After falling to the Spurs in Game 1 of their first round series, the Lakers were back in action on Wednesday looking to even up the series. After all the talk over the last two days involving Kobe tweeting, injuries and everything other than actual basketball, the team was able to get back on the court after a two-day hiatus. After the Lakers struggled mightily to score in Game 1, they were hoping to put up a bit more of a fight in Game 2. A lot of that would depend on whether or not they could contain Manu Ginobili, who was a huge factor for the Spurs in Game 1.
Before the game the Lakers also learned that they would be without Jodie Meeks, who injured his ankle in the Game 1 loss. Without Meeks the already short-handed Lakers found themselves even lighter. Still, they were hoping to steal the victory and head back to Los Angeles with a 1-1 split.
After starting slow in Game 1 the Lakers were hoping to get out of the blocks a little quicker in Game 2. However, with Jodie Meeks on the sideline they were without one of their more potent outside shooters. The Lakers played well in the first game on the defensive end (for the most part), and were hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way as the Lakers saw the Spurs come out shooting a blistering percentage.
Can’t let Parker get middle. Like, ever.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) April 25, 2013
For the Spurs it was Kawhi Leonard leading the way in the first period. The Lakers’ inability to rotate and cover the open shooter led to easy looks for Leonard and the rest of the Spurs. Offensively the Lakers were once again led by Steve Blake. After playing possibly the best month of basketball in his career, Blake continued to pick up the scoring slack in the first 12 minutes for Los Angeles. Still, despite Blake’s offensive output the Lakers found themselves trailing 28-23 after the first 12 minutes. Second Quarter The Lakers were looking to turn things around in the second period after hanging close in the first. The Lakers got an offensive boost from Dwight Howard, who had several great plays against Matt Bonner in the post. On one possession, Bonner wrapped up Howard completely but Dwight was able to still get the shot off, miraculously making the basket before heading to the free throw line and completing the three-point play. That particular play gave the Lakers a 45-44 lead, their first of the period. But, much like Game 1, the Spurs utilized Manu Ginobili to pull ahead from the Lakers late in the period. Offensively he was nearly unguardable, as the Lakers simply couldn’t figure out a solution to slowing him down. That coupled with Parker’s ability to get into the paint helped the Spurs build an even larger lead thanks to a 13-4 run late in the second.
Ginobili also had 4 assists with his 12 points in 11 minutes, killing LAL in screen/roll situations.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 25, 2013
By the end of the first half the Lakers were trailing 56-48, and were once again looking for answers against a Spurs team that seemed to have them clearly outmatched.
After closing the first half on the wrong side of a 13-4 run, things didn’t get much better for the Lakers early in the third. Dwight Howard picked up his fourth personal foul minutes into the period, suddenly pitting the Lakers without their best player for the remainder of the period. Afterwards the Spurs were able to take advantage, getting into the paint and using their speed and quickness to capitalize on Howard’s absence.
Without Howard the Lakers were unable to get any closer than they were. Even though Steve Blake continued his high level of play, the Lakers never seemed to be able to get closer than six or seven points. In many ways it was much like Game 1, with the Lakers trailing by an amount that wasn’t nearly insurmountable, but the execution and ability of the Spurs made it seem like a much steeper hill to climb. Instead of facing a nine-point deficit, which the team was for the majority of the quarter, it felt more like a 15 or 20-point lead for the Spurs, as the Lakers simply were unable to get close.
Another strong close to the quarter for the Spurs allowed San Antonio to take a 78-68 lead with 12 minutes left in the game.
The Lakers’ chances were hanging by a thread heading into the fourth and final period. The margin for error was very small, and the Lakers were rapidly seeing their hopes of a split disappearing. To make matters worse for the Lakers, the Spurs jumped out of the gate in the fourth strong, immediately pushing their lead. Just three minutes into the period the Spurs had pushed their lead to 14, and the attitude of the Lakers on the bench was frustrated, dejected and tired. The Spurs, like they’ve done to so many teams over the years, simply out-executed the over-matched Lakers.
There was a brief glimmer of hope when the Lakers went on a slight run to get back within 10, but after that the Spurs slammed the door. Two straight baskets from Duncan put San Antonio back up 14. Following that Dwight Howard picked up his fifth foul, which was made worse by the fact that it was on the offensive end. This led to yet another Matt Bonner three-pointer that basically slammed the door on the Lakers.
In the end the Lakers were simply outclassed and over-matched. While going into the series many thought the Lakers would be able to hang with the Spurs due to their size and slow-pace style of play. But after two games in San Antonio it was very evident that the Lakers don’t have enough talent to hang with the Spurs. After 48 more minutes of basketball in San Antonio, the Spurs took a 2-0 series lead after a 102-88 victory.