the Spurs, but they don't have much of a chance without Nowitzki.
Thanks to Rob for taking the time to give us his perspective on the Mavs for tonight's game, and make sure to come back tomorrow for the "Morning After" and Robby Lim's "Stats of the Game."
The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best when it comes to international scouting and drafting impact players deep into the NBA Draft.
In 1997, they were lucky to snag the number one pick which led to Tim Duncan. Since then, they have used the draft to build around Duncan. Drafting late-round "gems" such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, George Hill, DeJuan Blair and James Anderson. The list just goes on and on.
This off-season, while their primary focus was to lure Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter to play in San Antonio, another "under-the-radar" move was signing Gary Neal. With Neal, the Spurs got a spot-up shooter with enough handle that can be utilized in pick-and-roll situations. The best part of it? The Spurs were able to lock him up for three-years on the cheap.
In 31 regular season games, Neal is averaging 8.1 points (sixth among rookies) while shooting 41.9% from the field, including 38.0% from behind the arc in 17.9 minutes of playing time. He is known for his shooting stroke and ability to knock down shots and I mean hit big shots at critical parts of the game.
When Hill went out a toe injury, Neal stepped up and became the Spurs' first option off the bench. In four games with Hill's absence, he was more than able to fill the void as he averaged 17.7 points and three rebounds while shooting 46.8% from the field and 42.3 percent from behind the arc, highlighted by back-to-back 22-point performances in victories over the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets.
Against the Suns, Neal struggled to hit open looks from behind the arc, but made up for it by getting to the free throw line making 7-8 attempts. More than just the typical spot-up shooter, Neal displayed just enough lateral quickness and creativity off the bounce to create his own shot.
After that, he was on fire against the Nuggets going 5-7 from the three-point range including the 3-point basket which sealed the Spurs win late in the fourth quarter.
Let's not forget Neal clearly is an unconventional rookie. His three seasons of experience overseas has proven to be beneficial in his early assimilation with the Spurs system. Not to mention his phenomenal play in the 2010 Las Vegas Summer League opened up many eyes and had people saying, "The Spurs did it again."
• Want to win a pair of free tickets to a San Antonio Spurs home game next month? Of course you do! All you have to do it follow @projectspurstiq on Twitter to enter. Easy huh?
• The Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks will face off tomorrow night for the second time this season. However the Mavericks might be coming into the contest without their main gun, Dirk Nowitzki:
But in addition to Dallas undertaking this assignment while looking up at San Antonio in the standings, they'll likely do so with Dirk Nowitzki sitting outside the ropes.
"Ohh... Thursday might be pushing it," he said on Mavs Facebook late Tuesday night, reflecting on his sprained knee. "I don't know about Thursday. We'll see. I've been a quick healer all my life... but we'll see." (source foxsportssouthwest.com)
• Speaking of the Spurs and Mavericks, the debate rages on on which of these two great teams is the best and NBA.com tackled this debate. Here is an excerpt:
David Aldridge: I love the Spurs right now. (Emphasis on “right now.” See Question/Answer #1.) What they’re doing now that they haven’t been able to do, maybe ever during their run, is avoid those long scoreless streaks that put so much pressure on their defense to hold everyone under 90 every night. That’s hard to do in this era, with the rules and Duncan’s declining effectiveness. I know Pop thinks the D is mediocre, and maybe it is by San Antonio’s standards. But it can still be pretty good, especially if George Hill can stay healthy.
Steve Aschburner: Spurs. What we’re seeing in San Antonio isn’t just a start to the season anymore, it’s the season, period. That makes what the Spurs are doing all the more real, and it puts more onus on them to make sure this leads to something satisfying at the end. Beyond that, I just think they’re built better for the postseason and the competition out West. When a San Antonio team can win getting only modest (or less) production out of Tim Duncan, that team has plenty in reserve and ready options. Dallas is doing a great job, but we’ve been forced to choose and I choose Spurs.
• Last night's game between the Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers lived up to all the pregame hype and Spurs fans were in full force in the AT&T Center as were Lakers fans:
Lisa Kirsch and her mother, Kathy Gerlach, stopped at a restaurant for supper before going to the first Spurs-Lakers game of the season Tuesday night at the AT&T Center.
“She got booed as she left the restaurant,” Kirsch said, trying to stifle a chuckle. “By my sister.”
• Express News' Tim Griffin weighs in with his thoughts on the Spurs-Lakers game and in particular how the Spurs played well with Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan having sub-par performances.
• What did Tony Parker and DeJuan Blair have to say about last night's win over the Lakers? Find out.
• Now what did Lakers' Kobe Bryant have to say about the loss to the Spurs? Check it out:
• The Spurs will be helping the San Antonio community once again this time in combating child hunger in San Antonio:
The Johnson Key Club is partnering with the Spurs to combat child hunger through a program called the Team Up Challenge. The program encourages clubs and classes to perform service-learning projects that improve the community in one of five areas: education, environment, health and wellness, arts and culture and uniformed services.
• Remember that cable issue in San Antonio which could possibly mean Spurs fans may lose out watching a few games? Well it's still not settled:
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., engaged in a battle with Time Warner Cable Inc. over programming costs, announced Tuesday that negotiations have ceased, which could cause local Fox and CW programming on the cable television provider to “go dark” Saturday.
As the San Antonio Spurs have navigated through a decade or more of dominance in the Western Conference, there have been few constants.
The on-court leadership of Tim Duncan may be the singular factor that pervades the category. As the sun sets on the previous decade, Spurs fans witnessed the peaceful transfer of such power from the previous ruler of the proverbial kingdom, David Robinson, to the young and promising Duncan. As we begin the dawn of a new decade, are we seeing a similar transfer to the not-so-young but ever reliable Manu Ginobili?
It certainly doesn't have the same symbolic hallmarks: Manu has been an integral part of the Spurs organization for many years now, unlike Duncan when he took the reigns. Manu was not a promising draft pick packaged with the requisite larger than life expectations. He also may not have many more years left than Duncan, whose aging has been oft discussed by a relentlessly over-dramatic media (lest we forget that Tim, in limited minutes, is in the midst of a season in which he is less than half a rebound away from averaging a double-double.)
But there are a few interesting trends that are difficult to deny.
In three consecutive game-winning scenarios this month, Pop has drawn up plays that had Manu taking the final shot. In one other, the play was clearly designed to go to Manu who was forced to pass out of a double team to Tim who, surprised by the ball, quickly gave it up to Jefferson who in turn dropped an air-ball to send the game to overtime.
As we've discussed before, Manu's minutes are actually up this season. Manu is averaging nearly thirty-two minutes per game right now; the second most on the team next to Parker. He's playing the minutes that Tim Duncan used to play and having similar, if not better, success. He is averaging nearly 20 points a game for only the second time in his career while Tim is averaging the fewest points per game (13.6) of his lengthy career. In each of the season's in which the Spurs won a championship, Tim averaged over twenty himself. Is Manu filling that role now? He's clearly the go-to-guy on the team when the game is on the line.
Is this Manu's team?
On a team such as the Spurs, and with individuals like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, such a question is almost certainly not a point of any contention. Indeed, rarely have professional sports seen an organization so focused on winning as a team and so dearth of selfish players looking for individual accolades. But nonetheless, one wonders who is the locker room leader at this point in the season.
Who do the players trust the most with the ball when the game is on the line?
Seeing the San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers last night was fantastic but the icing on the cake was watching George Hill not back down from Kobe Bryant when the two exchanged words.
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
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili had bad shooting nights but it didn't matter, with a great defensive team effort and Tony Parker scoring 23 points, the San Antonio Spurs beat the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 97-82.
Here are some numbers that stood out in this latest Spurs victory.
42 - The Lakers entered the game leading the league on points in the paint but the Spurs dominated on the inside and outscored the Lakers 42-28 on inside points.
35.4 - San Antonio held the Lakers to just 29-82 shooting from the field (35.4%) to set a new season-low for a Spurs opponent.
23 - Tony Parker had a game-high 23 points, including 14 in the first half that kept the Spurs in the game.
21 - Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 21 points but only shot 8-27 from the field as he missed 13 shots in a row after making four of his first five attempts.
17-15 - DeJuan Blair was suppose to struggle against long athletic bigs like Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom but that was not the case. Blair had season-highs 17 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 8-14 from the field in 32 minutes of action.
17 - The Spurs' transition game worked in their favor, they outscored the Lakers 17-8 on fast break points.
15 - With Duncan and Ginobili struggling on offense, Richard Jefferson turned out a solid performance. He scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Spurs.
10-9-4 - George Hill led the Spurs bench with 10 points, added a season high nine boards and a career-high four block shots. But more importantly, he never backed down and did a great job on containing Kobe on the offensive end.
9 - The Spurs took care of the ball they only had nine turnovers to the Lakers' 16.
0 - How well did Parker, Jefferson and Hill played? All players did not commit a single turnover for the entire game.
Rookie Watch: Neal had nine points, two rebounds, one assists and one steal in 18 minutes of action. Tiago Splitter had two points, one rebound, one assists and a block shot in 7 minutes of playing time.
What's Next? The Spurs will visit the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas on Thursday.
Follow Robby Lim on Twitter @RobbyLim21