Couple of thoughts on the Spurs/Lakers game tonight. Alena and I live in Socal but we’re huge Spurs fans. We don’t get to see them in person very much, so even though this was a fairly insignificant game in a season where the Spurs are already guaranteed a playoff spot (if not the #1 seed in the West), and the Lakers are working on having the worst record in the West, we still wanted to go and see the big 3 of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker (maybe for the last time).
Before the game, Steve Nash was out there practicing with a defender and hitting what seemed like 90% of his shots. I thought he looked really good. All the more impressive considering he’s hurt, probably with nerve damage in his back, and probably in considerable pain. Grantland’s series with him this year is amazing — well done, brutally honest, and authentic in a way we don’t generally see from pro athletes.
My second thought was an incredibly dumb one, probably the dumbest thought I’ve ever had and possibly one of the dumbest in the history of humanity. It was something like this, “Wow this is like super HD”. Granted, I am used to seeing the Spurs about 80 times a year on a screen, TV or computer, but still.. not my brightest thought and yeah I should get “out” more. But I just laughed at myself and enjoyed our really good seats. We were about 16 rows away from the floor, pretty close to mid-court. Definitely close enough to see two well-earned bald spots, one on Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis (Alena said, “I guess he got contacts”.. apparently she only remembers 80s, blacked-rimmed, bespectacled Kurt), and the other on the Argentinian legend, Manu Ginobili.
Next thought was that Duncan definitely walks around like an old guy. He wasn’t putting much weight on his bad (read: worse) leg. Which makes it all the more impressive that his PER 36 has basically remained the same his entire career — 20 points, 11 rebounds. 20 points, 11 rebounds. Every game. He’s more dependable than Old Faithful. Tonight was no exception, beginning with winning the tipoff over Gasol. He finished this game with 12 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 assists in 32 minutes.
Final thoughts: the depleted Lakers, to their credit, kept it close until half way through the 4th quarter. The Spurs had 7 players score in double digits – something that happens regularly. I was reminded of how much faster the game seems in person. Tony Parker of course hit a few shots that left us saying, “How?”. The athleticism and skill of these guys is so much more apparent in person. Especially for the youngest and fastest of them, like third year Spur Kawhi Leonard. That guy is amazing. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and if this wasn’t the Spurs we were talking about, I would say he is looking every bit like the future star of the team. But there really isn’t a star of this particular team. The team is the thing. And that’s one of the reasons why we love the San Antonio Spurs.
Compilation of “the loop” play: