Game #63 Preview: Lakers @ Spurs

The Manu is strong with this one.

Well, here we are. More than three-quarters of the way through the season, and the Spurs are still running away with the league's best record. If anyone tells you that they foresaw this happening, do the rest of us a favor. Kindly punch them in the face and call them a liar.

It's amazing, right? Even better is the way they've won "big" games, especially the utter annihilation of the Heat on Friday night. But, if you're still drunk and celebrating basking in the glow of said victory, now would be a good time to sober up. Today, our boys in silver and black face them. The evil empire. The team that can rightfully be called the Spurs' nemesis. Oh, and they've also won the West 3 straight years, and have been playing some very good ball since the all-star break. This afternoon would be a very good time for the Spurs to make another big statement, though the national media would probably still ignore it.

Spurs Magic Number Update

Overall HCA - 17

Western Conference HCA - 16

Tunes

Let's do this.

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San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Lakers
Where: GAME VENUE

When: 03/06/2011, 2:30PM Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
Watch: ABC


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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 109.2
(2nd)
101
(7th)
Rebound %
25.2
(20th)
74.6
(11th)
Field Goal % 47.4
(5th)
44.9
(9th)
3-Point % 40.3
(1st)
37
(24th)
Free Throw %
77
(12th)
75.6
(10th)
Turnover %
13
(8th)
12.7
(24th)
Assist %
60.3
(7th)
53.6
(3rd)
Category Offense
(rank)
Defense
(rank)
Efficiency Rating 108.5
(3rd)
101.6
(8th)
Rebound %
29.6
(3rd)
72.7
(20th)
Field Goal % 46.7
(7th)
43.9
(5th)
3-Point % 35.7
(15th)
33.7
(5th)
Free Throw %
78.5
(6th)
77.1
(20th)
Turnover %
12.7
(4th)
12.9
(19th)
Assist %
57.7
(16th)
61.4
(28th)
Record Wins Losses
Overall 51 11
Conference 31 6
Division 8 4
Home 29 2
Away 22 9
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
Antonio McDyess
Gary Neal
Matt Bonner
Tiago Splitter

Record Wins Losses
Overall 44 19
Conference 25 11
Division 9 3
Home 22 8
Away 22 11
Position Conference Division
Record 3rd 1st
Lineups

Starters
PG: Derek Fisher
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Ron Artest
PF: Pau Gasol
C: Andrew Bynum

Key Bench Players
Lamar Odom
Matt Barnes(?)
Steve Blake
Shannon Brown

Matchup Analysis

Point Guard
Shooting Guard
Small Forward

Power Forward
Center
Bench
Coach
Intangibles
Mojo
Winner

Starters

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

SG: This is basically the only matchup where Manu doesn't get a Spur all year long.

SF: I would never have given Artest the spur in our previous two contests with the Lakers, but he's playing much better since the all-star break, and actually looks like an NBA starter. RJ, meanwhile, is not as involved in the offense as he was earlier in the season. He hasn't been shooting as well, but I think he needs more quality touches to get himself into a rhythm. Here's to hoping that happens today.

PF: While I wouldn't put it past DeJuan to come up with another big game here, this looks like the biggest mismatch in LA's favor today. Pau is the best PF outside of Texas these days, and Blair just needs to play smart on D by not reaching in and sending him to the line.

C: The old man's still got it. Yes, I realize Bynum is physically monstrous, but Timmeh still has enough tricks up his sleeve to win this one.

Bench

If not for playing on the same team as Cubits, the Nailgun might be a 6th man of the year candidate. Meanwhile, Matty and Tiago looked good against Miami, so let's hope that carries over to today's matinée performance.

Coaching

Now that Jerry Sloan is retired, Phil is the only coach other than Pop that will ever get a spur here. Maybe Thibodeau, if his success continues for another few years.

Intangibles

The insane record, the 2-0 record so far against the Lakers, the incredible home winning streak. But I guarantee you the Lakers remember Dice's tip-in, and will be out for a bit of revenge.

Mojo

After Friday night's demolition of Miami, the mojo is definitely with us.

Prediction

Spurs clinch the regular season series with a win.

Keys to the Game

Defensive rebounding - One of the strengths of this Lakers team is their ability to get second-chance points, as was proven quite famously in game 7 of last year's Finals. It's easier to be successful when you get more opportunities than your opponent.

Ball movement - Friday night, the Spurs ball movement was so crisp, they literally caught the Heat players flat-footed, not knowing where to react or rotate to next. The Lakers' offense is not as one-dimensional or easy to stop as Miami's, so we'll need to burn their 'D' the way we did to Miami's if we want to win.

Other Reading

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell - Always a good read. Highly recommended.

Spurs Planet - Our old friend Wayne Vore is back.

Project Spurs - The original Spurs podcast can be found here, as well as some other good features.

Spurs Nation - The Express-News' Spurs blog, where usually the most inside info can be found.

OPPONENT

Silver Screen and Roll(SB Nation) - Yes, that's right, there are actually intelligent, respectful Lakers fans.

Following Along

TV

This game will be airing nationwide in the US on ABC. The rest of you, check your local listings or see below.

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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