The Spurs finished up their six day trip to the west coast with a quick pit stop in the Staples Center to take on Lonzo Ball and the rebuilding Lakers. Unfortunately for those in attendance for the ‘Lake Show’, the Silver and Black took the floor with a third of their roster on the bench in blazers instead of jerseys. Don’t feel too sorry for the Laker faithful though, as they were treated a rare blowout win over a playoff team.
To put it bluntly, San Antonio looked disinterested at times. The second Luke Walton’s team upped their intensity on defense, the Spurs shut down offensively. That sparked a 17-0 run in the first half and a 12-0 run late in the second. Suddenly a team who made it to the Western Conference Finals last season was getting outplayed and flat out abused by an opponent who will likely be heading to the lottery for the fifth straight season.
There is not another team that better embodies the Spurs’ next man up philosophy when they are hit by the injury bug — which is why it was so upsetting to see them lay an egg against a lackluster opponent.
Here are a few takeaways from a disappointing night of basketball.
- Per usual, the opposition had no answer for LaMarcus Aldridge. He has improved drastically in many areas this season, but one part of his game that has really stood out to me is his ability to convert close to the rim after being set up by a teammate. I may be exaggerating a bit, but it felt like he continuously bricked away opportunities from point blank range last year. A lot of that can be attributed to his confidence, but there’s no question that he has upped his game when the team’s needed it most this season.
- Bryn Forbes came out of the gates firing. One thing (besides his aggressiveness) that has helped him this year is his ability to put the ball on the deck and drive past closing out defenders. When he is hitting that 17 footer or getting to the rim off of those up-fakes, he presents a potent weapon for Gregg Popovich’s offense.
- Patty Mills was atrocious with the ball in the first half. With so many playmakers rehabbing and receiving the night off, it looked like #8 pressed a bit too much. The more the Lakers hedged in their pick and roll coverage, the more he coughed the ball up. The Lakers length and athleticism in the back court caused him fits all game long. In what was one of his worst performances in recent memory, he had 0 pts, 5 ast, 3 reb, and 3 turnovers.
- Pau Gasol had a disappointing night against his former team. Playing without 4 key cogs in the Spurs offense, it would’ve been great for Gasol to shoulder some of the load to keep the team’s head above water. He got a little bit better in the second half, but against an inferior opponent and a front court that hasn’t played defense since Shaquille O’Neal, I expected the veteran Spaniard to dominate this match up.
- Despite a few rocky stretches, I thought Dejounte Murray played well overall. His ability to convert near the rim isn’t where it needs to be, but his perseverance was impressive. The rough start did not slow the 21 year old phenom down as he led a furious second half charge that helped the Spurs climb back into the game.
- Kyle Anderson had some decent stretches on the night, but committed a couple of careless turnovers. Much like the case with Gasol, I expect more of SLOWMO offensively when the Spurs are lacking their normal perimeter firepower. He has proven he can create with the ball in his hands, and I want to see that more regularly.
- Davis Bertans had more turnovers than shot attempts. Nuff said.
The Spurs will look to bounce back Saturday night against the Nuggets, and I can all but assure you they will hit the ground running when they make their way back home. If you are interested in attending the game be sure to check out our special offer for Pounding the Rock readers.