After the third quarter, Phil Jackson was asked in a sideline interview what it might take the team to win the game. Phil’s answer? A rabbit’s foot maybe?

Nothing seemed to be working offensively for anyone but Pau Gasol this afternoon, and lightheartedly as Phil spoke, so did his team play. With a chance to lock up the first place in the Western Conference for good, the Lakers, again, played with little purpose, little heart, and with what set them apart last season, very little intensity.

After such a great win against a strong Utah Jazz team two days ago, the Lakers spent Easter Sunday afternoon playing catch-up. Having led by nine points quickly in the first quarter, the Spurs went on a small but effective 7-0 run to cut the lead and eventually took the game over for good.

Tim Duncan did a job on the Lakers today. As difficult as it was for the Spurs to stop Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan was himself, just as unstoppable, looking every bit like the model of steadiness that he is known for. He curled around defenders to get to the hoop, scored on mid-range jumpers, threw out assists when he was double-teamed. He is to the Spurs what Pau is to the Lakers — never flashy, but quietly and oh-so efficiently dominant.

Manu Ginobli, since Tony Parker’s absence, has been the secondary and often primary scorer for San Antonio. He was stifled by Ron Artest in the final quarter of their last meeting, but today, there was no stopping that quick two-step that has provided problems for every one of his defenders. If the Lakers had a second offensive threat today, Manu’s contributions could have been challenged, if not at the very least equaled.

Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant, who collected 22 points on 8-24, suffered another terrible shooting day and no one else on the home team scored enough (not even collectively), to compensate.

Lamar Odom, who had one of his most dominant games against Utah, scored 16 (6-13) and 19 (8-18) respectively in the previous two wins against San Antonio. Today he led the game in rebounds, with 13, but only attempted eight shots to collect nine points. For someone who, according to Coach Popovich himself, poses problems for San Antonio (and every other team in the league), Lamar should have been more aggressive offensively with Pau, especially with Kobe not shooting well.

The Lakers, down by 15 points in the fourth quarter, got to within two off a Jordan Farmar steal and pass to a running Kobe Bryant. It appeared as if the final run for the victory was upon them. After the ensuing timeout, however, the Spurs scored on three straight possessions and suddenly the lead was back to seven, then to nine, and ended in the final kill — a 19-point loss for the home team.

Laker defense today, like their offense, lacked execution in all areas of the court and against various opposing players; against Tim Duncan, against Manu Ginobli… against Matt Bonner? After that large deficit was cut to the equivalent of one basket, the Lakers’ intensity waned and their harried carelessness and obvious frustration took over. With less than four minutes left in the game, down by 12 points, Kobe attempted a three with no more than 6 seconds shed from the shot clock, resulting in a miss and Spurs rebound. At that point, it was game over.

The Lakers had chances to steal this game, despite sub par play from anyone not named Pau Gasol, but their veteran composure was nowhere to be found. It seems to get misplaced often this season, great wins against some of the top teams followed by baffling losses to others who aren’t even in playoff contention. But there are five games left before the real season begins. Hopefully the Lakers can gather themselves, their offensive weapons, their defensive intensity, and their focus by then.

Otherwise… let’s not even consider otherwise.

Pre-game Thoughts: Possible Playoff series preview.

Half-time Thoughts: 48-40 Spurs. Laker bench outscored 13-0. Seems to be a common halftime statistic.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: It would be too easy to place blame on the Lakers bench (again), but, Pau Gasol had a great game and Kobe Bryant did not. In the end, none of it mattered since the entire team seems to be lost on the significance of playing well before the playoffs.

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Pau Gasol — 32 points on 13-20, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. It could have been a waste of an efficient game if he played defense on Tim Duncan as well as he could score on him.

  • hey

    So much for what's his face improving our bench play. It just goes to show that people like “WifeLovesLuke” are myopic fans.

    • kb24fan93

      he actually played great when he was in during the second half so i dont know what your talking about

      • hey

        Please read my comment next time. It was about our bench play. K THX

      • hey

        And 2 mere assists hardly suffice as “playing great” so I don't know what you're talking about.

  • Lakers 24 7

    The Lakers should definitely pull some strings and land Darren Collison in the off-season. I just can't see Farmar as our future PG. I don't think New Orleans will keep both CP3 and Collison.

  • airkobe

    ya right gasol had the monster game 32 points and only 7 rebounds for the starting center. it's good and he maybe think that he stood tall because kobe sucks another game. the conclusion is! who is guarding tim n manu? tim 24 most points comes in the fourth and manu all the way with 32, where are you ron? put the blame on kobe co'z he did not shoot well again but it is sure that he has nothing to do with manu's 32 co'z ron is all over him.
    But I am ok with loss co'z cause it is really tough to play spurs on the first round especially now that gasoft's defense was expose so as ron ron! I don't worry with kobe shooting that I way co'z come play-off time he will come out firing. mitch and the buss family knows that!

  • airkobe

    only five games left..and the true lakers will come-out!

  • jonb

    Does anybody see that kobe does not look GREAT; in fact he doesn't even look 80% out there. idk if he's still injured but he looks like he cant get any lift or attack the basket and thus settles for contested jumpers (that aren't going in). For kobe standards he looks MEDIOCRE and not even a top 20 player these past 2 games but i'm not just saying it because of bad shooting, he hasn't looked right since spraining the ankle and that with the finger just doesn't bode well for our team. It could be fatigue but if i'm phil i rest kobe after the game at denver because were not getting any title with our star player only making 4-8 shots and being inefficient (not getting to the line). Manu's a clear example of what a HEALTHY start player can do for your team. Kobe just doesn't even look threatening anymore of late. With a healthy mamba and bynum i have full confidence (well more than 4 pts from the bench too) but otherwise……

    • purplegoldvien

      im glad someone else is seeing what im seeing, ive been struggling with this since he came back with his messed up ankle. At first i was in denial hoping the next game kobe would pick it up, but he has not and i doubt he is going to be able to at will. Kobe does not want to shoot 5-23 or 8-24 but he is, and its because he is far from being 100%. last year i knew the lake show was coming home with the tittle, this year not so much and the only reason i lack that same confidence in the team is because kobe has not been playing like KOBE. he looks like hes 36 not 31, get em next year.

      • airkobe

        purplegoldiven n jonb I am also worried with that kind of shooting by kobe but let us just wait until the playoff is over to judge that kobe is no longer kobe. but he did not put the same fire as on the jazz game for bringing his game on the line that could have change the game.if kobe is scoring 30 points or more they wont get blown that way. so I still want kobe to shoot more than wait for his team mates to work.

  • airkobe

    I know it is not the cavs thatlame beat the lakers today, but as many fans here blame kobe's another shooting woes, I tried to look at another superstars game and this what I found out.
    taking too many shots are most parts that superstars like kobe do.

    KOBE:22 points on 8-24 fg. 33%, 2-6 on 3's, 4-6 on the line, 8 reb. 6 assts. lakers loss 19 points.
    LEBRON: 42points on 14-31 fg. 45%,”0-9″ on 3's, “14-22″ on the line, 7 rebs, 9 assist. loss 4 points.

    kobe shoots 7 less shot than lebron's 31, lebron made 16 more ft. attempt than kobe's 6 try. (NBA rules on kobe vs. lebron is in effect)

    there is no way kobe will have 0-9 on the arc, and miss 8 shot on the line. now who is “THE BALLHOG”? and who do you think the one that hurts his respective teams? lebron might not be blame on the loss because he has 42 points, 7 and 9 assts. and the media will ignore it.

    who has the better team?
    LAKERS: only 2 players has double digit (kobe 22, pau 32)
    KOBE: 8-24 fg.
    OTHERS: 25-57 fg.
    free throws: 10-14 only kobe n pau who has trip on the line.????(got no love from the refs)
    CAVS: 6 players on DD (jamison,james,williams,hickson,parker,big z)
    LEBRON: 14-31 fg
    Others: 26-47
    free throws: 24-40 (BS calls)

    on the games agains the jazz kobe shoots 5-23, but trips to the line 18 times and made fifteen of it. But today only kobe n pau who has trip the line for only 14 times. can you believe that? on the whole physical game there was only 2 players in 1 team who has ft. attempt?? Did the lakers afraid to get hurt inside the paint to force the game and draws some fouls and made more ft? or are the referees are blinds because the cavs loss so the lakers have to loose too? Is it the NBA rules agains the lakers is in effect?

    Did the lakers only loss because of kobe's another shooting woes?
    Can the lakers win with pau' 32 , but duncan has 24 and manus 32?

    who really has to be blame?

    • Pac Div

      Preach brutha!

    • hoop247

      Amen dawg, thank you finally someone knows whats going on. The freakiin refs r hating the lakers like crazy. David Stern, lowkey, hates us to. Those refs r a bunch of low life cheating betting son of a piece of pooosy. But we need to just dunk on people, thats what i want. N i remember this one game when kobe jumped straight into the defender late in the game try to catch up n he was called for an offensive foul when it was clearly a blocking foul. If it was lebron, defenders breathe on him, thats a defensive foul. Lebron travels refs don't see. I really don't hate the refs but they clearly hate us. Can any one of y'all working for the lakersantion, go up to david stern and slap him because his referees are cheating the lakers out of their minds.

    • Won A Ring For The King

      The Lakers don't get free throws because they have a bunch of sissy ass soft players that are too afraid of contact. Gasoft, Odumb, Vujabitch, Farmass, Walton, Brown.

      • ruxpin810

        yes, the lakers are soft but that's not the reason why they don't get free throws. lamar and pau get beat up all the time but refs don't give them calls because they don't take it up strong most of the time. but a foul is foul regardless if you take it up strong and dunk the ball or try to lay it up softly.

      • Magic Over Cavs Again

        them sissy bunch has championship rings. lbj ain't got none. lakers vs magic again. rematch.

        • dstreet

          magic are good but i still think with a healthy shaq and the return of z its no way they will go thru clevelands home court to get there. the refs and the league want kobe vs lebron.last year the magic in the finals was a joke. this year they will not make that mistake again. think about the star studded match up the finals would bring … ratings out the roof!

      • airkobe

        yah honestly I,m tired of this players..odom inconsistent,misses easy lay-ups, gasol yes can score but i'm not confident with him doing the lefty hook , I think sasha is fine co'z he has the heart n confidence he just need more PT. hope this summer could make a tweak. I just want noah on lakers i want his hassle. this past few week he posterized lots of bigmen that bynum never does, yes he don't score like bynum but he's work ethic is superb. I just hope that bosh n pau trade will happen co'z for sure bosh will dunk the ball when he meet the ring.

    • KindSir

      You've got to keep in mind that lebron attacks the rim a hell of a lot more than kobe does. He settles for jumpers way too much. And our guys don't know hiw to dunk a ball, just do sissy layups.

      • ruxpin810

        kobe doesn't attack the basket as much as lebron because he doesn't get the calls like lebron does. but i do agree that kobe has been settling on outsides shots too much, but i can't really blame the guy when he gets beat up and not get calls.

        • airkobe

          as far as i know kobe seems to be a shooting guard and james is like a power forward but unfortunately kobe has to attack the rim as well co'z pau n odom don't know ho to use their body to draw some fouls.

      • hoop247

        kobe needs to just dunk the ball like crazy again. he needs to dunk it like the rim stole something from him. i don't care if his hops r decreasing but if he keeps relentlessly attacking and dunking the ball on people, the refs will have no choice but to be on kobe's side a again

    • dstreet

      your a fucking idiot!

  • lakersthe2010champs

    The biggest problem that the Lakers have is really not defense. It's their offense. It's a wrestling match there on Sunday and they played very hard, but lost. They lost the game with inferior offense. No one can make shot except Pau. If Kobe keeps on saying they lack the defense, it's full of it. What they need is some fundamental basketball skills – to shoot, to move the ball, to penetrate and dish. It was a disappointing to watch them wrestling with Spurs but showed no basketball skills.

    • ruxpin810

      i beg to differ. when you let a defensive team like the spurs shoot close to 50%, you're most likely not gonna win the game. they got the lead down to 2 points and got outscored 29 to 12 to end the game. they let the spurs score 33 points in the 4th quarter. this game was all about lack of defense.

  • Won A Ring For The King

    Popovich says that the Spurs are trying to avoid the Lakers in the 1st round.
    Judging by this game, the Lakers are trying to avoid San Antonio by making sure they'll end up the 7 seed.
    Be carefull Lakers, remember you can't win in Portland and these Blazers play you tough…
    Cavs in 6.

    • lakers2000

      Does not matter if we can't win there seeing as we will have home court. Get lost trolling douch!

      • Won A Ring For The King

        To quote a great philosopher from South Central L.A.:
        “Why can't we all just get along?”…

    • Won't Win A Ring For The King

      real season begins in the playoffs. not the regular season. lakers vs magic again. rematch.

  • kobewankenobi

    this team has problems
    we definitely cannot win in this way
    kobe unfortunately is playing very bad
    IMO this is his worst or second to worst season of his career
    i hope is just because of his broken finger and not the fact that he is quickly fading

    the only good part of kobe season are the 7 game winners
    besides that he stunk up
    if kobe cant go back to dominate a game (which this year happened very rarely) we have no chances, 0, nada to win it all

    especially with the soft attitude every other player has…

    wow what a disappointing season

  • trippleocho

    I'm just gonna wait for the playoffs. Hopefully the team will play better there. I don't think I will watch the remaining REGULAR SEASON games. Just waiting for the playoffs.

    • Toni

      That's exactly what my husband said! – He is a Lakers fan through and through but he is getting quite irritated with the way that they have been playing as of late! … We REALLY, REALLY NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE BENCH!!!!!

  • kisofdeath

    one thing i'd like to see more of is kobe going to the post. he did that early in the game and went away from it and thats when we saw him really drop his FG%.

    when he did it early on in the season with gasol out he was in the top 2 scoring switchin with melo night in and night out till pau came back and he relaxed.

    i dont know if the bangin in the post wears him out towards the end of the game (or possibly from the entire season) or if he's just saving it for the playoffs. lets hope its the latter

  • funk
  • bagel

    yo how the fuck do i log in? i cant see the log in area

    • kobewankenobi

      same here

  • dclaker

    Kobe needs another 81…in the post season this time.

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