However insignificant tonight’s game, no matter the uncertainty of next season for darn near every player on the roster, and regardless of what a struggle it’s been the past six months, the Lakers did what they’ve done all season – they played their hearts out.
The San Antonio Spurs came into tonight’s game with home court advantage locked up for as far as the post season will take them, so they sat Tony Parker for the second half, Manu Ginobli didn’t play in the final quarter, and Tim Duncan wasn’t in uniform at all. It’s safe to say that Coach Popovich cared very little about exerting the team for a pointless win, so the AT&T’s loss this evening was the Lakers’ gain.
The road team led for the majority of the game, going up by as much as 15 points. Save for a bad second quarter, the Lakers outscored the Spurs in the first, third and fourth, eventually winning 113-100 to close out the 2013-2014 season.
Points in the Paint – It’s not a category they made much noise in this season, but the Lakers actually outscored their opponents in the paint 50-38.
Rebounds – Another stat in which they seldom excelled this season, the Lakers also outrebounded San Antonio by one, 50-49, led by Jordan Hill’s 14 boards and Wesley Johnson’s 11.
Teamwork – Overall, in tonight’s game (and really this season as a whole), the Lakers have been a tight-knit group of teammates, win or lose. Tonight, every single player scored in double figures except for MarShon Brooks, who played just under nine minutes and scored seven points. Hill led the scoring with 18 points on 7-13 from the field to add to his 14 boards for a double-double. Nick Young, ever the celebrator no matter the circumstances, had 16 points, pumping his fist when he was fouled on a shot that he made. Kendall Marshall had a double-double himself, with 15 points on 5-7 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from behind the arc. He led the game with his 11 assists as well. Jodie Meeks, Mr. Consistent this season, had 14 on 5-7, hitting 2-2 from downtown. 12 points and eight rebounds from Ryan Kelly, 11 points and 11 boards for Wes Johnson, and 10 points apiece for Robert Sacre and Jordan Farmar, who also had six dimes.
End of Season – This pathetic season finally comes to an end! Despite the rarity of a Laker team missing the playoffs, it’s a relief this year to not have to watch another loss, another player get injured, a seemingly recovered player get injured again. Sometimes there’s just good in good-bye, and this is one season no one will have a problem waving farewell to.
End of Season – We can be (and I use this term loosely) “happy” that this dismal season is finally over, but it doesn’t take away the disappointment, the what-ifs, the questions and concerns that have piled up over the last six months. With a 27-55 record, the worst in franchise history, the Lakers averaged two losses for every win they earned. They had just nine active players tonight, with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Xavier Henry, Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman all unable to dress due to injury. All their ailments amounted to a total of 319 missed games, the most in the league and probably their worst stat, of this past season.
After the final buzzer in their final game sounded, the Lakers lingered on the AT&T Center floor, each hugging a teammate before heading off to the locker room. For a team that has had as tough of a season as these players, their final box score showed a lot more than what they contributed to the victory. They’re symbolic of a team who supported each other under circumstances that could have driven them apart. Their chemistry, a hot topic before the season began, remained in tact through 27 victories and appeared to grow stronger through 55 losses. There’s no telling who will return wearing the purple and gold uniform when training camp rolls around, but it sure would be great to have some of these players back for another crack at it.
We thought the regular season was tough to watch. This off-season, with all the mysteries that Laker management has to solve, might be just as excruciating. Rest assured, LakerNation, we’ll be going through it together.
The LN staff thanks you all for commiserating with us his season! Until the next post-game report, please stay tuned for all off-season Laker news!