We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s narrow 84-82 loss against San Antonio, which dropped their record to 3-5:
Shooting percentage for Kobe Bryant through eight games this year, after finishing 12-of-19 for 28 points. Prior to the contest, the Lakers co-captain was one of two guards in the league ranked in the top 20 in field goal percentage (Gary Neal, 55.2%).
Spurs field goal percentage, the third straight game the Lakers held their opponent to 40 percent or under. The Spurs had been at 48.8 as a team, and their three best players collectively struggled from the field (Duncan: 9 for 19, Parker: 8 for 18, Ginobili: 1 for 8). Kobe Bryant was pleased with the defense: “We’re playing much, much better … we’re being much more aggressive on both ends of the floor. On defense, we’re doing a phenomenal job. We’re doing a good job communicating during the game, pushing guys and making them take tough shots.” The effort would have felt even better in a victory.
Assists for Bryant in the past three games since Mike Brown’s firing, Bryant taking on much of the playmaking responsibility with Steve Nash remaining in street clothes and Steve Blake out with a strained abdomin. Bryant essentially played point guard for most of the fourth quarter, alongside a huge lint up of Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, Pau Gasol and Dwight. Bryant is used to facilitating from the perimeter since the triangle offense was a two-guard system, but he’ll certainly do much less and focus on scoring once Nash returns.
Lakers turnovers, resulting in 12 Spurs points, and helping the visitors outscore L.A. 13-6 in transition.
Seasons of at least 300 assists for Tony Parker, one short of the 12 for Steve Nash and two shy of Andre Miller’s 13. They’re the NBA’s only three players to achieve that feat.
Blocked shots for the Lakers, led by Dwight Howard’s five, tying a season-high. It was also the number of shot attempts Dwight had in 41 minutes of play. Howard wasn’t worried about it. “All that stuff will come,” he explained. “It will come with time. I just to keep going to the boards hard, keep playing hard and keep playing through every situation on the court. My touches and everything else will come.”
Free throw misses in a game the Lakers lost by two, including Howard’s 3 of 6 and a 1 for 4 struggle from Darius Morris, who struggled in his 20 minutes on offense but was active on D.
Second chance points for the Spurs in the fourth quarter, which really killed the Lakers. Three times, they forced a tough shot with a big line up (Bryant the “smallest” player on the floor), but failed to clear the rebound, the most fatal blow when Tony Parker followed his own 17-foot jumper miss with a put-back layup. Bernie Bickerstaff noted the critical impact.
Three-pointers from San Antonio’s Danny Green, the last one being the game winner. On the year, the North Carolina product is hitting 45.5 percent from deep. “(He) hit a big, big shot, but he had the guts to take (it),” Kobe said. “It was a tough one; it was a contested shot and he knocked it down.”
Corner three-pointers that the Lakers couldn’t drop in the final minute, with Metta World Peace rimming out on a completely wide open shot, and Pau Gasol missing in the final seconds with Tim Duncan near by. Gasol still got a good look, but probably shouldn’t have had the ball in that position. The Lakers appeared to be trying to get the ball to Bryant, defended tightly by Kahwi Leanard, but MWP passed it to Gasol, trapped in the corner with Duncan’s arms waving. The Spaniard was unable to get Kobe the ball.