Spurs Fall to Kobeless Lakers
The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the NBA’s power houses over the last 10+ years, but their star has really begun to fade this season. Last night they blew a perfect opportunity to pick up a game in the Western Conference, as the Lakers were without both Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum. Instead of picking up a game, the Spurs lost 101-89, falling to 29-21 for the season and tying them for 6th place in the Western Conference.
Last night was a disappointing loss as the Spurs came out of the gate on fire and had a 6 point lead at the end of the 1st quarter. While it went down hill from there, they were only down by 3 at halftime and just 5 points heading into the 4th quarter. The 4th quarter is where the Spurs should have won the game. They were the deeper team with the injuries to the Lakers stars, but instead played their worst basketball of the night. What was most disappointing was how the Spurs lost, allowing 5 Lakers in double figures and getting out rebounded. With no Kobe or Bynum the Spurs should have been able to defend the Lakers better, and there is no excuse to get out rebounded when the Lakers were without their only true center. Last night’s disappointing loss was another in a long line of tough losses to teams San Antonio should have beaten.
As shocking as it may be, it is quite possible that the Spurs could miss the playoffs this year. Portland, Houston, Memphis and New Orleans are all right there fighting for the ‘final’ playoff spot, but its just as likely that two of those teams get in and the Spurs end up watching the playoffs from home. There might be 30 games remaining in the season, but the Spurs haven’t shown they are better than any of these teams, and have struggled mightily against the top teams in the West. In fact the Spurs are just .500 (16-16) against the West, compared to 13-5 against the East.
Now I know people will say they are only 2.5 games out of first in their division, so its premature to write their eulogy, but if you look at the numbers the concern should be there. The Spurs are 19-10 at home but just 10-11 on the road. Of their remaining 32 games, 20 of them are on the road. Also of those remaining 32 games, only 12 of them are against the Eastern Conference. And it could be hard for the Spurs to maintain their dominance of the Eastern Conference, since 6 of those games are against the Cavs (2), Magic (2), Celtics, and Hawks (4 of which are away as well).
Overall I hope I’m wrong and the Spurs can defy the odds and make the playoffs (and do some damage when they are there) as I like the team and respect the way they play the game. But I think some changes need to be made, either through a trade or shaking up the lineup some, because right now this team can’t compete any longer with the top teams in the league.