Well, Game 1 is in the bag. And it sucked. I'm not the Spurs, so I WILL say "heck yes, they looked tired in the 4th quarter." The Lakers got really energized as the lead shrinked, the Spurs started to really do some stupid stuff that they hadn't done all game long, and poof, Game 1 to the Lakers.
Things that worked :
1) Speed Racer vs. Fisher.... Even I felt odd that when Fisher drove to the lane those 2 times and didn't get the call (odd, yes because it was in LA) but otherwise Fisher had completely disappeared. Tony did exactly what was needed, and it showed. I fully believe Mr. Longoria will continue to do this, a la the Suns series, and the Lakers atm don't have much of an answer for him. If this is the X factor key of the series, I really like the Spurs' chances.
2) Timmah vs. the Myth that is Gasol/Odom defense.... Tim went off for 30/18. Those are Duncan vs. Pheonix numbers. Jackson finally, FINALLY started to double team him in the 4th, and he still drained shots. This will have to bother the Lakers a lot.
3) The Spurs had much better ball movement overall than the Lakers.... The Spurs committed 12 turnovers to the Lakers' 10, and 1 was on the odd travel call on Tim at the rim, the other was a 3 second violation after Odom did not get called on the Flop of the Game when he went barreling into Tim. The Spurs took care of the ball VERY well this game...even with Manu's really DUMB moves towards the end. Until the end of the 4th, the passing was crisp, well executed, and the perimeter players shot nice, open looks.
4) Manu can NOT have a worse game than tonight. Even some Laker fans on this board were asking "what the heck is wrong with Ginobili, he looks hungover." He had the WORST game of his playoff life it seemed, and the Spurs, tired as they were, still only lost by 4. Kobe showed up finally, but Manu never did. Had he, we'd all be happy-drunk right now, I'm sure.
5) Bruce is the MAN. Bruce scored 12 points!! He held Kobe in check until midway through the 3rd quarter until Pop sat him with his 3rd foul. As far as that goes, yes, he still has got it :)
6) Fouls. We made the Lakers into the Laker Jump Shooting Show and it showed tremendously. Even the announcers were commending the Spurs on how they are "not the Jazz" and went on to rip the Jazz and how inferior they were to the Spurs. Yay us. Maybe the Laker fans will realize they have a real battle team on thier hands and not think the Jazz were "perfect to get us ready for the Spurs."
Things that did NOT work out well :
1) Manu can NOT have a worse game than tonight. (Yes, this is the best and worst thing). His usual stat line is NOT 3/13, it's more like 6/13, or 8/17. I'd normally clump the fact of "well Bowen went for 12, so that would have offset Manu's production, Spurs still lost, you suck" type of arguement here, but Ginobili still got his usual compliment of shots, Bowen's just happened to go in. Bowen's also avging about 9 ppg in the playoffs right now, Ginobili is avg. 20. That's a 10 pt swing either way you look at it.
2) Again, the fatigue factor. The Spurs will never use that as an excuse, but I'm not the Spurs. Proof Positive : Pop used ELEVEN different players in the first half alone. Usually the full complement of starters play (unless Ginobili starts on the bench) the full first quarter and part/most of the 2nd. Only ones that did that was Parker, Ginobili(who SHOULD have been on the bench most of the first half...) and Duncan. Typically, the Spurs will sub out Ginobili for Udoka, and Parker will play the 1st half, and Duncan will get a bit of rest while KT comes in. However, Fab (who did play very well) only played 12 minutes, KT played 5 min, and the Corpse that is Robert Horry played 5 minutes. Which leads to....
3) WHAT on everyone's green Earth was Pop smoking that allowed Finley to play 22 minutes of LACK-tion, and WHY did we have a JV sighting??? Can we get the +/- on these 2?? Honestly. I know for a fact that JV came in, LA went on a small run, almost tied it, and then he went out, and poof, 10-2 run. JV needs to be what we signed him for, a cheerleader. Worse comes to worse, put Bones in, let Manu run the point, and sub out Tony when Tim is still in, and vice versa. Tony and Tim are the keys to this series. Also, Finley jacked up 5 three's, none of course went in. Five. In 22 minutes of action. I would have rather seen Udoka, Bones, Manu, Bruce, TONY, whoever.... *Side note* No I will not redeem him with a FINDOOOOOGG or something later, he has stunk up the joint in every game but Game 1 of Pheonix, and Game 7 of NO. I think he might be like Horry, in just waiting for it to be dire enough to hit the shot. That's not what PtR's hearts need, tyvm. And he is a direct contribution to #5.
4) Anyone not having Bowen or Udoka on thier jersey guarding Kobe....Yes I will give the Lakers' fans that come in here tons of credit, Kobe was NOT looking for his shot the 1st half, and trying and trying to get teammates involved. However, that was a large part of what lead to the 20 pt. lead of SA in the first place. But when he did start looking for it, Bruce and/or Ime were all over him. He only started to really get hot after Bruce sat down, and Ime got hit with 2 quick fouls, and started playing off Kobe. As Bruce has shown, you can't play off Kobe. When Bruce got back, the momentum was fully on the Lakers' side, and it was too late. Pop sat him down way too long. Also missing was the constant D changes that we did to confound NO in Game 6 and Game 7 of the last series.
5) Last but not least..the Spurs actually started to look ....Un-Spur-Like in the 4th. Tentative, worried, almost.....NO'ish. The Lakers were in the penalty, the guards would drive the lane, and be RIGHT UNDER THE BASKET. At this point, the Lakers have to foul, and send Ginobili or Parker(who were spot on in FT's at least) to the line, stopping the game and such, or they will concede the free-bie layup. Yet, and Manu was the worst, they would kick it out WILDLY to some person that had NO chance of getting said ball, causing a turnover or some wild play that ended up with a Spur jacking up a shot as the shot clock expired. That is NOT what got you the 20 pt. lead Spurs, solid going into Duncan, solid driving AND FINISHING at the rim is what did it. They stopped, the Lakers didn't, and poof, we lost. Telling stat of why we lost the game right here...we avg like we did in the NO series (11/21, 15/30, etc.) we go home happy. Yet every time there seemed to be a layup for our guards, they'd kick it out for some 3 pointer that was just NOT falling tonight :
So , long story short, what adjustments need to be made? What do you think will happen in Game 2? Please be objective, regardless of allegience :) Also, what adjustments does Jackson make in Game 2 (from Laker fans obviously)? P.S. Sorry for the long post.