Our offense against the Lakers in this 121-97 win was amazing. Just amazing. It was like they forgot to blindfold the kid hitting the pinata. It was too easy. At least, the guys made it look too easy.
There are so many great things about this game that I don’t even know where to start. So, I’ll just jump right in with the song of the game and follow it up with a bunch of random thoughts and stats.
Song of the Game: The Weekend Starts Here by Fatboy Slim
I just can’t think of a better song for a Friday night win like this. “The Weekend Starts Here” actually came on through my iPod last night during the game. It’s off of the “Better Living Through Chemistry” album and it’s one of my favorites. I just love anything that has a raunchy sounding bass beat like this. And I love any game where we whip the shit out of the Lakers.
Play of the Game: Manu’s Pass
There’s no doubt what the play of the game was. Manu has a flair for taking an excited crowd and putting them over the top. He did that with his pass. It is at the 1:40 mark of this highlight video. Words can’t describe it other than to say that he looked like Sandy Koufax or Steve Carlton. This is one of the greatest passes I have ever seen.
It put a beautiful capper on a great performance, he scored 10 of our last 12 in Q3 and assisted on the first five of Q4, and simultaneously put a dagger in the Lakers.
Trending Up: Everyone
Seriously, I thought everyone played well. Tony, Tim and Manu were awesome. They set the table for everybody else and spearheaded both the offense and the defense. Tim’ post defense against Bynum was fantastic. He made him work, especially after the first quarter. Bynum had 10 in Q1 and 7 the rest of the way. Manu played tenacious defense and Tony shut down Sessions (2-9 FG and 4 pts, 2 of which came in garbage time).
Diaw and Bonner did great jobs defensively. Tiago banged with their bigs and was solid. Kawhi and Danny also played great perimeter defense and helped on the boards. I could go on and on. We held the Lakers to 43% shooting and the only real negative is that we sent them to the line a lot. 30 FTA is a lot to give an opponent.
Trending Down: Nobody
The only person I think I could reasonably put here is James Anderson. He’s just fallen off the map. When he does enter the game, he plays the most invisible minutes I think I’ve ever seen. The only time I notice him is when he tries to dunk over 2 or 3 guys and misses. He seems like a great young guy and I’m still rooting for him to turn it around. I just don’t think it will be with us.
Stat of the Game: Points In The Paint 54-30
There are a bazillion good stats in this game, but I think our 24 point advantage in Points In The Paint is the most telling. We got a lot of easy buckets. We also got a ton of easy looks from 3-pt range where we went 10-15 (Matt Bonner was fouled, a no call, on his one miss). But, that’s how open guys were. Here’s your fun factoid: the Spurs made 10 buckets outside the paint that weren’t 3-pt shots. Yes, we made 10 long 2s. Which means we would have won the game 101-97 if we had not made a non-3 jump shot. Additionally, four of those 10 makes were on 4 of our first 5 buckets. Here is a list of our long 2s:
- Danny Green to give us 4 pts
- Tim Duncan to give us 6 pts
- Tony Parker to give us 8 pts
- Tim Duncan to give us 10 pts
- Tim Duncan to give us 25 pts
- Tony Parker to give us 67 pts
- Tony Parker to give us 79 pts
- Manu Ginobili to give us 81 pts
- Gary Neal to give us 98 pts
- Gary Neal to give us 105 pts
We started out hitting some mid-range shots and then we just sliced and diced them on our way to a 61% shooting performance. Yes, we probably can’t sustain a 61% shooting pace. But, we have a chance if we get as many layups and open looks as we did tonight. Good lord we have a nasty offense to deal with.
Stat of the Game #2: Fast Break Points
The next stat of the game would be fast break points where we won 22-4. You’ll read everywhere today that the Spurs pushed the pace and it is very true. We did. You could tell that Pop’s game plan was to run. We pushed the ball from the very first possession on. The only time it slowed down much was when Gary Neal was running the point and Manu wasn’t in the game. Otherwise, it was go go go.
Stat of the Game #3: Rebounds
Everyone remembers how badly we got handled on the boards 10 days ago. 60-33. Well, tonight we beat them on the boards 42-29 while holding Bynum to 2 rebounds. That means we held Bynum to 9 rebounds in the last two games (people around the interwebs are writing 5 for some reason) after giving up 30 to him in the first game.
You would expect that we’d beat them in rebounding considering we didn’t miss many shots. You know, because defensive rebounds are easier to get than offensive rebounds. But, if you look at the rebounding percentages then you will see that we really dominated them. We allowed 10 offensive rebounds on 41 chances, which means we had a defensive rebounding percentage of 75.6%. On offense, we managed to corral 11 of our 30 misses for an offensive rebound percentage of 36.7%. To put those in perspective, the 75.6% defensive numbers would put us tied for second in the league. Behind ourselves. The 36.7% offensive rebound percentage would have us almost four points ahead of the first place Bulls in that category. In short, we completely dominated them on the glass.
To sum up: pound the middle on offense, run fast, rebound.
Strategy of the Game: Put Bynum in the High Pick and Roll
Re-watching the game it became apparent that the Spurs were dragging Bynum out from under the basket and making him defend on the perimeter. He’s not an agile, mobile big man. He’s a lumbering giant. If they switched, then the big cleared and the dribbler attacked Bynum. If they didn’t switch, we just dribbled around the pick and attacked. It was a schooling in the execution of high pick and roll.
I think this strategy not only helped us offensively because he’s not a good pick and roll defender, but it also helped us on the offensive glass as he wasn’t able to recover to the paint and grab rebounds.
We shot 61% from the field ,67% from 3-pt, and 94% from the line. Those numbers are all silly.
I re-watched the game and I was struck by how much energy we had. It seemed like we got to almost every loose ball. That was one focused and scary team. I’m interested to see if we can maintain it for four more games heading into the playoffs. I don’t think we’ll be able to execute like that for four full games, but I do think we can bring that kind of energy. Since energy is something you can control. If we do then I pity the Cavs, Blazers, and Warriors. We’ll just destroy them. The Suns, who are fighting for a playoff spot, will bring a bunch of energy themselves.
Playoff seedings: If we win out, then we finish with the second best record in the league behind the Bulls. That means home court all the way to the Finals and home court in the Finals if we face the Heat. We can still lose one game and be the #1 seed in the West.
To that end, another great stat from last night is that nobody played more than 28 minutes. Tony led at 27:46, Manu had 25:00, and Tim had 26:03. Look for Pop to keep playing them every game as long as the minutes stay in the low 20s. We can do that if we keep thumping people.
Speaking of thumping people, we have now won our last six games by double digits and our last four by 20 or more. In our last 13 wins, we have averaged 114 points per game. That’s the reason we are now the second highest scoring team in the league. I never thought I’d write that.