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Lakers vs. Spurs Preview: Lakers Close Out Season Reviewed by Momizat on . [new_royalslider id="251"] The Lakers will close out their season in San Antonio against what is likely to be a skeleton crew as Coach Popovich rests his starte [new_royalslider id="251"] The Lakers will close out their season in San Antonio against what is likely to be a skeleton crew as Coach Popovich rests his starte Rating: 0
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Lakers vs. Spurs Preview: Lakers Close Out Season

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The Lakers will close out their season in San Antonio against what is likely to be a skeleton crew as Coach Popovich rests his starters for the playoffs. This has been a miserable season for the Lakers due to a myriad of injuries that affected nearly everyone on the roster. As they enter the off-season with their eyes set on acquiring a promising young star in the lottery, there will be many questions about the future of the Lakers franchise. Will Mike D’Antoni return to the sideline next year as head coach? What significant off-season moves, if any, will the Lakers make? Will the Lakers save cap space for 2015 when Kevin Love becomes a free agent?

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Frontcourt: It’s hard to project exactly who the Spurs will play tonight since Coach Pop is famous for resting his key players before the playoffs. Since the Spurs have locked up the number one overall seed, their main focus is that all of their players remain healthy going into the playoffs. Tim Duncan has been surprisingly consistent and solid in his 17th season. Most importantly he’s remained healthy and has played in 74 contests this season in which he averaged 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds. Duncan’s play style which is rooted in fundamentals has allowed him to be successful late into his career. Don’t be surprised if he sits or plays limited minutes tonight.

Another key for the Spurs success this season has been the emergence of Kawhi Leonard. Leonard may be the youngest player in the starting unit but he already has the demeanor of a veteran. He goes about his business with craftsmen efficiency and helps the Spurs in just about every aspect of the game: rebounding, scoring and defense. His effective field goal percentage of 57.4% is among the best in the league which proves that he’s deadly efficient in his scoring opportunities. There’s no doubt that Kawhi will be one of the franchise players in the Spurs future post Duncan retirement.

Backcourt: Tony Parker is the key cog to the Spurs offense and he has historically shredded the Lakers defense. Parker is a superb pick and roll player and when he catches the ball going full speed off of multiple screens he’s nearly unstoppable. Last game against the Lakers he went off for 25 points and 5 assists. Chances are that Parker will sit out tonight’s contest as he got a bit banged up on Monday. In his place Cory Joseph will get the start.

The Spurs shooting guard rotation consists of several players who have a penchant for knocking down threes. Coach Pop has utilized former NBA castoffs, Danny Green and Marco Belinelli, to maximize their potential as three-point specialists. Green leads the team with 1.9 treys per game and Belinelli leads the team with a 43% three-point shooting percentage. Additionally Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili provide additional fire power off the bench. Mills in particular has emerged as an “instant offense guy” off the bench and can put up points quickly.

Closing Season Thoughts:
Since the outcome of tonight’s game doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, I’m going to take this opportunity to summarize some themes from this season.

Injuries: It cannot be overstated how devastating injuries have been for the Lakers this year. They used 35 different starting lineups this season and players have missed over 240 games cumulatively due to injuries. No other team was as injured as the Lakers this year. Most casual NBA fans would not even recognize the Lakers starting roster without Kobe, Gasol and Nash. There’s no doubt that the Lakers medical staff had their hands full this season.

Defense: This Lakers team doesn’t have any regard for defense which is a large contributor to the worst Lakers season in team history. The team’s defensive rating (108.1) is among the bottom three in the league right there with the Bucks and the Jazz. Defensive rating measures the number of points a team allows per 100 possessions. For comparison the Spurs 100.0 defensive rating is fourth best in the NBA. Clearly a culture change will be required soon if the Lakers plan to be good any time in the near future.

Rebounding: The Lakers have the worst rebounding differential in league at -8.1 and it’s not even close. On Sunday the Lakers were out-rebounded by 20 boards by the Grizzlies and that wasn’t the first time the team has been out-rebounded by such a large margin. Not surprisingly the Lakers lead the league in second chance points allowed with 15.9 points per game. They lead the league in this negative stat by a large margin. Clearly poor rebounding has negatively affected this Lakers squad.

Los Angeles Lakers (26-55) at San Antonio Spurs (62-19)
6:00 PM PST, April 16, 2014
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
TV: TWC SN
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Spurs Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Cory Joseph
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Boris Diaw

Key Reserves: SG: Manu Ginobili, PG: Patty Mills, SG: Marco Belinelli, C: Tiago Splitter

Lakers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Kendall Marshall
SG: Jodie Meeks
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Ryan Kelly
C: Jordan Hill

_________________________________________________________________________________
Pau Gasol Receives Standing Ovation In Final Lakers Home Game


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About The Author

Kevin is currently an editor for Lakers Nation. Kevin works and resides in Manhattan, New York. Follow Kevin on Twitter @Kevin_Cruiser.

Number of Entries : 112
  • A Fan

    PG – Exum/Farmar/Marshall
    SG – Bryant/Meeks/Bazemore
    SF – Ariza/Young/Henry
    PF – Monroe/Hill/Kelly
    C – Gasol/Sacre

    • truth24

      ………….

  • 3339

    hopefully this is the last time we have to watch dantoni coach the team.

  • comrade24

    Just a thought, but if the Lakers really want Joel Embiid, they should just hope that Orlando drafts him.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Now lest see if the Lakers can win a game that actually is against a contender on their home floor.I challenge the Lakers to win.And how about this for incentive if the Lakers win Mike D’Antoni can leave LA on a high note and the rest of the guys that are free agent can up their worth in free agency by leaving a lasting impression during tonight’s season finale.Beat the Spurs come show us that win against the tanking Utah Jazz was no fluke.Come on Swaggy P Nick Young drop 41 points on Leonard tonight.Win this game or else D’Antoni and the crew will have left a losing season end on a losing note and they should all just go away and we will find winners to join the Lakers next season.Prove you can win guys.Go Lakers Go!

    • hookedonnews

      The Spurs and the Jazz are not in the same basketball universe. I want the Lakers to win as much as anyone, but I’m a realist. It’s unlikely that this team can beat the Spurs with this lineup. I don’t think you’re going to have that many new players in the lineup next season either. Hopefully they will be able to stay healthy, and a healthy Kobe and relatively healthy Nash should make a difference. That being said, Go Lakers!

  • Ralph

    Lakers 2014-2015 Coach Dave Fizdale Miami Assistant And LA Native.LBJ Friend.

    PG Dante Exum/Lance Stephenson/Kendall Marshall
    SG Kobe Bryant/Lance Stephenson/Kent Bazemore
    SF LeBron James/Lance Stephenson/Xavier Henry
    PF Udonis Haslem/Ryan Kelly/Jordan Hill
    C Jordan Hill/Emeka Okafor/Robert Sacre

    • PimpSav

      your a complete fucking moron

  • Poob

    Lakers trade the draft pick and Steve Nash to get Kevin Love.Sign Carmelo Anthony.

    Lakers Reloaded 2014-2015 All in to win Kobe ring #6.

    PG Mario Chalmers,Kendall Marshall,Jordan Farmar
    SG Kobe Bryant,Jodie Meeks
    SF Carmelo Anthony,Kent Bazemore,Xavier Henry
    PF Kevin Love,Ryan Kelly
    C Jordan Hill,Robert Sacre

    • hookedonnews

      Mario Chalmers? Carmelo is not coming to LA. And where is the defensive presence in the paint? Unlikely to get a ring without one.

  • Poob

    How many Mike D’Antoni ass huggers and apologists are left slurping on MDA????

  • Calipari Is Scary

    Reply if you are a Mike D’Antoni lover and ass hugger.3,2,1 they will reply?

  • hookedonnews

    The team doesn’t have any regard for defense? What exactly does that mean? If by that you mean that there is no emphasis on defense, or that they don’t work on defense, that is clearly not the case. I have seen 290 games lost due to injury in other articles. Whichever figure is correct, it is clear that you’re not going to have an effective defense when you don’t have a stable line-up and few good defensive players. Defensive consistency is built over time. Not a lot of great rebounders (other than Hill) on this team either. Add Anthony Davis and the defense and rebounding will automatically improve.

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