Well…it’s official. The Spurs officially own the Lakers this season. At least the regular season having taking the series two game to three, the last two coming in convincing fashion. Now should these two meet again it will be in the playoffs so L.A. can still get the last laugh. Hard to imagine finding anything funny after tonight though.
The new-style up tempo Spurs are problematic for the Lake Show. It was more of the same tonight in Texas that we saw back in Los Angeles just a few days ago.
Tony Parker gets wherever he wants on the court, the Lakers are late in their rotations and the Spurs move the rock like one of Nino Brown’s best employees. It all results in a style of play L.A. isn’t equipped to handle.
Mike Brown’s bunch can’t overcome poor defense and if it took 30 rebounds from Andrew Bynum to beat San Antonio previously then there’s no way 2 boards is going to cut it. That wasn’t the only reason L.A. was abused again but it didn’t help to have Drew go invisible in the paint. Neither did the return of Kobe Bryant.
So to get a little insight on how Greg Popovich and the Spurs continue to find ways to win, we reached out to Quixem Ramirez of Air Alamo for a quick post game Q&A. Here’s what he’s got to say about tonight and the season going forward.
Lake Show Life: What do you think of this reinvented version of the Spurs? Greg Popovich seems to always get the best out of his talent. Are Spurs fans enjoying this new style of play or is every win just as enjoyable no matter the way it comes?
Quixem Ramirez: Wins are always fun. Always. That being said, this year has been pretty incredible. I thought I got carried away last year with my excitement (and look how that turned out). I told myself prior to the season that, no matter what, I would not get carried away with any semblance of success, as my personal defensive mechanism against failure. Well, I failed. Miserably. Not only are the Spurs incredibly efficient — seriously, they score effortlessly at times — but they have the depth that makes their success ultimately sustainable. Plus, Pop is pretty amazing with the way he incorporates everyone into the rotation (ie: completely taking Blair out of the rotation against the Lakers, resting Big Three, instilling confidence in Green, Kawhi and Splitter etc, etc). So, yeah, it’s been really, really fun.
LSL: Is what we’ve seen in the last two meetings between the Lakers and Spurs just a case of San Antonio being hot or do you think they just have L.A.’s number?
QR: I’m not going to completely disregard the first game of the series. But I also won’t give the result (14 point Lakers victory) too much credence either. Bynum grabbed an abnormally high amount of rebounds (30, to be exact, which is mind boggling) but that predicated on the disastrous black hole that was DeJuan Blair guarding him for a good part of the first half. That since has been solved. Metta World Peace scored a season-high 26 points. Given the degree of difficult of his shots, that won’t happen again. And Kobe wasn’t playing so his inclusion into the team is a pretty important one because he can either hurt his team significantly or get them out of jams. I won’t say the Spurs have the Lakers number based on a two-game sample size, but I definitely more confident about our chances should we meet again in the playoffs.
LSL: Do Spurs fans feel disrespected by how overlooked the team seems to be every year when it comes to coverage and title talk?
QR: Disrespected? Kind of. But, as a whole, the Spurs fanbase is relatively used to the national media belittling their accomplishments. Actually, it makes the Spurs season more rewarding. While everyone is lamenting every national televised game including the Spurs (although, that probably has since changed), we are sitting back enjoying a hell of a ride. I’ll take the anonymity any day of the week just so I can continue to watch this team play for the rest of eternity.
LSL: As a SoCal guy I’ve got to ask what you think of Kawhi Leonard?
QR: Awesome. Humble. Hard worker. Talented. Great finisher. Great teammate. Prototypical Spur. Great off ball cutter. Elite rebounder. Improving defender. (I just basically summarized Kawhi’s skill set). Kawhi, to put it mildly, is one of my favorite players on this Spurs team. As I mentioned in my brief synopsis, Kawhi is significantly more polished in every facet of the game than I had anticipated. Give him a couple of years and we can be looking at a perennial All-Star (seriously, that is not hyperbole). How did this guy slip until the 15th pick in the draft? Now that is beyond me.
LSL: How do you like San Antonio’s title chances? Any match ups/teams that you’d prefer they avoid in the postseason?
QR: I’d avoid OKC, Memphis and the Lakers (in no particular order). But, even so, I’m becoming increasingly more bold in my expectations for this team. I expect a lot, probably a little too much (hence my need for a defensive mechanism to shield me from disappointment). But, I can’t help it. I LOVE this team. Is a title really too much to ask for? (Wait, don’t answer that).