A crowd that’s used to a rivalry doesn’t feel bad or patient even with all of the injuries the Los Angeles Lakers have been through this year. The San Antonio Spurs jumped on the broken bunch right from the start, getting pretty much involved as the game ended with yet another humiliating result for the once proud franchise.
Demoralized from the first moment, the Lakers didn’t stand a chance against the team playing the best basketball in the NBA right now. No Spurs starter played more than 22 minutes, another excellent sign of a blowout, as it ended in a 119-85 win for San Antonio, their biggest ever win over the Lakers, coming only eight days after the Clippers beat their cross-town rivals by 38 points.
Pride and history aside, it’s simply not a very fair fight. The same guys who put on enojyable performances from time to time under Mike D’Antoni can’t wait for this season to be over, but unfortunately for them, teams seem to still be highly motivated when stepping inside the Staples Center and seeing that Lakers logo on the jerseys. The Spurs’ subs saw this as an opportunity to show Popovich they deserve more than a miniscule role in the playoffs, while Tony Parker and Tim Duncan got more necessary moments of rest.
To say the Lakers looked embarassing would be an understatement. They shot 34.1% from the field, beginning the game with only 14 points in the first quarter, and no matter what set of 10 players were on the floor, the Lakers always had the inferior bunch. It’s easy to get sucked into the failure and play as bad as some expect you to. Pau Gasol seems to be the only one a bit breaking out of his that mold, but at his age it doesn’t really matter how well he plays, it has no effect or influence over his teammates and his team.
Seven Spurs players finished with 10 points or more: Danny Green, left wide open to shoot 3’s; Matt Bonner with 13 points in similar fashion; 12 points from Marco Belienlli and Aron Baynes each; 11 points from Cory Joseph and 10 points from Jeff Ayres. When there’s no need for Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to be even remotely dominant for more than 5-10 minutes in a game, you know it’s been a very easy night for a team that can handle things that are much more difficult.
These aren’t games that have any indication of how well the Spurs might do in the playoffs, but it’s good to get some rest and give some unhappy subs (if there’s even such a thing as being vocally unhappy under Popovich) a chance to play some meaningful minutes and pad up their stats. This was a game that tells a lot more about the depths this Lakers orginization has fallen into due to a series of bad decisions, and there’s still time this season to reach even new lows that if the hints were followed closely, wouldn’t be so surprising to many.