The Kawhi Leonard smile. So rare. So beautiful.
The San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, 120-89, to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. For more on the game itself, check out the game recap from last night here. But let’s get to what matters – a 31 point victory – and now only one game away from sweeping Los Lakers. It’s time for some happy game grades!
I’m picturing Mike D’Antoni asking the officials if the burrito guy can play point guard.
Who’s Hot: Old Man Riverwalk aka Tim Motherbleeping Duncan. Shooting 75% on the road en route to 26 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. The newly 37-year-old did a great job of fronting Pau Gasol and frustrating Dwight Howard all night long.
Who’s Not: Gary Neal came off the bench and took ten shots, five of which were 3-pointers. He only shot 30% for the game and picked up three quick fouls in his 22 minutes of action, but let’s be honest. He’s only here because I have to put someone here.
Turning Point: As things started to unravel for the Lakers, midway through the 3rd quarter, Howard tried posting up Duncan, only to extend his elbow just a little too much, letting Duncan mini-flop and draw the offensive foul on Howard. In typical fashion, Howard complained, drew a technical foul, and Duncan hit him with the greatest troll face of all-time.
Up Next: Teams that have gone down 0-3 in any NBA Playoff series are 0-103 in winning the series. So unless the 2013 Los Angeles Lakers have a 2004 Boston Red Sox-esque run in them, they’ll just be delaying the inevitable on Sunday night at Staples Center. Game time is at 6PM CST.
PG Tony Parker | 20 points (9/14 shooting), 3 rebounds, 7 assists
TP finally showed some vintage Tony Parker on Friday night. Coming off screens, showing off his midrange jumper, getting to the rim at will. You’d like to see him draw more contact and get to the foul line more than three times, but I’m just nitpicking here.
SG Danny Green | 11 points (5/7 shooting), 4 rebounds, 4 assists
Green seems to have regained some confidence on offense. Defensively, he’s not having as many lapses as he did the first two games, and he’s not afraid to get physical on the block with the Lakers bigs. For someone who shot 43% from three in the regular season, the 33% shooting in the postseason won’t cut it. Maybe he’ll progress back to the mean in that department, but he’s doing just fine from inside the arch right now.
SF Kawhi Leonard | 12 points (5/8 shooting), 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Leonard established himself early with 6 points in the first quarter and seemingly faded as the game went on. He was active on defense and rotated well, as usual. His offense just wasn’t needed with Duncan and Parker dominating the ball.
PF Tim Duncan | 26 points (12/16 shooting), 9 rebounds, 3 assists
I think we’ve covered enough Tim Duncan in the recap and the “Who’s Hot” portions of Air Alamo. His performance was nothing short of brilliant. In 2013, Duncan is as dominant as ever and shows no signs of slowing down. The only gripe would be that he didn’t record a double-double last night. Yawn.
C Tiago Splitter | 5 points (1/5 shooting), 6 rebounds, 2 assists
Defensively, Splitter was outstanding and very physical. That’s all you can really ask. Offensively, he’s been painful to watch. Forcing hook shots, struggling to find his touch around the rim. But you have to credit Dwight Howard’s defense for some of that. An ankle injury in the 3rd quarter also limited Splitter’s stats and minutes.
Bench | 40 points (20/35 shooting), 21 rebounds, 12 assists, 5 steals, 4 blocks
When Manu Ginobili is one of your more “disappointing” bench players, you’re doing something right. Everyone played and everyone scored at least two points. DeJuan Blair led the bench with 13 points (a perfect 6/6 from the field), 7 rebounds and 3 assists in 14 minutes. That actually happened.
Some late breaking injury news for the Spurs: Diaw practiced today, but won’t play in Game 4. Tiago’s out and Parker is taking some eyedrops after getting hit in the eye, but will be fine. Via our friends over at Pounding the Rock:
Spurs injury updates: Splitter (ankle) out indefinitely; Diaw practices; Parker experiences blurry vision sbn.to/Z60L8b
— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) April 27, 2013
And NBA injury news from the official Twitter account of the Oklahoma City Thunder:
News: Thunder announces Russell Westbrook underwent successful knee surgery today. He will miss remainder of 2013 Playoffs.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 27, 2013
We’ll have more news and details to come here at Air Alamo as information becomes available.