“Escape From New York” was a very good movie. In the movie, New York City had been converted into a maximum security prison. The president’s plane is shot down over the city. The movie never explains why the president was flying over a maximum security prison. Snake Plissken (played by Kurt Russell) is sent in to rescue the president from the Duke of New York (played by Isaac Hayes). So, yeah, kind of a documentary. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend you do so.
The success of that movie led to a sequel, again featuring Snake Plissken, called “Escape From L.A.”. The movie was not nearly as good as the original, as is true with most sequels.
All of this is a long lead-in to saying that the Spurs, like Snake Plissken, also escaped from Los Angeles. Raise your hand if you thought the Spurs would escape with wins over both L.A. teams. Me neither. Prior to Thursday’s game against the Lakers, I asked to put off an early morning phone call on Friday because I expected to be recovering from the Lakers’ shellacking of the Spurs. Yes, I used the word “shellacking”. I slept just fine after the Spurs were the shellackers and not the shellackees. (Spell-check fought me on those.)
But I don’t need to write about what happened in the win over the Lakers, as my fellow PTR writers have already done a good job with that. Instead, I want to talk about being forced to watch the game with the Lakers announcers instead of Bill Land and Sean Elliot. (As a reminder, I live in L.A. — I have not yet escaped with Snake Plissken.) When the local L.A. teams are playing, NBA League Pass does not allow me to watch the Spurs feed. Which means I miss out on the Coyote, Bill’s “a Poeltl Jam!!” when Jakob Poeltl dunks or “Good on ya Patty!!” when Patty Mills drills yet another three. (Side note: Going into the Laker game, Patty’s shooting line for the season was 50/57/92, shooting over 5 threes per game. The gold standard for shooters is 50/40/90.) I also miss out on Sean fussing about shooting too soon on the shot clock or describing a dunk as “a chance to show off.”
The Lakers announcers are always very respectful of the Spurs, especially Gregg Popovich. Several times they pointed out how well-coached the Spurs are. They ran this chart at one point, which is something I hadn’t seen before:
In the pre-game, Stu Lantz (the Lakers’ Sean Elliot equivalent, though not as good), had as one of his “Keys for the Game” not allowing Patty Mills to shoot any threes. When Bill McDonald (the Lakers’ Bill Land equivalent, though not as good) mentioned that Patty had made 8 of his 12 threes against the Clippers, Stu Lantz pontificated that “whenever you shoot 75% from three, that is very good.” Of course, 8 for 12 is 67% percent, not 75%. In his defense, Stu had been told there wouldn’t be any math on this test.
The Lakers’ duo pointed out some good stuff during the game. When the Spurs scored 65 points in the first half, they told us that was the most points scored by a Lakers opponent this season. Way to go! Later they pointed out that LaMarcus Aldridge was one of only two active players with 18,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 1,000 blocks. The other? Dwight Howard. For me, that cheapens the achievement, though Howard was very good before he converted to a hack machine.
On another note, in the first Lakers -Spurs game (in San Antonio), everyone knew that it was LeBron James’ birthday. The Lakers guys mentioned that it was also the birthday of two other athletes: Tiger Woods and Sandy Koufax. Wow — possibly the GOAT in two sports, and arguably the best left-handed pitcher ever, all with the same birthday.
Back to Thursday night. The Lakers’ announcers had very nice things to say about the Spurs youngsters Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and Lonnie Walker IV. However, they failed to mention that the best young player, Derrick White, wasn’t playing because of injury. They also failed to mention that the Spurs line-up down the stretch included only one of those youngsters: Murray, who was sharing the court with Aldridge, Mills, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay.
Pop is not quite comfortable having a bunch of the youngsters finish up what proved to be a very satisfying upset of the defending champs.
As a result of the surprising win, I enjoyed watching the postgame show with Big Shot Robert Horry and Big Game James Worthy. Especially when Worthy described Patty Mills as a “frick’n nightmare”, which may have pushed the decency envelope just a bit.