Two days ago the San Antonio Spurs handed the Miami Heat a thirty point thrashing. Two days later the Los Angeles Lakers gave the Spurs a taste of their own medicine with a never close contest that saw the Lakers open up a 32 point lead in the third. And in just over two days from now the Lake Show makes a stop in Miami.
But that is looking too far ahead. Let’s just talk about today.
Let’s talk about the two-time defending World Champs looking every bit the part of a team poised to three-peat.
Let’s talk about the Spurs losing out in San Antonio for the first time in 22 games.
Let’s talk about the Lakers racing out to a 34-13 first quarter lead that was pretty much “game over”.
Let’s talk about Andrew Bynum being a force of nature in the middle. 17 boards and 3 blocks as the Altered Beast continued his stellar play.
Let’s talk about Phil Jackson sending a clear message by leaving Pau Gasol in until there was only a minute thirty left and a 21 point lead.
Let’s talk about the Lakers rolling along with 7 wins in a row, unbeaten since the All-Star break.
Sunday afternoon was a glimpse of what happens when the Lakers play suffocating defense and highly efficient offense.
On D it was Bynum’s presence in the middle combined with some great communication and crisp rotations that slowed the Spurs down. It didn’t even seem like Tim Duncan was playing. Timmy checked in with a 2 point, 7 rebound effort that didn’t make any of his fantasy owners happy.
On offense everything was working. Kobe was in Mamba mode from the start dropping a game-high 26 in an out-to-prove something performance. Off the bench Lamar and Shannon combined for 27 points, 8 boards and 8 dimes. Pau chipped in with an efficient 21 on 12 shots while Ron Artest gave a Spurs fan a face full of coffee while chasing a loose ball.
From start to finish you could just feel the intensity the Lakers came to play with. This was not a case of the Spurs being caught flat footed so much as it was the Lakers imposing their will.
Even better is that Derek Fisher was able to shrug off Friday’s shoulder injury and Matt Barnes saw his first action in two months. Things are certainly coming together at the right time.
But this is only the beginning. The Lakers can’t get caught basking in the afterglow of today’s monster victory. This road trip is going to be a real test. So far they answered the first question with an A+ effort. We’re all looking forward to that showdown in South Beach but first is a Tuesday stop in Atlanta. Can’t get caught looking too far forward and there is certainly no time to dwell on the past.
If there is one area of disappointment with today’s result it’s that the final score didn’t indicate just how one-sided this affair was. We knew the Spurs weren’t going to roll over and the 34 points the Lakers scored in the second half will attest to that.
But let’s not get caught up in semantics right now.
Let’s just enjoy the best win of the season with the hope that this is a clear sign of the Lakers rising to the challenge of defending those two titles.