Tonight the San Antonio Spurs (40-15) will face their Western Conference rivals Los Angeles Lakers (36-22) for the first time in this truncated NBA season. However, the game won’t have the same feel with Lakers’ Kobe Bryant not playing tonight due to a sore shin.
Last season, the two teams split the season’s series 2-2 for the second straight season, however, they are 5-5 in their last 10 meetings in San Antonio. Tonight’s matchup also marks the first of three meetings the Spurs and Lakers will have in the coming weeks. It is also a homecoming for Lakers coach Mike Brown who used to serve as an assistant coach for the Spurs from 2000-2003. The game will also feature a return to the Spurs Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder who used to coach the Spurs’ D-League affiliate Austin Toros.
For a complete breakdown of tonight’s contest, make sure to read Project Spurs’ Paul Garcia’s scouting report but here are five things to watch for in tonight’s Spurs-Lakers game.
- The Lakers are sure to work the paint against the Spurs with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The Lakers average 42.3 points in the paint including a season high of 64 points in the paint against the Suns this season.
- It would be best for the Spurs to be leading at halftime tonight. Los Angeles is 29-8 when leading or tied at halftime and are 7-14 when trailing at halftime.
- If Los Angeles is playing stellar “D,” it might be a long night for San Antonio. The Lakers are 11-1 when holding opponents under 40% from the floor.
- TD has been leading the way for the Spurs lately. During the Spurs’ 11-game winning streak, Tim Duncan averaged 16.5 points per game.
- If the Spurs are trailing after three quarters, it doesn’t look like another win. At the AT&T Center, the Spurs are 2-3 when trailing after the third quarter.
Player to watch: Andrew Bynum. With the Spurs’ frontline to be tested tonight, here is how Bynum did against the Spurs last season in four games (via nba.com).