On November 13th, the Lakers were slaughtered by the San Antonio Spurs. True to Texas and the old western mythology, the game became known in the Lakers Nation as the Brokeback Mountain game.
Out of four quarters, the Lakers held San Antonio under 25 points only one time. It was in the first quarter when the Spurs scored only 21 points and held the Lakers to a paltry 15! For you math majors out there, that’s barely a point a minute… for an entire team.
The Lakers were held under 25 in all quarters except the final quarter when garbage play entered in.
The Young Gun Lakers, led by Billy the Kid, I mean, Kobe Bryant have shared some legendary moments against San Antonio. In game 1 of the 2001 Western Conference finals, Billy the Kid lit up the Spurs defense for 45 points. To compliment that game, the Lakers dealt with a 14 point deficit and a Phil Jackson ejection to rally from behind and sweep the Spurs on their home court in game 2. Duncan punished the Lakers with 40 points of his own and Kobe had 28 including the game clinching three pointer that put the icing on the 13-5 run to come from behind in that game.
In 2004, Kobe went off for 42 points against the helpless Spurs in game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, then perhaps game five’s stunning .04 buzzer beater by Derek Fisher will bring back memories.
The Spurs have some fond memories of their own. In the past 8 seasons, the San Antonio Spurs have won an impressive 4 NBA titles. This number eclipses those of the heroic Lakers of 2000-2004. They won their second title in 2003, essentially at the hands of the Lakers. Images of our players, including Derek Fisher, crying on the bench as the series came to a close haunted us for a year until we were able to avenge the despair. They’ve since taken our biggest playoff clutch 3 point shooter, “Big Shot Bob,” and they love to rub him in our face when they get the chance.
In much the same way, November 13th wasn’t much of a showing for the Lakers. The formidable defense of Andrew Bynum and Kwame Brown held Tim Duncan to a mere 5 points on 2 of 10 shooting, but Tony Parker’s 26 points and 9 assists completely demolished the Lakers.
Since that time, the Lakers have become the second youngest team in the NBA. Upgrading their roster with Trevor Ariza’s impressive athletic skill and defensive prowess has given the Lakers a new hope at stopping San Antonio’s perimeter game.
In addition, this was the infamous game where the Lakers turned the ball over 19 times, almost all of them coming in the first half. Further, Defensive specialist Bruce Bowen outscored Kobe hitting 6 of 6 from downtown.
However, now things are different. We’ve gained our swagger. We’re on a 3 game winning streak, all of which came against tough opponents. Last time these two teams met, we had won only 3 games total. Radmonovic has been taking notes from Bruce Bowen, canning threes from the corners. Ariza has been playing terrific perimeter defense. Andrew Bynum is coming off his greatest performance as a Laker. We’ve had several days to prepare for this momentous game.
We’re hearing Tim Duncan won’t play.
Knowing that our battles with San Antonio have been as much psychological wars as much as physical ones, I for one would rather we savor a sweet victory over a fully healthy Spurs than a wounded Spurs team.
Either way, the Young Guns can already taste the blood in their mouths. We may as well rename Staples Center to the O.K. Corral for the night, because it’s guaranteed to be an old fashioned shoot out worthy of the history between these two teams.
Our Young Guns look to avenge, and even kill the memories of Brokeback Mountain.