You take the good. You take the bad. You take a whooping by the San Antonio Spurs in your own crib and there you have the facts of life without Kobe Bryant.
Anybody left in the Lake Show is better without Kobe school of thought should be expelled after tonight’s 112-91 demolition. This one was a complete turnaround from the way L.A. manhandled the Spurs back in Texas.
You could tell San Antonio was still burning from the loss last week. They were out for revenge and they pretty much had it in hand thanks to an 18-0 run in the second quarter.
Much like a playoff series, Greg Popovich made adjustments. The difference this time, without a doubt, was Tony Parker. The French Flash flew by Ramon Sessions all night like he was Derek Fisher. San Antonio played this game at their pace thanks to Parker pushing the tempo and controlling the flow.
Parker’s 29-point, 13-assist night was every bit as impressive as Bynum’s 30-rebound effort when last these two met. It was just too easy for Parker. He got any shot he wanted going a ridiculous 14 of 20 from the field. He did commit 7 turnovers but that mattered little with the 19 TOs the Lakers coughed up.
L.A.’s size advantage means nothing when the bigs are chasing the ball up and down the court all night. Pop’s plan really exposed a serious weakness in Mike Brown’s armor. The Lakers never adjusted, failing to get this one under control in their half court comfort zone and ultimately were out classed in every phase of the game.
Mix in 19 and 8 from Tim Duncan and a solid all-around effort by Manu Ginobili off the bench and you can see why the Spurs are atop the West.
For the Lakers, it is all about the defense. Without KB24 they’re not going to be able to outscore quality squads like the Spurs. Consider the fact the Lakers shot an impressive 48% tonight yet yielded an embarrassing 59% to San Antonio. That says it all.
All the momentum the Lakers had built up during their four game win streak has disappeared. Their dependence on Kobe has returned with a vengeance. The need to get Bryant back and get back on track for the playoffs is now the priority. The last thing the Lakers need is to slip in the standings. They were never going to catch the Spurs but they can still take the season series with another win back in San Antonio on Friday.