Game Preview #76: San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers

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Perfect timing for an early afternoon game.

Winning feels good. Winning against top competition is even better. Watching Manu play again feels nice. Watching Manu lift his play to levels both previously known and unknown of closely resembles that of an out-of-body experience. At this rate, I'm gonna run out of sentences to say how much fun it is to see the team finally getting its act straight.

This is an incredibly early game, so not much too see but a bare-bones, rehashed preview --- after the jump. If a little trash talking will help pump you up, then go ahead and hit the comments section.

Heckuva early game on my side of the planet, but hell, I'll try my hardest to be at the game thread. For the time being, here's some random, off-topic entertainment.

Terry Crews is a funny guy.


This might be old, but hey, Pac-Man is old s-cool.


I don't know if the timezones are spot on, because the 2:30 pm game seriously messes up everything. Why, Stern, why?!

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San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers
Where: Staples Center - Los Angeles, CA
When: April 4, 2010; 2:30 PM Spurs time (Yes, it's THAT early)
Watch: ABC


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How They Stack Up
28-11 Home 33-5
18-18 Road 22-16
101.2
Offense 102.4
96.2 Defense 96.9
47.3 FG% 46.0
36.3
3-pt% 34.3
74.5
FT% 76.6
42.7
Rebounds 44.4
12.9
TOs 13.1
6-4 Last 10 7-3
Won 2
Streak Won 1
2nd, Southwest Position 1st, Pacific

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 4:30 PM
West Coast
12:30 PM
Philippines 3:30 AM
Central Europe 9:30 PM
Palestine/Egypt 10:30 PM
East Coast 3:30 PM
Snow Zone
1:30 PM
Perth, AUS 4:30 AM
Tokyo, JP 6:30 AM
Sydney, AUS 6:30 AM

Spurs
(46-29)
Matchups

Lakers
(55-21)

George Hill
Uphill

Point Guard

I know everyone knows this already, but G. Hill is for realz, people. I'm particularly pleased that he's finding other ways to contribute when his shot is not falling, and that's the true mark of an impact player in this league. Just ask Manu and Tim.

Also, Tony must dominate Fisher.

Advantage: Spurs


Derek Fisher
Downhill

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Manu Ginobili
Rebirth of The Sickness

Shooting Guard

I'm sure Kobe, ever the fierce competitor that he is, is relishing the thought of stopping a red-hot Manu Ginobili. But face it, Kobester. The best shooting guard in the Western conference the past month hasn't been you, contract extension and all.

Advantage: Tied


Kobe Bryant
$90-mil Manh

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Richard Jefferson
Lookin' Like $14 mil

Small Forward

Better late than never, is what I think the theme has been for the past few games. RJ has been a part of that resilience, and as long as he plays with his newfound aggression every game, I'm gonna be alright with that.

Advantage: Lakers


Ron Artest
Pillsbury Crazyboy

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Tim Duncan
Ibaka'd

Power Forward

After dropping 23 on the Magic in limited, foul-plagued minutes, maybe it's not too far-fetched to really think that Tim is just saving himself for the playoffs. Let's hope he won't labor again when matched up with the young-ish, very skilled Pau Gasol.

Repeating what I said during the last Lakers-Spurs preview: Lamar Odom is simply a match up nightmare for any team. Let's hope the inconsistent side of him shows up for this game.

Advantage: Tied


Lamar Odom
Lamar Kardashian

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Antonio McDyess
Dice

Center

Dice, like Timmeh, has sort of slowed down as the regular season nears its end. Still, you gotta give it to the old man for bravely banging inside and grabbing those precious rebounds. Despite Bynum's absence, the Lakers' length is still a problem so SAM's contributions on defense will be sorely needed.

Pau Gasol is good. Really good. Can Memphis give us his brother to even things out a little bit?

Advantage: Lakers


Pau Gasol
Mallows

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Matt Bonner
Master of the Shyhook

Bench & Role Players

Odom and Manu are the centerpieces of their respective teams' excellent bench play. Without them, their team's bench strength significantly dwindles. Still, I have faith that the Spurs bench, assuming that Mase's shot is back, Bonner will still shoot well, and Blair wants to make up for a subpar game against the Lakers last meeting, will prove to be the difference-maker.

Advantage: Spurs


Sasha Vujacic
Sashapova

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Gregg Popovich
Eject-O

Coach

I'm a little worried about this. Will Pop, aware of the reality that the Spurs can end up playing the Lakers in the first round, play possum and try to hide some things and just drop the game? On the other end, is there still anything to hide? As Phil Jackson said, these two teams have played each other a number of times the last decade and "know each other pretty well." Regardless, given both teams still lack key cogs in Parker and Bynum, the fans are expecting a playoff-type battle in this one.

Advantage: Tied


Phil Jackson
Hey, Re-Sign Me Too
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

In terms of needing the win, I think the Spurs should and will want it more.

Advantage: Spurs

Mojo

Hmm... is that the sound of the mojo trying to resurrect itself? Nah, I'm probably just hearing things.

Advantage: None

Winner:

I don't care if the Lakers have a sparkling home record, or that they just manhandled Utah. Spurs win.

Keys To The Game

  • Defensive Rebounding - Gasol and Odom are good at getting offensive boards, so we need to prevent the Lakers from getting second chances.
  • Make Those Threes - I doubt if the the Lakers will still be able to shoot as well as they did from three when the Spurs last played them. San Antonio, however, should start making those long shots (I'm looking at you, Matt and Mase) to ease the burden on our stars and open up the paint.
  • Bench Play - The book is sorta out on the Lakers bench - it's weak. The Spurs don't have the luxury of bringing Manu off the bench nowadays, but if the players-formerly-known-as-BAM can give the team a lift, we're golden.

Strength of Schedule

The hellacious schedule takes another soft turn when the team travels to Sactown to face the Kings. Can you say tarp game, part deux? After that, the Spurs head off to Phoenix on a SEGABABA to face old-time playoff rivals.

The Lakers get three days off after this one, and then fly to the Mile-High City to square off against the Nuggets.

Last Time They Met

The Spurs lost this one at home, 83-92 last March 24 with only Manu and George carrying the load. That really won't cut it when you play the Lakers.

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 A-B-C. 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 poundingtherockmail@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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