The Spurs, this season, have been accused of being too old, past their prime, at times lost, and unable to gel with all their new players. They have struggled, it’s certainly no secret, but there has always been an air of confidence about them, from the coach to last player on the rotation, that keeps them in the rear view mirror of veteran teams who know them all too well — like the Lakers.

Kobe said in an interview that the Lakers and Spurs have such a rich history together that they could run each other’s plays, and he’s right. That’s why when it comes to this Western Conference rivalry, it is never about one marquee player against another, Kobe vs. Manu, Duncan vs. Gasol. When it comes to Los Angeles vs. San Antonio, it’s always Popovich vs. Jackson and tonight the advantage was Phil’s.

Since Parker’s absence, Manu Ginobli and 2nd year player George Hill, have taken on the reigns on this Spurs team and have done it convincingly. The Lakers were at the losing end of this starting backcourt’s success in the first half when George Hill went off for 20 points and, along with Ginobli, never saw a three-pointer he couldn’t hit. The Spurs hit 6-17 from downtown in the first half, to the Lakers’ 2-8.

There was no flow or rhythm to the Lakers’ movement in the first half. Lamar, however, exercised his right to be the unguarded one; a player who, in their last meeting, baffled Coach Popovich into stating in a sideline interview that they needed to figure out what to do with him. Lamar ended the first half by grabbing the ball straight from an air born Richard Jefferson and ran down for a right-handed lay-up.

That was the beginning of the end for the Spurs tonight, despite leading 48-41 to end the half.

In the second half, Phil and the Lakers coaching staff showed off their smarts. That’s what half-time is for, after all, interpreting the first two quarters and laying down the strategy for the next two. There are no first and second quarter do-overs in the NBA. If a team wants to win, they make the necessary adjustments in the second half and execute, and that is exactly what the Lakers did.

The third and fourth quarters would not allow a Spurs takeover. It wouldn’t even allow a George Hill field goal (he scored ONE point on 1-2 free throws in the entire second half). The Laker defense awoke (Spurs only scored 35 points in the third and fourth quarter!), they found their offensive stride and suddenly momentum shifted. Just. Like. That.

Ron Artest scored 16 points but it was his defense that keyed this win. He had five steals and his defense on Ginobli? Perfection. Some players are inspired by their offensive success. Ron is clearly fired up when his defense is providing and did it provided tonight!

Even Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown, who have to realize that they don’t always have to do everything, but have to do SOMETHING when they’re on the floor, hit five timely shots from downtown.

Kobe Bryant did what he could with what the Spurs allowed him… and what they didn’t plan to allow him. On isolation against Ginobli? Blow-by to a lay-up. Double-teamed? Pass to an open Jordan Farmar for a three. Again on isolation, against George Mason this time? A 28-foot clock-shot buzzer beating three. Kobe scored 24 points tonight, placing him 12th on the NBA All-Time scoring list, but he also had six assists and four rebounds.

This most impressive win against the Spurs makes the Lakers’ winning streak 7. With the Mavericks and Nuggets tumbling over themselves in their last few games, one thing is abundantly and thankfully (for us fans) clear — teams in the Western Conference can have their 13-game winning streak and they can keep the trash talking alive, but when it comes down to it, they all still have to go through the Lakers.

So who wants next?

Pre-game Thoughts: Pau on Tim — let’s see what both of you got!

Half-time Thoughts: Apparently no one can guard George Hill. The man’s got 20 points in the first half!

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: Josh Powell — in the precious few minutes of play that you got tonight, why the laziness out there? An inbound pass the turned into a turnover?!

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Though Kobe was, well, Kobe and Pau did his thing on Tim Duncan, tonight we’re in a New York State of Mind because Lamar was aggressive offensively (19 points) and Ron? Bill Plaschke must be eating his words right now.

  • Eternal

    Nice Report! :)

  • Steve Avery

    I am jealous of your superior writing abilities.

    • Anna Gonda

      Thanks, Steve. Just laying out the facts =)

      • Josh Herrington

        Don’t worry Steve, its just when you wrote on a loss, it was kinda insult to injury.

  • Chillax

    Great report. I hope to see you do reports on the playoff games.

    • Anna Gonda

      Thanks! I hope to be writing reports until June =)

      • http://lakersnation showtime4eva

        yeah,true that!! i hope you also report on the victory parade..good job anna!! go lakers!!!

  • willmo

    Once again it’s great to see another East Coast Biased ESPN fool like Tim Legler eat his words when he said before the game that Artest has not brought anything to the Lakers and they were better off with Ariza than this season. Hey idiot the Lakers defense has been better this yr and that all has to do with Ron Ron and trevor never could come up big on the road the way artest has this yr. If pau and lamar keep playing like this they will sweep this road trip. The look of frustration on Timmy and Pop’s face was priceless, their era is over. Had bynum played the lakers win by 20. good way to start off the trip.

    • Anna Gonda

      Did you read Bill Plashke’s piece? I wonder if he watched Ron tonight, and had the same meal as Legler after =)

      • Josh Herrington

        I did! I’m sure he wants to go and erase that article or he’ll just say that the Spurs are too old. Ahh Bill, you have been wrong for a while and the streak continues.

      • lakerman1

        Plaske is an dumb and now his dumber brother TJ Simers is tuning in. Ron wants to win and as he stated he wants to concentrate on D & and could care less about Offense. Ariza was all about Money and himself and anyone who says different is an idiot. Ron accepted the same money because he knows Kobe and the Lakers are the best bet for a Title. I cannot wait until Sat when Ron goes Ape against Houston and completely locks Ariza down and shuts the bandwagoners up.


        Yeah, they ate each other! FCUK them both!

        GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • NBAmazingKB24


  • well

    After this game, I really hope that people can put Trevor in the past already. Honestly could he have provided stellar D like Ron did tonight?

    • Anna Gonda

      Aaaw, no knock on Trevor. They’re two different types of players, at different times in their playing careers, and they had/have different roles on this Lakers team. I have to admit, I was pretty devastated when Trevor’s dumb agent couldn’t get him a deal, but he’s learning how to be “the man” in Houston and we got a hell of a defender in exchange. What Trevor may lack in experience compared to Ron, he made up for with effort, which was/is never lacking with him.

      • well

        Sorry. It’s just that I’m in my car, & I’m hearing all this talk about comparing Trevor to Ron. And it really blew because I look back at the times I was pissed that his agent messed up everything. Got to admit, It was hard too seeing games with Houston.

        I guess my point is that moving on is the best with this situation. You’re on point saying they’re two completely different players. But I think we’ve got a good thing going with Ron Ron. And I gotta be happy for Trevor too. I really hope he continues to develop and make a name for himself with that effort of his.

        • Anna Gonda

          I’m hoping that when Trevor’s contract is done, he’ll be established as a player and, well, maybe come back here to LA when Kobe’s done winning rings =)

  • maccassedy

    You saying Kobe Bryant the G.O.A.T shot a 28-foot clock-shot buzzer beating three over the whole George Mason team.. clock-shot? lol over George Mason? lol your keyboard most be Fu*K ^

    • pauer

      So that mistake isn’t acceptable but your horrible sentence structure is?

      • Josh Herrington

        haha BURN!!

    • Anna Gonda

      My bad. I meant shot clock, but you guys knew what I meant. It’s all good. This isn’t the NY Times. =) Won’t happen again =)

      • 242LakerFan

        If this were the NY Times you could just make up the whole thing or copy a report from someone else. It’s all good!

  • maccassedy

    Good D by the Lakers in the 2nd Half tonight.. Im glad (George Mason) Roger Mason missed all them open 3’s tonight..Now ROGER THAT

  • Robert

    I heard ‘legs’ compare Artest to Ariza too. The thing is, this is a different league this year. We did fine w/Ariza last year, but quite frankly, we needed to toughen up a bit.
    I think we have by getting Ron-Rin, but we have ‘yet’ to see the ‘big’ toughness when the playoffs start. Trust me, you’re going to see a ‘stepped up’ version of play, especially with Ron-Ron. He’s beginning to show what he can do now. It will really matter in the playoffs.
    That being said, it would have been nice to ‘also’ have Trevor here, in addition to Ron-Ron – but I’ll take Artest any day. He wants a ring. He’s gonna help us get that ring. Just wait till the Finals.

    • Josh Herrington

      Terrible comment. You wanna know why? Its Ron-Ron, not Ron-Rin! Just kidding Robert. I never get tired of hearing what you have to say because, frankly, i don’t have to write it! Its already there! lol

  • maccassedy


  • pauer

    This game was won with adjustments, which is a good sign for this team.

    Ron’s D was amazing even if he couldn’t finish that lay-up.

    Kobe’s passes cross court, will seemingly unwise at times, found the right guy at the right time. It was great to see him change his game in the way that was needed to break down the D.

    Great game!

  • Craig_J

    Looks like the Lakers are playing with championship stride again huh?

    • Anna Gonda

      Well it’s about time =)

  • 242LakerFan

    What I love about Ron-Ron is the sheer joy he gets from playing good D. He was jubilant out there last night! He looked like a kid who is discovering that he is really good at something and finally has a chance to show people!
    I really believe that what we are seeing here is this team coming together and putting all the pieces in place for a great stretch run into the playoffs.
    LWO – Stand UP!!

    • lakerman1

      I want Ron to completely own Houston Sat night because Ariza is no longer with the team and it was in no way because of the Lakers. Ron has been doing everything he can to bring another title to the Lakers and that piece they did on him after the game shows where his heart is. Ron has the same spirit and want to win attitude as Kobe.

      • 242LakerFan

        Yeah, I love his attitude and desire. It’s just when he gets frustrated with the offense and tries too hard to fit into it. You can sometimes see him on the sidelines asking Kobe or a coach, “What am I supposed to do here?” If he can just relax and let the offense come to him, or like last night a lot of his offense came directly from his defense, then he can just do his thing and he’s happy. It’s beautiful to watch.

  • xtro

    plaschke and simers are clowns. when j.a. adande left the times, i stopped reading the sports page.

    • Anna Gonda

      Bresnahan sounds like Simers sometimes too. J.A. Adande is still my favorite.

  • LakerMarc

    Ron was simply put, Inspired in his play. Finally, a really impresive win. Its been awhile since that last Phoenix victory. C’Mon Lakers let’s go UNDEFEATED the rest of the way. All of a sudden Boston is competent again.

  • j

    Great report!

    Plaschke might be eating his words, along with Tim Legler. But it’s apparent that the Lakers are indeed a better defensive team with RonRon in the lineup.

    Let’s not forget that everyone beefed up and made moves to compete with the Lakers, so his defense will become a major factor once the post-season rolls in.

  • jonathanvllamas

    Great reporting anna. Always a delight to read. (:

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    t.j simers is right on about the mamba,fixing games to bethe last shot hero, read phils book,he played that game alot in high school…