Spurs 112, Lakers 91: One Good Outlier Deserves Another

April 17, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers small forward Matt Barnes (9) controls the ball against the defense of San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Stephen Jackson (3) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Last week, the Los Angeles Lakers went into San Antonio and destroyed the Spurs on their home floor. Along the way, the Lakers were benefactors of quite a few weird circumstances: the poor play of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, the bizarre rebounding dominance of Andrew Bynum and the rest of the Lakers, and a superb outing from Metta World Peace were all interesting developments from an unexpected night. Tonight, the Spurs returned the favor, with a helping hand from a moribund Lakers effort and a squad that couldn't wait to trip all over itself.

Tony Parker was every bit as excellent tonight as he was terrible in the last game. Shooting 70% from the floor, Parker feasted on the steady diet of outside jump shots the Lakers were all too willing to give him. Parker scored 29 points and could have gone for 40+ if the Lakers didn't give Popovich the luxury of playing his horse just 30 minutes on the night. Tim Duncan also had a vintage evening, scoring 19 points on 9-14 shooting and outplaying Andrew Bynum straight up. And the rest of the Spurs did what the rest of the Spurs are capable of doing, shooting the ball extremely well and winning all of the hustle plays on a night when the Lakers energy just wasn't good enough.

The Lakers actually shot nearly 50% from the floor, but their defense was atrocious. Tonight, the Spurs picked up just six offensive rebounds, which is more than the one they managed in the last contest, but this time, it was due to a significant lack of opportunities. The Spurs shot 60% from the floor, en route to a superb 1.19 points per possession. The contest was effectively ended in the 2nd quarter, in which the Spurs went on an 18-0 run as the Lakers turned the ball over on 5 straight possessions trying and failing to feed Andrew Bynum in the post. The Lakers 19 turnovers overall pretty much guaranteed that a hot shooting Spurs unit would have a comfortable victory.

Tonight was rough for the Lakers, and for us, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't expected. The Spurs came out ready to play and vindicate the previous contest, and enough shitty things happened to the purple and gold as to ensure the result. This says no more about the state of these two teams heading into the postseason than the previous contest did; while tonight lacked the truly flukey results like MWP going for 30 points and Andrew Bynum going for 30 boards, the true outlier tonight was in the sum of the Spurs efforts vs. that of the Lakers. Every Spur played pretty well, and no Laker played well, except maybe Devin Ebanks. After two Spurs-Lakers contests in one week, we are no closer to knowing anything about the two teams in comparison to each other.

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