Posted by hiphopmama on March 12, 2009
LA Lakers 102, San Antonio 95
That was some game, eh? Not that we ever expect anything less against the Spurs, but this one was particularly fun, admittedly because we won, unlike the last time we visited them. It was the Lakers’ second game in two nights, and also the second consecutive game in which we closed well. This time, though, the story line was a little different.
Instead of falling behind and having to dig ourselves out of a deficit, we absolutely jumped on the Spurs from the opening tip and carried an 18 point lead into the second quarter. Everything was working, and the Spurs looked old and sluggish. They put on a couple little runs to cut it to 15 at halftime, and then Popovich must’ve torn ’em all a new one, because they came out looking like a different team after that. They surged out on us in the third, led by Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, plus some clutch shooting from Michael Finley, who appeared not to miss damn near all game. As usual, we were lax in defending the three point line, and they burned us for it, making 11-of-17 shots from distance in the game.
The Spurs’ comeback was a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kinda deal. They would cut into the lead, then go cold, then watch as we extended it back to double figures. That script played out a few times, from the San Antonio run to start the fourth quarter, through our surge in response to restore the lead to 10, all the way to the last two and a half minute mark, when Tony Parker pulled up and nailed a three to cut the lead to two. With the lead down to a single bucket and the clock winding down, who else did you really expect to come to the rescue? Kobe waited around on the offense for a while before just pulling up for a long three from the left wing, making Spurs rookie George Hill look foolish for ever thinking he could deter him. That shot was a back-breaker, and the Spurs never recovered. Duncan scored a deuce on the next possession, but Pau followed it with an easy shot earned from the high double-team Kobe got. On their next possession, the Spurs looked likely to get another easy score when Farmar got picked off on a screen, but – real shocker here – our defensive rotation worked to perfection, as Duncan fielded the pass and turned to find Odom in his lap. Timmy wanted the foul, but the refs called a jump ball instead, which LO won and which sent us on our way. They had a few more chances, but they were all well defended, and I found myself swelling with pride as the defense suffocated all the shots San Antonio wanted. Why we can’t do that more than once or twice a game is beyond me, but at least the D was there when we needed it. Sasha’s two free throws closed it out and we got another win in the second game of a back-to-back.
I must admit that I’m thoroughly amazed at how we’ve turned it around in these last two games after some shoddy play of late, particularly the Portland game. It took us a while to get going against Houston, but once we did we never looked back, and that momentum carried over into this crucial game against the Spurs. Doug Collins was dead on when he noted that the Spurs are not a good come-from-behind team because of their methodical (plodding?) offense, and an 18 point first quarter deficit proved to be too much to overcome. Wait a second – is that the second time in two nights that I’ve praised an announcer? Something must be seriously wrong with me…