San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers Gameday Q&A

The San Antonio Spurs (51-11) will face the Los Angeles Lakers (44-19) today in San Antonio as the Spurs will look to send a message to the Lakers that it’s the Spurs who rule the West.

The Spurs are coming off a 125-95 win over the Miami Heat and will be looking to clinch the season series against the Lakers. Currently, the Spurs hold a 2-0 regular season series lead. The Spurs last win against Los Angeles was a thrilling 89-88 win sealed with a game-winning tip-in by Antonio McDyess in February.

The Lakers are coming off a 92-84 win against the Charlotte Bobcats and will be looking to get a win at the AT&T Center – a place where the Spurs are seemingly unbeatable at 29-2. The Lakers are also playing better basketball since the All-Star break and are currently on a six game winning streak.

For the series, Spurs’ Tony Parker is averaging 22 points while DeJuan Blair averages 9.2 rebounds against the Lakers.

To talk about today’s contest, I turn to friend of Project Spurs Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass a great site on the Internet for all things Lakers and more. Click HERE to read the Q&A I did for Rey.

In this Q&A, Rey talks about the Lakers improved play, if the Lakers are still the team to beat and more.

Jeff: Seems after the All-Star break the Lakers are playing more consistently. What has been the difference?

Rey: They are way better defensively. Even when they struggled offensively against Charlotte last night, they held them to 84 points and under 40 percent shooting. When they beat Oklahoma City, they held them to 31 points in the 2nd half. While they struggled early against Minnesota, they held them to 34 in the 2nd half. So they’re getting it done on the defensive end.

Also… it looks like Ron Artest has found his groove. Sure, he only scored 5 points against the Clippers and 6 against Minnesota but he’s finally playing topnotch D again. And if you’re looking for that signature game from him this season, the one against Portland was it: 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

 

If these two teams do meet in the Western Conference Finals, how do you see the series ending?

San Antonio hardly loses at home these days but I still think the length of L.A. will overwhelm the Spurs again. While I won’t be surprised however it goes the way the Spurs have been playing, I still see the Lakers winning in six with the Lakers stealing one from the AT&T Center in one of those games.

The Lakers are the defending champs and many feel LA is the team to beat. However, with the Spurs at 51-11, best record in the NBA, do you feel it’s the Spurs who are the team to beat in the West?

 

I still feel that the Lakers are the team to beat in the whole league. They are the champions, right? And I think they look more dangerous as they don’t have that proverbial bulls eye on their back. Everyone is concentrating on taking down the Heat this season (like your Spurs did in what was a total smash). So maybe the Lakers are a BIT under the radar.

Tony Parker will play today and we all know, Lakers struggle against fast guards. Should the Lakers focus on slowing him down or should their focus be on another aspect of the Spurs’ attack?

 

I think the Lakers need to continue to play better perimeter D. I think the bigs will get it done as they played well in the last game but the Lakers up top have to trap guys like Ginobili, Parker, and Hill. I remember Ron having a great game against them last season in the AT&T Center when he was wreaking havoc all over the perimeter. I’d like to see that from Ron, Kobe, and Matt Barnes if he plays in that game.

Spurs won the first two meetings this season. Will the Spurs clinch the regular season series today or will the Lakers get the win at the AT&T Center?

 

Lakers are on a roll and the Spurs are bound to lose at home sometime, right? I’ll pick the Lakers in a close one and everyone will declare for at least one week that the Lakers are back.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers Gameday Q&A

The San Antonio Spurs (40-8) will face the NBA defending champion Los Angeles Lakers (34-15) tonight in Los Angeles in a battle of the top two teams in the Western Conference.

The Lakers will be looking for revenge tonight as the last time these two teams faced off in December it was a 97-82 loss for the Lakers in San Antonio.

The Lakers were pegged as the clear favorite in the West heading into the season but the Spurs have stole the spotlight with their start to the season and league leading record.

Los Angeles has struggled against the best teams in the NBA and add the fact Andrew Bynum suffered a bone bruise and is questionable for tonight’s contest makes this contest even more important for the Spurs to strike while Los Angeles is down. Moreover, Los Angeles has been dealing with other injuries to key players such as Matt Barnes, Ron Artest trade rumors, and all adds up to Los Angeles not looking like the dominant team as in seasons past.

As for the Spurs, they will be looking to get back on the winning track after suffering only their eighth loss of the season to the Portland Trail Blazers and extend their lead in the West over the Lakers as they continue their annual Rodeo Road Trip.

To talk about tonight’s contest, I turn to friend of Project Spurs Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass the best Lakers site on the Internet.

In this Q&A, Rey talks about the Artest trade rumors, if the Lakers are pressing the panic button, what it will take for Los Angeles to get the win and more. To read the Q&A I did with Rey click HERE to visit The No Look Pass.

Jeff: How serious are these Ron Artest trade rumors out of Los Angeles? If true does this mean the Lakers are pushing the panic button?

Rey: I don’t know how serious they are and I’m not one to speculate. Didn’t Rajon Rondo supposedly want out of Boston? He’s still here, right?

Not sure if the team is pushing the panic button but the fans are pretty, pretty close to it. The Lakers are not playing their best, which I’m sure you’ve seen. There’s even more reason to panic if the Lakers don’t beat the Spurs since L.A. has a terrible record against the top teams.

(note: Artest has said he is happy in Los Angeles and has denied wanting a trade out of LA)
 
Former Lakers’ GM Jerry West recently called out the Lakers defense or lack thereof. Did you agree with his thoughts?

Oh, they can definitely do better and I’m pretty positive that they can turn it up to the level where they were in last season’s playoffs. They’re missing some key guys (Barnes, Bynum is in and out)… but we also gotta realize that the Lakers have played essentially an extra season in the last 3 1/2 years. They’re going for their fourth consecutive Finals and that hasn’t been done since the 80s. They’re tired so they gotta reach down and get those third and fourth winds.
 
How would you assess the Lakers past the midway point of the season?

Record-wise, it’s what I expected. Against top teams, though? Another story. Then again, the Lakers faced this sort of crisis last year (including the trade rumors… though there was no one “claiming they wanted out” last year). I’d like to see them win this game to regain their confidence. By then, the Laker fans can go away from the panic button for at least, a week or so.
 
The Lakers trail the Spurs in the West standings. Can the Lakers catch the Spurs for the top seed in the West?

I think the Lakers will make a run at the end of the season but I don’t think they’ll catch the Spurs. The Lakers have a tough road trip ahead before the All-Star break and by then, the gap would be too big to catch for L.A.
 
Let’s talk about tonight’s game. The last time these two teams met in San Antonio, it was a game where the Lakers got blownout. What adjustments should Los Angeles make to get the win tonight?

Shot distribution. Only two guys attempted more than 10 shots. We expected Kobe Bryant to take ‘em, sure… and then you had Shannon Brown chucking shots (1/11). Pau Gasol didn’t even have more than 8 shots. 15 assists by the Lakers in that game. They have to get everybody involved.

Defensively, they need to keep the waterbug guards in check. Parker, Hill, and Neal were getting some looks. Ginobili was great at getting everyone involved. And RJ was also key in the previous game. Also, can someone box out DeJuan Blair?

And there’s the talk of focus by Kobe. It’s now bigger than ever now that Ron Artest trade rumors are going around. The Lakers should treat this like a Playoff game, in my view; get focused, play the game the right way (go inside-out), keep Pau happy with more touches, and, now that it’s apparent, keep Ron happy by letting him get more run and a rhythm into the game.

I would like to say that it would be encouraging that as long as they play better, even in a loss… they would be okay. But now, I say they need this win more than ever to squash anything negative that’s going on with the team.

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