Game #31 Preview - Lakers @ Spurs

The day has finally arrived. The day when the new-look bizarro Spurs play the two-time defending champs. Even though the champs are reeling, they will not go down without a fight. Attaining the league's best record so far means that the guys wearing silver and black have a giant metaphorical bullseye painted on their backs, and everyone is gunning for them, including the visiting team tonight.

As you may know already, I live in hostile territory for Spurs fans. What you may not know is that among the people I deal with most often here in Phoenix - my co-workers - Lakers fans outnumber Suns fans by about 4 to 1. In other words, the two wins against the Suns earlier this year were nice, but I freaking NEED a Spurs win tonight, or I've got to buy a lot of people Chipotle for lunch tomorrow. Maybe not the smartest bet, now that I've seen the team stats, but whatever.

Get your preview after the jump, or head over to Silver Screen and Roll for the opposing viewpoint.

The Spurs haven't looked very fired up since the last time I posted an industrial song in the preview, so today they get a heavy dose of, well, HEAVY music. Also, these songs have an obvious theme due to our opponent tonight.

Yes, that's a female death metal singer

And for those of you who aren't into that kind of thing, I didn't forget y'all either.

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San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Lakers
Where: AT&T Center

When: 12/28/2010, 7:30PM Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
Watch: FSSW, KCAL


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By the Numbers

Data sources:
hoopdata.com | basketball-reference.com | John Hollinger's team stats

Category Offense
(rank)
Defense
(rank)
Efficiency Rating 110.7
(1st)
101.4
(9th)
Rebound %
25.9
(15th)
74.7
(15th)
Field Goal % 47.3
(4th)
46.1
(17th)
3-Point % 40.8
(1st)
40.4
(29th)
Free Throw %
77.7
(11th)
73.4
(3rd)
Turnover %
12.7
(5th)
14.2
(9th)
Assist %
62.0
(6th)
54.1
(3rd)
Category Offense
(rank)
Defense
(rank)
Efficiency Rating 108.6
(3rd)
102.2
(11th)
Rebound %
29.9
(4th)
71.1
(25th)
Field Goal % 46.1
(13th)
43.6
(6th)
3-Point % 37.5
(8th)
33.8
(5th)
Free Throw %
79.6
(3rd)
77.9
(25th)
Turnover %
12.7
(3rd)
13.1
(23rd)
Assist %
58.9
(12th)
59.6
(24th)
Record Wins Losses
Overall 26 4
Conference 17 3
Division 4 2
Home 17 2
Away 9 2
Position Conference Division
Record 1st 1st
Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Manu Ginobili
SF: Richard Jefferson
PF: DeJuan Blair
C: Tim Duncan

Key Bench Players
George Hill
Matt Bonner
Antonio McDyess
Gary Neal
Tiago Splitter

Record Wins Losses
Overall 21 9
Conference 11 5
Division 6 1
Home 10 4
Away 11 5
Position Conference Division
Record 3rd 1st
Lineups

Starters
PG: Derek Fisher
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Ron Artest
PF: Lamar Odom
C: Pau Gasol

Key Bench Players
Shannon Brown
Steve Blake
Andrew Bynum
Matt Barnes
Luke Walton

Matchup Analysis

Point Guard
Shooting Guard
Small Forward

Power Forward
Center
Bench
Coach

Intangibles
Mojo
Winner

Starters

PG: Tony needs to dominate Fisher. That is all.

SG: This is pretty well the only time all year when Manu won't get the Spur. Although, if he has a good night, he can basically cancel out Kobe. If he has a great night, well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Kobe has re-established himself this year, though he has been a bit off lately. Then again we could say the exact same thing about Manu.

SF: Last year, Artest would have easily had the edge in this matchup. However, RJ 2.0 now understands the Spurs' system, while Artest has admitted that he still doesn't understand the triangle (which really shouldn't be that hard to figure out, but it's RonRon).

PF: I don't even want to think about Blair trying to guard Odom. Hopefully RJ guards him, and DeJuan can guard the corpse of Ron Artest.

C: Pau has been as dominant as ever this year, so much so that I almost didn't give Timmy the star. However, I'm feeling a good game from the Fundamental tonight.

Bench

The Lakers upgraded their bench during the offseason, and on paper, it's one of the best benched in the league. If James Anderson were back and in game shape, I'd probably give the Spurs the edge here. But, such is life. At least George is back, so we have our 6th man. Avoiding long minutes for Ime Udoka will be imperative, unless it's a pleasant blowout.

Coaching

I still despise Phil for the "asterisk" comment made over a decade ago, but you can't help but respect the man's accomplishments. These are the two masters of the game, going head-to-head for the umpteenth time.

Intangibles

Length and height cant be taught. Also, the two-time defending champs will always get the nod here.

Mojo

The Spurs are off to their best start in franchise history. The Lakers are coming off of back-to-back debacles on their home court, which is sure to affect their demeanor on-court tonight. The Spurs better be ready.

Prediction

I like our chances, but it's far from an easy matchup for us.

Key(s) to the Game

Defensive Rebounding - The Lakers practically live on the offensive glass, and let me just say that filling out the stat sheet today was depressing. Don't let the Lakers' lackluster(by their our new standards) record fool you - they are very good fundamentally on both ends of the court. If we can't limit their shot opportunities to, say, less than the number that we get, we're toast.

Offensive Agressiveness - According to hoopdata, the most vulnerable zone in the Lakers' defense is the area within 10 feet of the rim. This means that our guys need to drive the ball inside aggressively(I'm looking at you, Frenchie), and make some easy chip shots when they have 'em. If we can expose them in that area, they might start collapsing to the middle, which should open up our shooters.

Other Reading

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell

OPPONENT

Silver Screen and Roll(SB Nation)

Following Along

TV

Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio), KCAL (SoCal)

Radio

WOAI 1200AM; Audio League Pass[streaming]

Online

As always, NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. You can also shoot an email to poundingtherockmail@yahoo.com(IMPORTANT: Please include your PtR username in the email for reference) for further assistance.

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