Apr 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) covers his face with his jersey during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
That picture sums it all up.
The Jodie Meeks/Steve Blake Era is off to a good start tonight in Los Angeles, as the newly Mamba-less Lakers defeated the Spurs, 91-86.
For San Antonio, the bigs did a decent job of producing. Tim Duncan paced the way with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. Tiago Splitter also had a good double-double, adding 11 points and 10 boards.
Leading the way for Los Lakers, Dwight Howard had a dominant 26 points and 17 rebounds, while Steve Blake (Yes, Steve ******* Blake.) took it upon himself to go flamethrower in Kobe’s absence, scoring 23 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
The loss puts the Spurs a full game behind the Thunder for the top seed in the West, with only two games left. The victory gives the Lakers a strong hold on the 8th spot, forcing the Jazz to have to win their final two games to make the playoffs.
Tim Duncan and the gang are right back at it tomorrow, as the Spurs go up the road to Oakland to face the Warriors. Tip-off from Oracle Arena is at 9:30 PM CST.
- Tony Parker was absolutely abysmal tonight. Whether he was tired or his injuries are still bothering him, only he knows. But nonetheless, Parker not scoring his first field goal until late in the 3rd quarter is not how you win games. It would also help to play some defense, but we’ll get to that a little later.
- Parker wasn’t without blame. ALL the Spurs point guards were awful tonight with Parker, Joseph and De Colo combining to shoot 3 for 20. If we’re lumping Gary Neal into the point guard discussion, Neal had his moments shooting tonight. But he did make some bonehead decisions down the stretch that cost the Spurs any chance at a comeback.
- Mike D’Antoni stated after Kobe Bryant’s injury that the Lakers offense would now run through Pau Gasol. Shocking, since early in the season, Pau wasn’t even good enough to get crunch time minutes over Antawn Jamison. But Gasol’s 17 field goal attempts (he only made 3) shows that D’Antoni is serious about asserting Pau’s role on offense. I’d like to see Gasol with more than just two assist for this to work, but the Lakers shooting was pretty awful tonight regardless.
- Dwight Howard is obviously the new leader, and did a fine job of it tonight…offensively. His injuries have certainly slowed him this season, but he’s still a beast on the glass and can still dominate on the low block. Defensively his rotations are slow and he’s not as physical as he has been in the past. Something to watch against more athletic big men (ie. Serge Ibaka).
- Word coming in as I type this is that Tony sitting for most of the 4th quarter, wasn’t injury or fatigue related. Pop on Parker’s benching, “It wasn’t because he was resting; he was playing awful.” Not too hard to tell. Steve Blake torched TP repeatedly and was shooting lights-out in the first half.
Tweet of the Night
Once again tonight’s Tweet of the Night, courtesy of Matthew Tynan. It’s not so funny now, but it’s a beautiful example of Dwight Howard’s leadership on defense.
— Matthew R Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) April 15, 2013