For Old Time's Sake: Lakers vs. Spurs (in person!)
I went to the Lakers-Spurs game with my girlfriend last night. We had pretty good seats for 60$ a ticket. A very good deal. Here are my thoughts from last night’s game:
Kobe was awesome. He scored 28 and he made it look easy. He added 8 assists and 4 rebounds. The most impressive part of his game tonight was his efficiency. Kobe went 12-19 from the field and hit shots form all over the floor. In recent years Kobe has relied on his post game and outside shooting to score but this year he’s going to the rim. Going into last night’s game Kobe was shooting 54% and managed to improve on that mark. Kobe absolutely looks like a top 5 player still and if he keeps this up will have one of his best seasons ever. Its kind of shame his great play has been overshadowed by drama and losing. Can Kobe keep it up? Yes and no. Kobe always starts off hot at the beginning of every season. And Kobe’s a 45% shooter for his career so I doubt he’ll shoot 55% all of a sudden. I can see him shooting close to 50% though. Kobe is picking his spots and taking advantage of the attention that Dwight and Pau draw to get easier shots for himself. He also has avoided chucking up bad shots this season. Down the stretch in last night Kobe ran two pick and rolls with Pau and hit Pau with the pass both times. A big key for Mike D’Antoni will be keeping Kobe fresh down the stretch. He last couple of seasons Kobe started the season off hot and then cooled down considerably after logging big minutes and playing through injuries. The Lakers need these kind of performances from Kobe come May.
The Lakers can play with the Spurs. The Spurs are one of the best teams in the league and the Lakers hung with them all game and had a chance to win at the end. So even though I was mad at the result I was happy the Lakers competed. The Spurs are old like the Lakers so it makes sense that this game was close. The Lakers biggest weakness is their inability to keep up with athletic teams and the Spurs don’t have the players to capitalize.
Man it’s been a good run with the Duncan-led Spurs playing the Kobe-led (Shaq too) Lakers. The Spurs are too classy to hate on but it’s really fun to watch these teams go at it. Duncan had himself a very good game and I thought Tony Parker was the difference for San Antonio. Manu Ginobili (one of my fav non-Lakers) was a non-factor going 1-8 from the floor. He’s been injured a bit already and I hope he can return to form cuz I love that dude’s game. If the Spurs are going to be tile contenders they’ll need Manu to play to his ceiling.
Dwight’s gonna make us wait. We’re 8 games into the season and Dwight still has a ways to go as far as conditioning and everything else. He is still a little slow defensively and he’s mad awkward at times on offense. Dwight’s either dunked or he fumbled the ball out of bounds on offense. He had a ton of rebounds though. My estimate is that its gonna take until Christmas for Dwight to really get rolling and that means that…
The Lakers aren’t gonna be the super team that was advertised until then. Dwight is the key.
The Lakers need Steve Nash back. The Laker reserves were ok last night. Jordan hill is my fav reserve and the only one who can actually be considered good. The Lakers don’t have anyone other than Kobe who can get into the paint or make a play or create their own shot. Antawn Jamison hit a three but not much else. Metta had a hilariously up and down game (on his birthday) and Darius Morris and Chris Duhon are themselves. I don’t know what the hell Jodie Meeks was doing out there either. He looked like he was trying too hard.
Pau Gasol is still good, but awkward. The more and more I watch Pau play power forward and play out the high post the more I miss his days on the block playing alongside Lamar Odom. Pau is a center with a mid-range jumper, he’s not a pick and pop power forward and he’ll never be one. He takes a while to get his feet set out there and by that time the defender can close out on his shot. Pau was only 3-10 from the floor in this game and for the season is under 50%. Part of the it is that he missed shots that he can make and part of it is he needs to get closer shots. When Dwight and Pau were on the court together Dwight was always on the block and Pau was at the top of the key setting picks. I feel like their roles should be reversed at least some of the time. Pau is dangerous in the pick and pop but Dwight is deadly in the pick and roll. Dwight is effective on the block if a bit awkward while Pau is a beast. I did like Kobe and Pau two-man game down the stretch though. Pau hit some free throws to put that Lakers up 1 and Kobe hit Pau with a pass off Pau’s pick and Pau hit the elbow jumper the next play to put the Lakers up 3. Kobe hit Pau again after Duncan scored to make it a one-point game and Pau found Metta who missed an open three. The Spurs (Danny Green) made the Lakers pay hitting a 3 to go up 2 with 9 seconds left. Metta F’ed up the inbound pass, Pau couldn’t find Kobe and had to settle for a three over Duncan, which he missed. I liked Kobe’s unselfishness down he stretch and it would have been great if they got the win, but there were enough positives in the game for the Lakers to build on.
It was a fun game to see in person down the stretch and very reminiscent of the last Lakers-Spurs game I went to in 2011 when The Spurs beat LA on a tip by Antonio McDyess.