San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles LakersStaples Center
11/13/12, 9:30pm Spurs Time
TV: NBA TV, FSSW,TWC - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI, KSPN
San Antonio's journey through the Pacific Coast has led to a 2-1 record so far. A shellacking against the Clippers in the first game of the stretch seemed to have woken up the Spurs to a bit of defensive reality. Coach Pop had the following to say regarding the defense in that game, "We sucked on defense. They were aggressive. They got to the hole, they beat us in the break. Every aspect of our defense was poor."
The Spurs licked their wounds and moved on to Sacramento to take on the Kings. Somehow a number of the Spurs stars, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Steven Jackson all came down with an illness. Tony had to sit this game, allowing Patrick "Patty" Mills to help lead the Spurs to a victory over the young and immature Kings.
Enter Portland. The Spurs hadn't won here in 7 games. They were without Tony Parker and DeJuan Blair. Luckily Gary "MFing" Neal stepped up and set the world on fire in the 4th quarter. Spurs win.
Now we move forward to taking on the Los Angeles Lakers. Game time is 9:30pm Central Time at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Spurs are bringing their overall 6-1 record to LA to take on the Lakeshow, and what a show it has been. First, the Lakers go out and pick up Steve Nash in a Benedict Arnold-like move. Many Suns fans were left shocked and disappointed that their beloved leader of the past 10+ years left to join a division rival. Then the Lakers grabbed headlines again by picking up newly crowned drama queen Dwight Howard. Few question the Princeton offense scheme except for some deep thinkers around here. Coach Brown says 'bye-bye' after 5 games (he was fired). So who's governing this ship of
fools future Hall of Famers? Phil Jackson? No. Why none other than Spurs old friend Mike D'Antoni. What did Phil Jackson have to say about this? Here.
I would like to provide you with some awesome facts, figures and stats on this game but I am not sure they would applicable to such a chaotic vortex of drama as the Lakers have created so far this season. Doesn't mean I won't try though. Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding. I keep bringing up the fact that this Spurs team has an issue with it. Lucky for me PTR's own J. Gomez, who is also a clear favorite in the MVW so far this season, has written up an article on just that. Edg5 points out that this may not be a long term issue and although he has great points, I am not yet convinced. When you match up with the Lakers, who now feature Dwight Howard, and you can't grab rebounds, you will be in for a very long night. That is unless you can get Patty Mills or Gary "MFing" Neal to get hot. So, we can expect the Lakers to get a whole bunch of boards against an ailing and weak rebounding Spurs team.
Both teams are in the bottom of the league so far in turnovers. After the sickening 21 turnovers the Spurs had against the Blazers, one could rationalize a down turn from such dizzying heights. Differential between turning the ball over and getting your opponents to do the same tells a slightly different story between the two teams. The Spurs, though horrible at turning the ball over right now, are also forcing their opponents to do the same. Differential between Spurs turnovers and opponents is +.87. The Lakers (who have their own turnover issues) have a differential of +4.28. This puts the Lakers in a clear 2nd place only behind the Pacers in giving the ball to their opponents and not getting any quid pro quo.
Additional stats: Lakers are getting fouled 5 more times than their opponents, while the Spurs are at only 1.7. The Spurs are the best passing club in the league so far, while the Lakers are some where in the middle with Steve Blake leading them. Who needs to pass the ball when you have such huge
egos super stars on your team? Both teams are neck and neck at points per game with 98.5 and leading their opponents by an average of 4 points. What do I see shaking out from all of this? Howard getting to the line. Leonard getting some steals. Tim having a good game and Pau Gasol having a great game (if the other Lakers let him). D'Antoni* will get outcoached by Pop and Tony or Manu will be fouled with the last possession and shoot free throws. Or maybe Neal will do something crazy. Spurs win.
Los Angeles Lakers perspective can be found here: Silver Screen and Roll
Game Prediction: 3-1 in the West Coast swing. Pride says Spurs by 2, Vegas says Lakers by 1.
*D'Antoni won't be officially coaching at the game, word is he might take over for Friday's game against the Suns.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and 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.