Game #50: San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers

Can we get a repeat of this moment? The last meeting with the Lakers was one of the best games of the season for our Spurs. Unfortunately, tonight we have to go into the Staples Center, where the Lakers are 24-4 this year. And we haven't exactly been lights out on the road this season. Let's hope that the Spurs end their stay in the Land of the Fruits and Nuts with a 2-0 record.

This is make or break time for the Rodeo Road Trip and for the season as a whole. So far, we are 2-1 on the RRT, but I think most PtRers would agree that we let one slip away from us in Portland. This probably is an oversimplification on my part, but the next two games against the Lakers and the Nuggets (the top 2 teams in the West) will provide us with the answer to that all-consuming question:

Are the Spurs actual championship contenders this year, or not?

Not that any of you crazy people need anything to get psyched for this game, but for those that need a little something extra, here are tonight's musical selections:


I expect to see EVERYONE in the game thread!

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San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers
Where: Staples Center - Los Angeles, CA
When: February 8, 2010; 9:30 PM Spurs time
Watch: TNT


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How They Stack Up
19-10 Home 24-4
10-10 Road 15-9
100.9
Offense 103.4
96.2 Defense 96.9
47.4 FG% 46.0
36.9
3-pt% 34.7
73.8
FT% 77.4
42.2
Rebounds 44.7
13.1
TOs 12.7
5-5 Last 10 7-3
Won 1
Streak Won 1
2nd, Southwest Position 1st, Pacific

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 12:30 AM
West Coast
7:30 PM
Philippines 11:30 PM
Central Europe 4:30 AM
Palestine/Egypt 5:30 AM
East Coast 10:30 PM
Snow Zone
8:30 PM
Perth, AUS 11:30 AM
Tokyo, JP 1:30 PM
Sydney, AUS 1:30 PM

Spurs
(29-20)
Matchups

Lakers
(39-13)

Tony Parker
Tony

Point Guard

Tony got a double-double against the Clips and seems to shooting better. Fisher is still old. However, he can still distribute the ball and hit the open shots. Tony needs to use his speed to fly by Fisher.

Also, Tony needs to dominate Fisher.

Advantage: Spurs


Derek Fisher
Still 0.4

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George Hill
Georgie

Shooting Guard

I love how Cubits has been playing lately. He's upped his game since his insertion into the starting lineup. The Parker/Hill backcourt seems to be working. However, this is Kobe we're talking about. No matter how much George has improved, he's not going to totally contain Bryant. IUPUI just needs to play as well as he can.

NOTE: Kobe is listed as "questionable" with his ankle until the All-Star break. I expect him to play, since Bryant is actually a cyborg, but the Lakers still have enough talent if he doesn't.

Advantage: Lakers


Kobe Bryant
Still a Terminator

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Richard Jefferson
RJ

Small Forward

Artest stepped up his offense against the Blazers to make up for Kobe's absence. Artest is bringing his usual stellar defense this season and has fit in well with the Lakers - bad news for the rest of the West. If Kobe doesn't play, the Spurs need to force Ron-Ron into bad shots. I have no ideas about Jefferson.

Advantage: Lakers


Ron Artest
Still Crazy

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Tim Duncan
Timmeh

Power Forward

Gasol is a solid player, but his numbers are down this year. He's not the clear No. 2 option that he has been in years past. Against most teams, Pau would get the white box, but tonight he is facing a future HOFer. Duncan is having the better season. Tim has been a rock for the Spurs this year, brining consistency night-in and night-out. As always, it should be a good matchup.

Advantage: Spurs


Pau Gasol
Still Big Brother

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Antonio McDyess
Dice

Center

Bynum is really an enigma, with no consistency in his 5th season. He left the Portland game early with a hip injury and didn't return. McDyess has played much better since his re-insertion into the starting 5. He has grabbed 10 boards in the last two games, plus his sweet jumper has returned. Maybe there is truth to the general consensus that SAM gets better as the season goes along.

Advantage: Tied


Andrew Bynum
Still Mentally Soft

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Manu Ginobili
Mano

Bench & Role Players

The Lakers' bench usually has one major advantage: Odom. His versatility is unmatched. If Kobe can't play tonight, Lamar will probably start, weakening the Lakers' less-than-stellar bench. Manu is better than Brown and Farmar combined, and DeJuan should destroy their pine-riding posts.

Advantage: Spurs


Lamar Odom
Still Married

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Gregg Popovich
Pop

Coach

Much like Kobe, I dislike PJax, but he's a hell of a coach. Jackson has had his own share of injuries and a new piece to integrate, and so far, has done a better job.

Advantage: Lakers


Phil Jackson
Still a Jacka**
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

The Lakers are at home. And at this point in the season, they are better than the Spurs. This might change if Bryant can't play.

Advantage: Lakers

Mojo

I will be watching the game - BAD! I will also be breaking in a new Spurs T-shirt - this might be bad or good.

Advantage: Lakers

Winner:

I hate to say this, but the Lakers should win. Please prove me wrong.

Keys To The Game

  • Interior Defense - Limiting the the effectiveness of the Lakers' frontcourt is the key to beating them. They thrive off of second chance opportunities, so the Spurs would be wise to actually box out in this game.
  • Entire Game Effort - The Spurs have been plagued by RQCs and end of quarter brain farts this entire season. The Lakers always play hard and won't roll over. We need to get out to a fast start and maintain a high effort (especially on defense) throughout the game.

Strength of Schedule

Both teams have had a day of rest and will have at least one day off before their next tilt. Both teams are coming off wins, after disappointing losses. The Lakers head to Utah on Wednesday, while the Spurs are in Denver on Thursday.

Last Time They Met

The last game between these two teams resulted in a 105-85 win for the Spurs on January 12th. Our euphoria on PtR soared to new heights. Tony and Timmeh dominated, which needs to happen again if we want to win again.

Some Other Reading

Lakers

Silver Screen and Roll - The SBNation blog for the Lakers. Good writing, with major participation.
Forum Blue and Gold - The best Lakers blog on the web, period.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is now even better. A must read.
Project Spurs: Check out their regular podcasts. I think they love Manu as much as we do, if that's possible.

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired nationwide in the US on TNT. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games 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. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to poundingtherock@yahoo.com for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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