Jan 10, 2013, 12:27 AM EDT
In what’s been a familiar site lately, the Lakers lost a game on Wednesday night, this time to the Spurs 108-105. The loss drops them to 15-20 on the season and represents another shovel of dirt on their playoff chances in what’s been their most disappointing season…maybe ever.
The win gave the Spurs their 15th win (in only 17 games) in San Antonio this season and allows them to keep pace with the red hot Clippers and Thunder in the standings by pushing their record to 28-10 on the year. The win also allows the Spurs to bounce back from a loss in their most recent game, un unsettling defeat to the Hornets.
The result to this game, for nearly everyone, was a foregone conclusion. The Lakers have stunk, were missing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, and were on the second night of a back to back. Meanwhile, the Spurs are the Spurs and were playing at home. It really should have been that simple.
Except, of course, it wasn’t. I guess that’s why they play the games.
Early on the game went mostly as expected. The Spurs were able to build a relatively comfortable lead, using a combination of good off ball movement and their size advantage to get easy shots inside. The Lakers, as they have all year, struggled to defend for multiple passes and were thus beat by back door cuts when the ball was reversed while also falling victim to offensive rebounds when they didn’t help the helper on San Antonio dribble penetration.
As the game went on, the Lakers did well to stay within striking distance with Metta World Peace (23 points) able to take advantage of his match up with Tiago Splitter by scoring inside off dribble penetration and out by making deep jumpers when Splitter got sucked into the paint.
The Lakers were also bolstered by a career night from Earl Clark who, thrust into the rotation due to L.A.’s injuries, found creases in the Spurs’ defense. Clark used his athleticism and active legs to slash into the lane and get shots close to the basket and then hit his mid-range jumper when the defense sagged off him. Clark’s 22 points (on only 12 FGA’s) were surely found money for the Lakers but desperately needed someone to offset the cold shooting night Kobe Bryant was having.
However, even with the Lakers keeping it close the Spurs were right there to snuff out any attempt for an upset. Whenever the Spurs needed a bucket, Tony Parker (24 points, 6 assists, 10-16 shooting) would drive to the rim or hit a mid-range jumper. If not Parker, then Ginobili (19 points, 8 rebounds) would go on the attack and either hit a key shot or draw a foul that sent him to the foul line.
If the game had actually continued in this fashion — and it certainly looked like it would — no one would have batted an eyelash at the result. After all, it’s what we all expected.
But in the lead in to the fourth quarter, the Lakers started to make one more push that felt different. Down by 17, World Peace hit a three pointer. After a Ginobili turnover, Kobe then hit a short jumper to cut the Spurs’ lead to 12. A Parker miss was followed by an Earl Clark long 2 and suddenly it was 10. The quarter would end with Kobe hitting another jumper to cut make it a single digit game, but with Manu getting it back to 10 with free throws.
With the stage set, the 4th quarter became a drama filled period with both sides showing some clutch shot making to give their side a boost. A running Nash jumper from 19 feet was countered by a Gary Neal three pointer. A Clark lay in off a Nash pass would only give a short momentum boost as Stephen Jackson hit a three, and then another. Before you knew it the Spurs were back up by 16 and with only 7 minutes to go the game was over.
Not so fast. Here is where the game got really good.
Furiously, the Lakers began their final try at a win. And, in one of the more un-Spurs like performance you’ll see, it looked like San Antonio wanted the Lakers to have it. Spurs turnovers became Laker baskets. Made shots by Antawn Jamison, World Peace, and Kobe seemed to only further unravel the Spurs.
With Stephen Jackson arguing a non-foul call, he earned himself an ejection after two technicals and, with the ensuing FT’s the Lakers would only trail by 5. The possession that followed was the Lakers best of the game where nearly every player touched the ball and it ended with a Jamison lay up off a nifty pass from Nash. Three point game.
Sadly, for the Lakers, that would be as close as they’d get, though the last minute of the game was just as exciting. A Ginobili three pointer to push the Spurs back up to 6 was quickly countered by a triple by Clark. On the Spurs final possession they’d turn the ball over and give the Lakers one last shot.
However, in the most anticlimactic of endings the final Laker shot would be what we’ve all seen countless times. Even though the team was down three, Mike D’Antoni eschewed a set play call and instead gave the ball to Kobe to work in isolation deep on the wing. He rose up a foot behind the three point line and missed a contested jumper that bounced harmlessly off the rim. Ball game.
As it stands, the Lakers, though shorthanded, are showing more fight than they have all year. But, it’s just not making a difference in the win column. This game offered excitement, but like so many other games this season it ended in disappointment.
Meanwhile the Spurs just keep trucking. They came into the game with the league’s 5th ranked offense and defense in terms of points per possession. This game did nothing to show they can’t continue to keep that up, though I’m sure Coach Popovich would have liked a cleaner finish.
I’m also sure he’s not going to give this win back. No matter how much the Lakers could have used it.
Jun 17, 2013, 10:45 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 8:54 PM EDT
Metta World Peace was in rare form today. He was on Sportsradio 610 in Houston — and let me say as a guy who has done a fair amount of radio spots with some quality hosts there, the buzz is all about Dwight Howard coming to the Rockets. If they are talking hoops, they are…
Jun 17, 2013, 7:02 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 5:51 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 5:12 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 4:36 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 4:34 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 4:20 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 3:22 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 1:58 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 1:43 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 1:22 PM EDT
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Heat must accomplish something they haven’t been able to in a month if they want to repeat as champions
Jun 17, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT
SAN ANTONIO — After falling to the Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, the Miami Heat find themselves in a most uncomfortable position. In order to win the championship that they were heavily favored to at the outset of the postseason, they’ll need to accomplish something that they haven’t been able…
Jun 17, 2013, 12:08 PM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 12:07 PM EDT
SAN ANTONIO — Danny Green has been on a record-breaking tear with his three-point shooting through the first five games of the Finals, and he’s been a key reason the Spurs are taking a three games to two series lead back to Miami with two chances to close the Heat out. It isn’t just the…
Jun 17, 2013, 11:42 AM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 10:56 AM EDT
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Jun 17, 2013, 10:21 AM EDT
While the talks to bring Doc Rivers in as coach of the Clippers — along with players Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in a massive trade — are not dead, they are stalled out and on life support. So the Clippers are moving forward — they are going to bring in Brian Shaw for a…
Jun 17, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT
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