Offensive rating: Spurs – 109.6 (2nd), Lakers – 106.3 (9th)
Defensive rating: Spurs – 103.3 (12th), Lakers – 103.8 (13th)
Pace: Spurs – 92.6 (7th), Lakers – 90.3 (21st)
Time: 9:30 p.m
Radio: WOAI-AM 1200, KCOR-AM 1350.
Three things to watch
Andrew Bynum. (Quivers in fear). Seriously, how do we stop this guy? At 7’0″ with a bevy of post moves and the requisite girth to sustain the tenuous life of a big man — injury concerns aside — Bynum is a monster. As his 16 point, 30 rebound night shows, Bynum is, obviously, a big threat to the Spurs defense. For the Spurs to stand a chance against Bynum (and Pau Gasol, I’m not forgetting him), I would like to see less DeJuan Blair — whose skill set won’t really help tonight — more Tiago Splitter and, to a lesser extent, Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw.
Metta World Peace. Spurs fans should reasonably expect Kobe, Pau and Bynum to have some modicum of success. That’s a given. But allowing Metta World Peace (still weird to type his name) to score 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting? Unacceptable. The good news is that World Peace converted on a lot of unusually difficult shots. I’m chalking his performance last week as an anomaly until further notice. Let’s just move on.
Rebounding. The Lakers benefited from a confluence of factors that I believe aren’t going to repeat themselves with any regularity, one of which was rebounding. The Lakers outrebounded the Spurs by 27, including a ridiculous 16-1 advantage on the offensive glass. Bynum, himself, nearly matched the entire team. It was astronomical how much the Spurs were beaten on the boards predominately because of Blair’s inability to guard either Pau or Bynum. If we’re going to continue to be masochistic (and we are, this is my post damnit!) the Lakers 60 rebounds was tied for the most the Spurs allowed in the last three years. Yeah, not good. We’ll see how Gregg Popovich adjusts to their size.
Final verdict. Spurs by four. I’m pretty afraid of this Lakers team. I can see this one going either way.