Game 21 @ Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers 106, Spurs 99
It wasn't Coach Wino's finest hour...
Well, that sucked. I guess Matthew and I had it coming for pumping the Spurs so much last night. Whenever you talk about a collection of mortals like they're gods, you just know the man upstairs is gonna lay the pimp hand down, just to keep you humble. You'd think I'd have picked up on this lesson by now. So, go ahead, blame this one on your PtR scribes. We deserve it.
That being said, we did have an awful lot of help. Where to begin?
Part One: The Unwelcome Return of Tinyball.
Do not open unless you want to be vacationing by late May
Small-ball is not even ironically condescending enough anymore to properly describe this garbage. I propose from now on we call it Tinyball in the hopes that the connotation of this particular strategy to micro-testes might discourage the coach from trying it again in the future.
I mean really, how many times are we going to have to go through this before Pop gets it through his acne-scarred head? Tinyball doesn't work against good teams. We CANNOT rebound with it. Duncan isn't Bill Russell. He can't grab EVERY rebound. All the other team has to do when we're small is attack the basket, draw Timmeh out to challenge the shot and have everyone else crash the rim, and they'll make like Cyndi Lauper with the offensive boards.
Good job if you got the "Time After Time" reference. I feel like I need to bring up music more since Matthew wrote a whole post about some obscure Tool lyric. By the way, I always thought it was like a total dick move from their lead singer to start a new band, call it A Perfect Circle and specifically recruit the best instrument player from other bands to play in it, like an all-star team. How did that make the rest of the people in Tool feel? I'm guessing shitty. I'm anticipating like a half dozen angry responses to this where people will tell me I've totally misinterpreted that situation and I'm a total idiot. Tool fans are notoriously defensive and snobby. I can't wait.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Tinyball. What really blows my mind is that it's not like the Lakers went small to force us to go small. Kwame played 30 minutes and Bynum played 17. They played with a center, folks. Just like the Mavs do. So how come we didn't? Oberto and Elson played a combined 20 minutes in the first half and we were winning. Horry played six minutes and he was a -8. Why change what was working? I will never understand this. Also, it seems to me that the spirit of tinyball is somewhat compromised when one of the smalls is an offensive liability from anywhere but the corner and another is just an offensive liability period. If we had four guys who could shoot and pass and dribble and create offense like the Suns, then maybe I could see it being an effective change-up here or there. Alas, we don't have that, and it's about time Pop accepted that reality...
Which brings me to
Part Two: I bet Michael Finley owns some really sharp suits, and I'd love to see some of them.
Tall Chinese guy optional.
Oofah, did Finley suck it up out there. Ten shots, at least nine of them more embarrassingly open than Britney Spears' legs, and eight were clanked. If there was ever a night for him to turn his thus far miserable season around tonight was it as the Lakers seemed to have no interest whatsoever in covering him. It would be unfair to pin the loss just on Findog's shooting, but how much more of this can we take? Unlike some other guys on the team who can contribute in other ways, Finley literally cannot do anything else but score. He doesn't pass, (1 assist in 22 minutes today Matthew) he has no handle, he can't guard anyone, and his rebounding isn't nearly adequate enough for him to be a dependable four when we go small. Pop has gone over and beyond the call of duty in his patience with Finley so far. I think the only option left is to outright deactivate him for a few games and hope that the message sinks in. It's not cruel or mean, it's business. And we don't need to play the violin for a guy who's making like 23 million this year. Hell, it might wake him up. Look how Brent responded to almost being traded. We gotta try something.
For fuck's sake at least tell me he's not going to start anymore.
But really, you can't find one guy on our team who you can point to and say "he played well today." Not one.
Fabcisco Elberto had 8 fouls in 28 minutes and just didn't factor enough into the game.
TWaRP (The Wee Rapping Frenchman) was bad from the line and didn't look for his teammates enough in the fourth.
Bones was awful defensively.
Ditto for Bowen, who had just two points in the last three quarters after starting the game white hot with 14 points in the first. Kobe had him for lunch on the other end.
The Bean Burrito couldn't hit the side of a barn and was on the floor most of the Lakers' huge 3rd quarter run.
The Hustlemaker had probably the worst six minute stretch I've seen him play in the 3rd quarter with four turnovers, and that ruined what was otherwise a very efficient scoring night for him. On a cheery note, he's shooting over 40% from three and 90% from the line for the season now. So much for the shooting slump. Good thing Pop brought him back in for the last four minutes of the game so that Tony could promptly ignore him until less than one minute remained. That was just lovely.
RoHo grabbed one whole rebound in 18 minutes and blew yet another lay-up/dunk off a perfect Manu set-up, at least a once a game occurrence this year.
And even Timmeh wasn't good enough, missing too many freebies and having a shitty defensive night.
Just a miserable performance all around, especially that nightmarish 3rd quarter, and now we get another game in the same venue tomorrow against what I'm guessing will be an angry Clippers team, eager to get revenge for Friday's drubbing and a hundred times tougher to beat at home.
Your 3 Stars (Such as they were)
3. Brent Barry - At least he shot a good percentage and didn't turn it over.
2. Bruce Bowen - Helped us start out well in the 1st, and I guess being burned by Kobe isn't something to be too ashamed about.
1. Tim Duncan - I bet he despises tinyball almost as much as I do. Does Pop like to piss him off on purpose, just to keep his motivation up for the next half dozen games?
Record: 15-6 Streak: L-1
Up Next: @ Los Angeles Clippers
Wonder how we'll react to our segababa where we lost on the front end. We could win close or we can get run out of the gym. I have no idea. I wouldn't touch this one with even Matthew's fake money.