Sunday, January 25, 2009
Teams: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Start Time: 3:30 PM EST
Announcers and Network: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson (ABC)
Same deal as earlier, this time with some high-powered Western Conference action. I had this debate with a buddy last night: if Andrew Bynum keeps powering his way to double-doubles on a consistent basis, there may not be a team that can compete with the Lake Show this year.
Ridiculously even first half, aided along by an argument between Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy over All-Star reserves -- Van Gundy thinks Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz should be an All-Star.
Generally, the games played between the Lakers and Spurs this year have not done anything to dissuade me from the fact that these are probably the two teams that should, pending the draws, meet in the Western Conference Finals.
The Lakers have opened up a lead thanks to good ball movement and stiffening up on the defensive end. They're not in the Celtics' league yet as a defensive team; they are still capable of missing rotations. Fix that and they're a sure title team.
It's not helping that Luke Walton just committed what appears to be a flagrant....wait, no, no flagrant.
I really, really don't care what Jeff Van Gundy thinks about the number of movie award shows. TALK ABOUT BASKETBALL PLZ KTHXBAI.
Again, how good does Mitch Kupchak look for not giving in to J-Kidd fervor last season?
JVG: "The Memphis Grizzlies are the worst organization in professional sports."
The city of Detroit would like to have a word with you, Mr. Van Gundy, and then Minneapolitans wouldn't mind talking to you after that too.
79-66, Lakers after three, and again with the "Hotel California." (I had a rough night, and I hate the fuckin' Eagles, man!) Bynum has a big quarter with 9 points alone there and a couple of blocks. San Antonio doesn't quite have the spark with its new back-ups this season. They're really going to lean on Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili -- more than usual.
17 point lead after Gasol throws a sick pass over his head to Odom waiting for the easy lay-in. That's just wrong.
Trevor Ariza gets the throwdown. Massive jam for a guy who's been the glue guy -- plays good defense, hustles, is physical, gets the chip-in points.
The Lakers fundamentally changed when Bynum came back, not only because they had a more physical player at the 5, but because it moved Lamar Odom to sixth man, where he could rotate among several positions off the bench and play a second team leadership role.