For 18 years basketball fans have had the privilege of watching two of the best basketball players the world has ever seen. Both Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant are on most top ten all-time list’s. With 10 championships and over 50,000 combined points, it is hard to argue with that.
The Spurs came into the Staples Center on Friday in last place at a humble 4-3 start. Gregg Popovich has sat his top power forward in big games in this young 2014 season so the record does not tell the whole story. Popovich is convinced that the Lakers 1-7 record also should have an asterisk next to it as he called the team “competitive”.
Kobe, who was reported to be very excited to play the Spurs, would have to play an efficient ball game in order to pull off the Lakers second win.
The Spurs went inside for the first possession, but Jordan Hill showed toughness altering the shot and getting the rebound. That lead to a Jeremy Lin layup after a good drive to the basket. Carlos Boozer posted up on the right block for a layup and the Lakers started the game up 4-0. However, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan converted on two quick layups to tie the game early on. Kobe recorded his second block of the game which lead to a Lin three in the corner, but Kawhi Lenard responded with one of his own. Lin was very active on the offensive end, drawing the double team and finding Boozer for the baby-hook. The Spurs called a time out as the Lakers took the lead 11-10 with after the first six minutes. Leonard came out of the timeout with a huge dunk and Duncan got a layup of his own soon after. Boozer hit his sixth points of the night on a long jumper. But, Leonard hit yet another three to extend the Spurs lead. With three minutes left, Jordan Clarkson and Ed Davis checked into the game. Boozer was impressive on a coast-to-coast layup to lead the Lakers with eight points. But, Danny Green hit his second three of the game and Duncan earned a trip to the free throw line after making a hook in the lane. Boris Diaw hit a shot with two seconds left, but Green fouled Kobe on a last second half court attempt shot to earn three free throws. After 12 minutes the Lakers trailed 29-22.
Ryan Kelly made his presence known to start the second quarter, attacking the rim to earn two free throws and narrow the gap to five. But, Manu Ginobili responded with a corner three. Lin found Davis inside for a dunk and then Diaw hit another Spurs three. Leonard hit a fadeaway on the right baseline to put the Lakers down by 11 with over four minutes gone by in the quarter. To add insult to injury Lenard recorded two steals in a row on Lin, resulting in two Spurs points. Kelly showed his range on a shot from beyond the arc cutting the lead to ten and keeping the Spurs honest. Hill went to the line for two free throws, but the Lakers could not convert on their next possession which lead to two Spurs foul shots. Kobe acted as the facilitator early and found a cutting Lin for a layup. The score was 41-33 with 3:15 remaining in the half. But, the Lakers could not capitalize on the short margin as the Spurs extended their lead 47-35.
Boozer went to the line to open the third quarter which resulted in two points. Boozer scored his 12th point of the night on a put back inside to narrow the margin to eight points. Matt Bonner scored five straight points, however, to give the Spurs some room to breath early in the quarter, but Kobe found Boozer inside for his fifth assist of the game and Lin hit a shot from the elbow to stop the bleeding. Boozer continued to be the go-to guy with eight minutes remaining hitting a shot from the top of the key and putting the Lakers within seven points with the score 54-47. Wes Johnson created an open look for Hill, but Duncan retaliated on the other end for a layup to keep the Spurs lead at double digits. The Lakers stayed in the ball game on a Boozer layup, but had trouble converting on their next two possessions. Every time the Lakers made a run, the Spurs had an answer. After a collapse defensively, the Spurs went up again by 12. The rookie Jordan Clarkson who was seeing some more minutes this game because of a suspended Ronnie Price attacked the rim and drew a foul. He would hit both free throws with two minutes left in the period. Two Kobe free throws made the Spurs lead only seven but Parker ended his scoring drought with a floater in the lane. Parker got another layup to end the quarter. The Lakers trailed 68-57.
Kobe hit his first field goal in 11 attempts with 11 minutes left in the game to open the period. The Lakers were in a zone on defense which benefited them from the perimeter, but killed them on the boards. The Spurs scored on an easy layup as a result. Kobe finally emerged in the final quarter and drove to the basket drawing a foul. He would hit one of two free throws as the Spurs lead was 13. The Spurs were relentless hitting on five straight points including another three pointer to achieve their biggest lead of the game at 18. The Spurs hit two straight threes to extend the Spurs lead to 22 with seven minutes left. The entire Lakers bench was cleared with four minutes remaining as Clarkson drove in for a contested layup. However, the Spurs lead was still more than 20. The bench once again did a nice job of trimming the lead down to make it look better, but the Lakers would fall to the Spurs 93-80.[divide]
Carlos Boozer: “Nobody Believes In Us, But Us.”