Game Recap: Spurs Defense Shuts Down Lakers, Take Game One 91-79


Apr 17, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during player introductions before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the AT

The feeling of uncertainty coming into the playoffs wasn’t pleasant. And it also ended up being unwarranted.

What the San Antonio Spurs did Sunday afternoon was impressive, regardless if the Lakers are missing their best player. The ball movement was crisp, the defense was active, and most importantly, everyone looked healthy. Tim Duncan led the way for the starters with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Manu Ginobili had a vintage performance with 18 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

For the Lakers, the big man duo of Gasol and Howard combined for 36 points and 31 rebounds, but had 10 of the Lakers 18 turnovers. The Spurs rotated well and were very physical with LA’s big men from the start, holding the Lakers to just 15 first quarter points. Factor in a struggling Steve Nash and only 10 points off the bench for Mike D’Antoni’s squad, this game was never in serious doubt for the silver and black.

The Spurs will look to take a 2-0 lead in the series on Wednesday at the AT&T Center. Tip-off is at 8:30 PM CST.

Game Notes

  • I have to start with Matt Bonner. In Boris Diaw’s absence, Bonner saw a whopping 29 minutes off the bench. Though a notoriously poor playoff performer, the Red Mamba had a solid 10 points and 5 rebounds. But the difference he made doesn’t show up in the box score. He outperformed Splitter on offense and defense, constantly moving and begin aggressive against his man. And on offense, he showed he’s not just a 3-point shooter, shooting a beautiful baby hook over Dwight Howard in the first half. Anything Bonner gives you is obviously a positive, but what he did tonight was nothing short of great. You can only pray he keeps it up.
  • This was a vintage Spurs playoff performance, even though it was a horrendous shooting night. Granted the Spurs have been off since last Wednesday, but shooting 37.6% from the field had nothing to do with what Los Angeles did defensively. San Antonio missed so many open looks, which can’t continue to happen. But it’s what the defense did to force the Lakers into mistakes and bad shots, plus how the Spurs stayed within the system by moving the ball around and limiting the unnecessary turnovers, that won them the game. If someone told you the Spurs would shoot under 40% for the game and still win by double-digits, no way would you believe them.
  • Not to overreact to one game, but Tony Parker’s shot is struggling. He looks healthy and stayed aggressive with trying to score, but it’s just not there for him right now. Also with the point guards, Cory Joseph was excellent in a short 11 minutes. Didn’t force his shot offensively and did a good job checking Blake and Nash on defense.
  • As I said, this game was honestly never in doubt. The Spurs managed to not have their lapses starting and ending quarters, like they have the past couple of weeks. No matter how many times the Lakers made a small run to cut the lead to four, and no matter how many open shots the Spurs missed, San Antonio played the perfect “bend but don’t break” type of game. The Lakers started the game leading 2-0 and never led again over the last 45 minutes.
  • Skip Bayless and Magic Johnson have already changed their picks, after saying the Lakers would win this series.

Tweet of the Night

I have nothing negative to say about Danny Green tonight. I trust he’ll get better, but he can’t have these kinds of lapses on defense. Luckily Nash’s foot was on the line, or this could’ve been a costly 3-pointer.

Danny Green whoops…

— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) April 21, 2013