Lakers vs Spurs: A Game in the Iron Maiden


Yes, it was torturous. But, that isn't what I had in mind. A game of such distinct halves couldn't be better exemplified than a pair of songs from Iron Maiden.

In the first half, the Spurs were warriors. They fought. They scrapped. They clawed.

In the second half, the Spurs were cowards. They panicked. They took forced shots. They played scared.

The Trooper

In the first half, the team played with that perfect mix of ultra-high energy and composure. And it was led by one man.

George Hill. He was marvelous. He scored on an array of shots. He was making plays all over the court. He was aggressive attacking the Lakers in the paint and in transition. He dominated Derek Fisher.

In addition, Manu was draining 3's. Between Manu and George, they scored 32 of the Spurs 48 points and were 5 of 7 from deep. If it hadn't been for Matt Bonner losing his shot -- 1 for 6 on 3 pointers -- the Spurs would have had much larger than a 7 point lead.

Bonner, Mason, and Bogans combined to shoot 1 for 9 from 3-point land in the first half. The team got up 17 3-pointers in the half and only made 6. To put it frankly, the team was taking the first semi-good look it could get from deep. That attitude planted the seeds of collapse for the second half.

Run To The Hills

Run for your lives.

In the second half, the Lakers turned their game up another level. Especially on defense. The Spurs response was to panic. Instead of moving the ball more. They moved it less. Instead of leaning on their teammates. They went one on one. The Spurs took more forced, contested, and rushed shots then I have seen in any game this year.

The semi-open looks from the first half were now rushed almost contested looks. Instead of moving the ball, the Spurs rushed shots. Everybody was guilty. Manu. Matt. Roger. McDyess. Blair. I can mentally see all of them rushing shots. Tim and George did too. But they deserve their own bits.

Tim got owned last night on our offensive end. The first time I have ever seen it. Ever. Pau Gasol shut Tim down one-on-one and in embarrassing fashion. I can't say any more. I'm just shocked. I'm not shocked that Tim would go 2-11 from the floor. I'm shocked because with the shots he was taking, he'd go 2-11 every game.

George. George disappeared in the second half. I think it is the next step in his growth. He has to find a way to continue to produce offensively when teams give him some real attention. I can't be down on him for the second half, though I'm sure he's down on himself, because it is new territory for him. You just don't carry teams offensively for 48 minutes in a playoff intensity game without a lot of learning.

Summary

We saw a lot of good last night. The team, even without Tony, can play some really nice basketball at a really high level. We saw that when Tony gets back, we will have a third perimeter player capable of attacking the basket and causing problems. We showed that we can rebound with the Lakers.

We saw a lot of bad too. We saw that we still have a long way to go to knock the Lakers off their perch. We saw you can't win when you shoot 37% from the field. We saw that we need to continue to trust in each other and play as a team when the intensity picks up. We saw that Tim won't be able to carry us in a series against the Lakers.

Last night, I was very down. Trust me. This morning, though, I feel much better about the game. Bynum and Parker being out really skews things for both teams as they each represent where each team has the biggest mismatch. I don't know how to consider them, so I'm ignoring them. We shot terrible from 3-point land. We were 8-27. An abysmal 29.6%. Some of that is because of the Lakers defense. They were exceptional last night. But, not all of it. We missed quite a few good open looks. On the other end, the Lakers were 10-20. 50%. The Lakers are a terrible 3-point shooting team and if they are hitting that many 3's at that high of a rate, then you are going to have a really hard time beating them.

Your 3 stars:

3 -- Nobody: I don't think we had anybody else really step their game up last night. Hence, the ugly loss.

2 -- Manu Ginobili: Manu was again outstanding. I do think he forced some shots, but he definitely competed.

1 -- George Hill: George logged a team-high 42 minutes. He carried the offense in the first half. He played really tenacious defense. He dominated Derek Fisher.

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