The Los Angeles Lakers will look to bounce back from a Game 1 defeat tonight when they face the San Antonio Spurs once more in Texas before heading home to California. If they can play defense like Game 1 and just make a couple more shots, the series will be tied at 1-1 as the purple and gold fly back to L.A. – simple, right?
HIT YOUR SHOTS
In Game 1, Steve Nash missed a number of shot that he’d usually make. Other guys missed too, but Nash is the guy that really sticks out. If he can hit those little pull-ups tonight, the Lakers will be in much better shape.
Pau Gasol missed a bunch of mid-range shots too, but I’d rather not see him get those looks in Game 2: while Pau is a good shooter for his size, you don’t want him sat outside shooting all game long like he was earlier in the year – this was when he was playing poorly. He was playing his best when he was getting in the low post to make a move, or when he was in the high post where he was setting other guys up.
POST. POST. POST.
In the words of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have to “Post. Post. Post.” – that’s what they did well after Bryant went down, so why should that change now? The San Antonio frontline is thin as we pointed out in the Game 1 preview, so the Lakers have to take advantage of that.
Of course, when you have a guy like Nash on the floor, you have to use him in the pick-and-roll – maybe just not every time down, though; especially if the play isn’t turning into points on a regular basis.
MAN-UP ON MANU
A big reason the Spurs won on Sunday was down to Manu Ginobili, who came off the bench to put up 18 points in 19 minutes. He also dished out 3 assists and stole the ball twice in that span. Ginobili really gave San Antonio the spark off the pine that they needed. The Lakers need to try and limit his production as much as possible tonight. How about putting Metta World Peace on Manu to make the game more physical for him? Or D’Antoni could try using the speedy Darius Morris to keep up with the Argentinean?
Either way, Manu was a huge problem last game, and he’ll need to be slowed if the Lakers want a chance of winning in Game 2.
SECOND CHANCE POINTS
This was a key point in the Game 1 preview, too: the Lakers need to grab offensive rebounds and score second chance points in the playoffs, especially if they’re shooting the ball poorly. In Game 1, Pau had just one offensive rebound and Dwight had zero. That has to chance this evening.
TAKE CARE OF THE BALL
Finally, the Lakers simply need to take better care of the ball tonight: they turned it over 18 times in Game 1, which resulted in 14 points for the Spurs. The main culprits were the Lakers’ star big men, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, who combined for 10 turnovers on Sunday afternoon.
Metta World Peace
The game starts at 6:30 pm PST and will be televised on TNT and TWC SportsNet.