In predictable fashion, the Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on the second night of a back to back after losing to the Clippers the night before. It wasn't surprising that they appeared tired and outmatched against a superior team, but at this point every loss hurts.
DeMar DeRozan lead the Spurs with 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, while LeBron James had 36 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists, including a fourth quarter outburst to put the game away.
- Stan Van Gundy is at least “listen-to-able” as a color commentator, which is more than can be said for a lot of former coaches, including the duo of his brother Mike and Mark Jackson.
- The Spurs started the game looking like they were on a SEGABABA. They were a step slow on offense, lethargic on defense, and generally uninterested in chasing down rebounds. The only thing that kept them in it early was three-point shooting, hitting 3 of their first 6 threes before hitting any twos.
- Because of the slow start, Gregg Popovich was quick to turn to his bench, and although they continued the Spurs’ shooting struggles, they at least picked up the energy, defended well, and somewhat surprisingly only entered the second quarter down 19-21.
- Overall the Spurs shot 36.2% in the first half, including a triple goose egg from LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills, who combined to shoot 0-15. Again, it felt somewhat surprising they were only down 51-41 as it felt like they were dominated a lot more, and a lot of that was thanks to DeRozan and his 12 points. Remember how he used to always feel like a Spurs killer? Maybe that’s because he’s Danny Green‘s kryptonite.
- It was hard to tell if the Lakers were cherry picking a lot on defense (marginally understandable due to the Spurs poor shooting), if the Spurs were having trouble getting back in transition, or a little bit of both in this game. I’m going with that third option. The Spurs also had a lot of trouble preventing lobs, so those two items contributed to a field day in the paint for the Lakers, where they won the battle a combined 76-56 (fast break + points in the paint).
- It looked like the Lakers were going to put the game away for good in the third quarter as they pushed the lead out to 19, but to their credit the Spurs didn’t give up. They got back within nine late in the quarter (albeit mostly with James on the bench) thanks to another 14 points from DeRozan in the quarter.
- The beginning of the fourth quarter featured a three-point shootout between James in the Spurs. They briefly kept up with a three from Mills and two from Lonnie Walker IV, but LeBron caught fire, hitting five straight with a Kyle Kuzma one sandwiched in between, and that was that as the Lakers built their largest lead of the night at 108-87 with 8 min left. It didn’t help that Pop had trotted out a lineup that was built to score points but not defend one of the greatest players to walk the planet.
- I am not mad about this loss. The Spurs were understandably tired, and it has been a penciled-in loss since the schedule was released. What makes it problematic is their inability to win the games they should, which continues to make losses like the last two nights’ sting more than they should. They don’t have the cushion in the standings they did to absorb anything like last season’s 1-7 performance, so with what should be the two hardest games of the Rodeo Road Trip out of the way (not that it gets any easier), they’ll need to get things back together fast, Starting with the next game, which is against a team they are in direct competition with for a playoff spot in the only one against a team that is currently not in the playoff standings.-
For the Lakers fans perspective, visit Silver Screen and Roll.
The Spurs are now headed to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers in game three of the Rodeo Road Trip on Thursday, which just so happens to also be the NBA trade deadline. Will they be the same team then? Tune in at 9:00 PM CT to find out. (Or just keep hanging out here at Pouning the Rock!)