Inactives for Tonight’s Games:
Spurs: Matt Bonner, DeMarr Johnson, Ian Mahinmi
Lakers: Coby Karl, Ira Newble, Andrew Bynum
It’s a “Grey Out” here in San Antonio tonight as every seat in the arena was adorned with a grey Spurs playoff shirt sponsored by H-E-B (a local grocery store).
Popovich kept Michael Finley in the starting lineup tonight but quickly inserted Ginobili five minutes into the game.
There’s a lot of clapping in unison going on here. Pre-game the crowd clapped all through the home team’s intros and pretty much until tip. Now the upper level has it going again for the Junior Jammers. The Grey Out is working pretty well. Even the lower level is on board for the most part (save the Lakers fans in the Purple & Gold). I’m always a fan of this working… maybe just because it never works that well in LA.
The crowd is still firmly behind Manu even after he tossed out back-to-back stinkers in Los Angeles. He’s rewarding the support by canning his first two three pointers. Previous to those two he had been 2-10 in the series.
Jordan Farmar & Sasha Vujacic, who both had solid performances in Game 2, enter at the three minute mark. A little earlier than normal for the duo, showing the confidence that Phil has developed in them over the course of the year. Once again Sasha goes to work on Ginobili, while Jordan is left to guard the taller Brent Barry.
The first offensive showdown between Slovenia and Argentina is won by Manu as he catches Sasha being too aggressive and gets a bump from him. The smart play by Vujacic was to keep his hand up and make sure Ginobili couldn’t get a continuation shot up.
The quarter ends with a point guard dual as Farmar asks for a clear out, then takes Parker to the hole for a deuce. Parker asks for the same thing on the other end, but can’t finish the play. Sasha grabbed the board and heaved up a full courter that was way after the buzzer, but did catch an unsuspecting security guard square in the head.
Kobe came out aggressive and scored eight points, but was matched by Ginobili, who woke up from a two game slumber and looks like the player everyone has come to expect. Five turnovers from each team, but neither has capitalized on the mistakes. 24-21 Lakers after one.
The bench group of Farmar, Vujacic, Turiaf, and Walton, along with Lamar start the quarter by getting outscored 6-2 in the first 3:15 of the quarter as both Ginobili and Parker have started doing the things they’re best at. 27-26 Spurs. Kobe enters the game for Lamar.
Manu Ginobili is a man possessed. 10-points this quarter as well as drawing two quick fouls on Ronny Turiaf have him playing like a certain NBA Owner. He’s already eclipsed his combined point total for the first two games and we’ve got 30-minutes left to play.
Vladimir Radmanovic makes a rare second quarter appearance… unfortunately it only last about 20 second before Phil put Sasha back in.
A ten point Spurs lead has been keyed by the San Antonio big three of Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili, who have scored all but two of their team’s 25 points this quarter. The Lakers on the other hand have only put 12-points through the hoop with 2:03 to go in the quarter.
Sloppy play from the Lakers in the second contributed to the Spurs 28-point quarter, but timely shooting by Ginobili did most of the damage. Manu finished the half with 22-points on 7 of 11 shooting including five trey balls.
Allowing a 28 point quarter from the Spurs is inexcusable when they perfectly happy playing games in the 80s.
Lamar is having one of those nights from the line. You know, the kind where he goes 2-6 and looks like he’d rather be anywhere else than shooting freebies.
The three balls are the difference right now as almost every other category is nearly even.
After averaging 19 assists in the first two contest, the Lakers have only tallied three assists throughout the half (all by Odom).
Pau Gasol should really not be handling the ball out on the break, although Vladimir Radmanovic is so rarely out as part of the break that he might not be aware of this. The two big men play a little patty-cake with the ball that leads to an easy Gasol dunk in one of the more awkward looking fast-breaks you’ll see out there. The best part is that Kobe was the third man on the run and wasn’t even involved.
Derek Fisher gets the tech, but it could have been either him or Gasol who really deserved it. Both came out of that possession flapping their arms like madmen and screaming at the officials. Sure they were right about getting hacked down low, but you still can’t loose your head like that.
The ball movement in the second half has been slightly better in the first, but Odom is still the only one to tally an assist in the half court set (Vladi was credited with one for his volleyball set to Gasol on the fast break). This isn’t the well oiled offensive machine that we’ve seen throughout the playoffs. This is more like my 1975 Chevy Blazer that has a tough time starting and will hum for ya for a while, but then you get a hiccup and wonder if the carburetor is still attached. The Lakers carb is still attached, but it’s not working 100% right now. 63-51 Spurs.
The Spurs win their third quarter of the evening after the Lakers shot only 9/23 after their halftime break. The total for the Spurs big three is up to 60 and the whole Lakers team only has 57.
When the Lakers entered the building tonight they had a chance to crush any hope the Spurs had of making this a series. So far they haven’t played like a team that even entertained the thought. Now they’ve got 12 minutes to make up a 12-point deficit.
Jordan got hacked on the offensive end and let it carry over to the other side as Tony Parker made a quick cut for an open layup while Farmar was still complaining to the ref. The Spurs carry their biggest lead of the evening at 77-60. The Lakers need to come out with a quick run here or it’ll start looking like a bizarro Game 2 in here.
The Lakers continue to push forward, but are repelled everytime. I’m calling “no mas” on this one and heading downstairs to get ready for the locker room videos.