San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles LakersStaples Center, Los Angeles, CA
March 19, 2014, 9:35 PM Spurs Time
TV: ESPN - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
The Spurs travel to Los Angeles tonight to take on the free-falling Lakers for the second time in six days. The two teams met in San Antonio on Friday and the Spurs took the Lakers to the woodshed, winning by 34 points, which is the most lopsided win in the history of the series between the two teams. The Spurs locked down the Lakers offense in that game, holding the usually decent Lakers offense to 34.1 percent shooting from the field and just 4-of-21 from behind the arc. Pau Gasol was the only Laker to have any real success in the game, recording a double-double in 26 minutes.
GIF Breakdown: Spurs vs. Lakers
The Spurs beat down the Lakers on Friday night, and every Spur in uniform scored and tallied an assist in a game that lasted about 36 minutes longer that it needed to. Let's have a quick look at some of the plays that stood out.
For the Spurs it was a chance to rest the starters and rely on the bench. All 13 players scored for San Antonio with Danny Green leading the way with 15 points. The bench scored 76 of San Antonio's 119 points in the game with five of those bench players scoring in double-figures. The Spurs also owned the glass, outrebounding Los Angeles 64-37, including an 18-8 edge on the offensive glass.
The Lakers have not played since that loss, but the Spurs victory over Utah on Sunday means the Lakers won't enter the game with the worst record in the Western Conference, even with a 22-44 record. The Lakers are 2-4 this month with wins over Portland and OKC, so Los Angeles has proven to be a team capable of surprising Western Conference powers of late. OKC avenged its loss to the Lakers in the same week it took the loss on the road, but it is still something that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is probably using to make sure his team doesn't overlook a squad it just beat by 34 points.
The motivation for the Spurs should be simple. San Antonio wants home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and the March schedule is allowing the Spurs to keep a bit of cushion between it and the Thunder. All year long the narrative has been about how San Antonio would matchup with the top teams in the league, but there has been no questioning the Spurs success against teams it should beat. The schedule over the last few weeks, and the next week or so, has been littered with teams the Spurs are supposed to beat and San Antonio has done its job in that regard.
The Spurs are on a 10-game winning-streak and reached the 50-win plateau again this season. There are kids about to get their driver's license that have yet to see the Spurs not reach 50 wins or make the playoffs, a feat that will likely go unnoticed by the national media but one that speaks volumes to the consistency of this team in the Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich era. That era has been forged on consistency and showing up motivated on the road to face a team you just waxed is one of the reasons the Spurs have had so much regular season success over the last two decades.
The Lakers are without Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, so the goal should be ping pong balls for the once powerful franchise. Gasol remains one of the better big men in the league, but he has very little help around him. A franchise that has always been filled with stars is now counting on the likes of Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and Jordan Farmar on a nightly basis. Young missed the last meeting between the two teams, but reports are that he should return for tonight's game against San Antonio.
Los Angeles is a horrendous defensive team that doesn't rebound the ball very well, but it is still a squad capable of putting up over 100 points if shots fall early. San Antonio did a great job of getting the Lakers out of rhythm early in the last matchup and most do so again to coast to a victory.
Matchup to watch: Outside of Gasol in the post the Lakers' offense is reliant on knocking down three-point shots to stay in games against better teams. The Spurs guarded the three-point line with ease in the matchup a few days ago and will need to do so again to remove any hope from a Lakers team that is as ready for the season to end as their fan-base is.
Key Bench Players
The Lakers perspective can be found here: Silver Screen and Roll
Game Prediction: Spurs by 20
Line in Vegas: Spurs by 13
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.
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