Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spurs-Lakers Game 3: The Cockroaches Rise

Tonight in San Antonio, the Spurs got the game they had to have to make this a series. Spurs 103, Lakers 84, and it's 2-1 in the series.

The Lake Show didn't seem into this game at any point tonight, with their bigs (Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom) looking tentative and out of sorts, and Kobe Bryant unwilling to go for the 50+ night that his team needed to stay competitive. The Lakers have been the best team in the Association in this playoff season on the road, but they didn't play worth a damn tonight, and the Spurs are very much alive. (Again. In the words of Charles Barkley, they're cockroaches.)

Will the Spurs win Game Four and continue to buck the odds? No. Remember, Phil Jackson's teams never lose a series when they get Game One, and even though the Lakers played horrible tonight, it wasn't a complete blowout, and the road team has to hit more from outside in the next game then they did tonight (which is to say, any). The Spurs got unconscious three-point shooting tonight to keep a comfortable margin.

In the context of a 7-game series, tonight's game felt like rope-a-dope, with the Lakers continuing to feed Lamar Odom to try to get him to feel a little bit better about himself, rather than letting Kobe try to drag them back into it. Besides, the Lakers can advance without a road win in San Antonio, and Bryant won't let Manu Ginobili (30 tonight, including 19 of the Spurs 28 in the second quarter, when they built the lead they never lost) get off in Game Four, the way he did tonight. (Tim Duncan's 20/20 night is going to be a harder thing to prevent, though.)

Also to be noted...

> Bryant did not shoot a free throw until halfway through the fourth quarter tonight, and that was on a made 3. You can be sure that he'll (a) be more aggressive in Game Four, and that (b) Coach Philip will let the refs know all about this before the next game. He's good at that.

> The Lakers have had a strong advantage in every series when the game goes to the bench. They might have the best player in the Association in Bryant, but it has helped -- a lot -- that he's never had to play a game where he's had maximum minutes. And that goes double for their bigs, who rely more on quicks and length to get it done. Tonight, they were crushed, and that's why this wasn't a close game.

> You can usually tell, early in a game, who has a better chance at wining... because they are the team that is hitting their free throws, and getting points out of bad possessions, with shots late in the shot clock. Tonight, the Spurs got a made 3 from Manu on a miracle heave in the second quarter; when that happens, it's just not your night. Game Four is Tuesday.

1 comment:

John said...

He always does. Stepping up in times like this has always been a part of his game.

Tonight will be one of those famous night Manu glorious career in the NBA.

But the series is far from over. Spurs must win game 3 or else they might go bust.

They also must know that they can't afford to relax in Game 4 just because of home court advantage. Every win must be earned.

I feel the Lakers will give the big push that the defending Champions never had last year.

Anyway, your thoughts on the game. Would really love to hear them...

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