Dec 12, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) looks to pass against San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Before the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers due battle Friday, we caught up with our friends over at Lake Show Life to discuss the action ahead.
The Spurs return home to the AT&T Center looking to get back on track. On both sides of the ball Wednesday night in Toronto, they did not have any flow what-so-ever.
Raptors took advantage of turnovers to convert them into points. San Antonio did show some fight, thanks to the second unit. Manu Ginobili led the team with 17 points. In the end, the Raptors prove to be to athletic as the duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan lit up the Spurs.
For the Lakers, it has been a rough season to say the least. Sitting at just three wins, news could not get any better for the team as star Kobe Bryant talked about this season being his last.
Bryant and the Lakers are coming off of an overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves where he himself felt the team showed a lot of energy. A team rebuilding for sure, it does not get any easier as they head into the AT&T Center where the Spurs are undefeated at 11-0.
We spoke to Los Angeles Lakers Writer Cody Williams to find out how he feels about the Lakers chances of winning.
Lets dive into what he had to say about tonights matchup.
Next: Are you surprised by the start of the Lakers this season?
Michael Rehome: With the new additions to the team, are you surprised by the start of the Lakers?
Cody Williams: To give a totally non-definitive answer, no and yes. Even with having Julius Randle healthy and getting D’Angelo Russell in the draft, this is still a team that’s primary focus is rebuilding for a post-Kobe Lakers team. In that same light, Lou Williams is a player that’s great to have on a playoff-caliber squad, but not so much on a team in the Lakers’ current situation.
Meanwhile, the thought in bringing in Roy Hibbert was that he’d help LA’s abysmal defense, but on rim-protector doesn’t solve all of the problems that they have. All that in mind, the mounting losses aren’t exactly shocking.
However, the surprising part is that Byron Scott hasn’t been doing a whole lot (until Wednesday night against Minnesota, at least) to help develop the young players and push the rebuild along. Sitting Russell and Randle in crunch time, playing Kobe too many minutes, and things have that nature have been surprising in that they largely negate the overall goal of this season for the organization.
Next: How will D'Angelo Russell fare against Parker?
CW: Like any 19-year-old rookie playing in the NBA would, he’s probably going to have his learning moments against a player like Parker, particularly on the defensive end where Russell has been unmistakably lackluster this season. However, I think Russell’s quickness and craftiness on the ball offensively could help him find some success against Parker.
Essentially, it’s not going to be a disaster, but it’s not going to be Russell’s rookie season opus, either. For the Lakers sake, let’s just hope this matchup gets seen in the fourth quarter and not have Russell catching splinters down the stretch.
Next: What will the Lakers need to do against the Spurs defense?
MR: Spurs defense has been strong this season. They are holding opponents to 88.7 points per game. What will the Lakers need to do on the offensive end?
CW: That’s a great question as, frankly, the Lakers have been pretty tortuous to watch on offense at times this season. However, the Lakers’ biggest issue this season has been their glaring lack of ball-movement in the offense. Kobe, Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams, and virtually every guard in the Lakers rotation is guilty of playing offense that’s way too heavy in isolation and the offense as a whole has suffered as a result. In any game for the Lakers, but especially against San Antonio, remedying that issue and moving the ball around the perimeter to find open looks rather than trying to create them off the dribble is going to be pivotal in having a chance of breaking down the Spurs’ D.
Next: How will Bryant perform against Leonard?
Dec 9, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) reacts after missing a shot in the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Timberwolves won 123-122 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
MR: With this being Kobe Bryant’s last season. How do you think he will perform against one of the leagues best defenders in Kawhi Leonard?
CW: This season with Kobe Bryant has really been a mixed bag of emotions; on one hand you have the nostalgia brought on by the announcement of his impending retirement and on the other is the fact that he’s shooting 30.9 percent from the floor while averaging the most attempts per game on the Lakers. That being said, those numbers could be even worse against Kawhi.In terms of athleticism, quickness, length, and virtually everything that matters, Leonard has the advantage over the 37-year-old Kobe. However, being overmatched in those regards hasn’t stopped Bryant from trying to take his man one-on-one before now in this season, so he’ll probably try to do the same. As Lakers fans have seen in recent games from Kobe, it’s likely he’ll come out and knock down a couple of shots, but will fade in terms of proficiency and efficiency as the game wears on and he keeps chucking up shots.
Next: How difficult to win at the AT&T Center?
Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs fans celebrate during the game against the Miami Heat in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
MR: In the three games played last season, Spurs took the season series 2-1. This is the first meeting between these two. Being that it is in San Antonio and the Spurs are 11-0, how difficult will it be for the Lakers to win?
CW: The NBA obviously doesn’t work by the commutative property, but the Lakers lost to the 76ers just a little more than week ago while the Spurs made Philly look like a Division III college team. The Spurs have the advantage at every position on the floor, have the advantage in terms of depth, and are a far better coached and constructed teams than the Lakers. Not to be a total pessimist, but I think that the Spurs probably have this one in the bag.