San Antonio Spurs Expose L.A. Lakers’ Weak Downtown Defense

December 29th, 2010 by Robert Kleeman Leave a reply »
Gary Neal rose from the left wing, his feet synchronized, and buried a three-pointer that prompted a perplexed and furious Phil Jackson to call a timeout to stop the second-half bleeding.

He often lets his players coach themselves out of deficits. This time, he had seen enough to know the Lakers were heading south in the fourth quarter faster than an 18-wheeler from Mexico up Interstate-35.

Jackson summoned Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with more than nine minutes left. Gregg Popovich stuck with Neal and Dejuan Blair. Tim Duncan remained seated for the next three minutes alongside the game's leading scorer Tony Parker.

Duncan managed just two points, tying his career-worst outing. Manu Ginobili labored through a 3-of-12 night. The Spurs still vanquished the Lakers 97-82 with suffocating defense and an overdose of the NBA's shortest starting center. Blair, famous for not having any ACLs, brought the towering L.A. frontline to its knees with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

George Hill blocked two shots and swiped two errant passes. He barked back at Bryant in a must-see-TV second-quarter tussle. He also grabbed nine ...

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