I had a huge blog written out and my computer froze me up thus I lost it all I can't even believe this so bare with me as I try to write this slightly less in depth version I'm so ticked right now!!!!!!!
The Lakers defeat the Spurs in 5 games as this series proved to still be entertaining as the Lakers passed what many doubters believed to be there first true test of the post season.
Game 1- This game saw the Spurs come out and dominate the Lakers for 2 and a half quarters as the Spurs ran there way all the way to a 20 point lead with just under 6 minutes to go in the third. This prompted many Lakers fans including myself to be very mad and even caused several of us to stop watching including myself who left for a whole 5-10 minutes before I just had to come back and hang in with my Lakers. The Lakers wouldn't let us down on this night as they came storming back to win by a score of 89-85 they where led by Kobe Bryant who scored 25 of his 27 points in the second half and proved once again to the world why he is the best player in this league and why he is the MVP. Pau Gasol had his best game of the series with 19 points and 7 rebounds. As the Lakers prove they could win games when the score is under 100 much less 90.
Game 2- This game was interesting in the first half as even though the Lakers seemed to be dominate the Spurs had us in a tie with the first half nearing an end however the Lakers ended the half with an impressive run that took us to a 9 point led at the half. In the second half it was all Lakers as we saw the bench's clear and the Lakers run to a 101-71 romp of the Spurs. We saw the official return of Jordan Farmar as he scored 14 big points. Trevor Ariza made his long awaited return from injury and nailed the first shot he took. Kobe was Kobe scoring 22 points, grabbing 5 boards, and dishing out 5 assists.
Game 3- Game 3 saw the return of Manu Ginobili for the Spurs as he showed where Manu goes the Spurs go. He scored 30 points and led the way to the Spurs romp of the Lakers after the first quarter. Tim Duncan had 22 and Tony Parker 20 to help propel the Spurs to a 103-84 romp of the Lakers. The Spurs hit some ridiculous 3's that helped along the way as they shot hot and played there best game of the series. The Lakers got 30 points from Bryant and 15 from Gasol.
Game 4- Perhaps the game of the series the Lakers came out and rolled to a 22-8 lead however the Spurs had cut that lead down to 5 by the end of the first. The Lakers and Spurs then played about as even basketball as can be as the Lakers only outscored the Spurs by 1 point in each of the next two quarters to take a 7 point lead into the fourth. The fourth quarter featured two teams that could not really find the bucket for much of the quarter but then the Lakers got a spark as Lamar and Kobe led the Lakers to a 93-86 lead with just under a minute to go and Gasol at the line shooting free throws however Gasol would miss both and the Spurs would go down and Manu Ginobili hit a 3 to cut the lead to 4 in what would be 3 of Manu's 7 points only.
On the next Laker possession Kobe made a rookie like mistake taking the ball and driving it all the way down to the hoop and shooting a layup early in the shot clock the shot would be missed and the Spurs got the ball to Tony Parker who was able to get out in transition and put up a layup that would eventually be called a goal tend by Lamar Odom. This left the Lakers only up by 2 with some 30 seconds left. The Lakers took the ball down court and ran the shot clock down eventually giving way to a Derek Fisher 3 that missed but hit of Robert Horry's leg and went out of bounds keeping the ball in Lakers hands. However the officials despite the replays showing the ball had hit the rim on Fishers shot never reset the shot clock so this left the Lakers with 2 second shot clock and 5 some seconds left in the game. Kobe Bryant took the inbounds pass and threw up a fade away jump shot that would miss the Spurs would get the timeout and advance the ball setting up a potential game winning shot.
The Spurs inbounded it to Brent Barry who pump faked Fisher into the air however instead of going up and drawing contact Barry tried to drive around Fisher he was then forced to throw up a miracle shot that was way off sealing a 93-91 win for the Lakers. This would draw controversy however Charles Barkley put it best on inside the NBA after the game Barry did not sell the foul as in he should of gone up and got contact which would have rewarded him free throws for sure instead of trying to go around Fisher. Plus Brent Barry may have traveled and when you consider calls where in the Spurs favor most of the game everything pretty much evened out despite something that may or may not have been a bad call. The Lakers hang on take a 3-1 series lead led by Kobe Bryant with 28 and Lamar Odom with 16.
Game 5- Was very much like game 1 the Spurs came out and took a big lead as they had as much as a 17 point lead at 33-16 early in the second quarter. However much like game 1 the Lakers came storming back this time much earlier as the Lakers cut the lead to 6 by the half giving myself a very good feeling that we would win. The Lakers played an excellent third quarter which was capped by a Vladimir Radmanovich 3 that gave the Lakers a slim 1 point lead heading into the fourth. Kobe Bryant came right out in the fourth nailing a 3 that would set the tone for the Lakers. Jordan Farmar made an incredible reverse layup that turned out to be one of my favorite shots of the series to help the Lakers pull away. The Spurs wouldn't quite die but Kobe Bryant proved to be too much hitting some big shots down the stretch and the Lakers hit some key free throws as they where able to finish of the Spurs at home with a big time 100-92 win. Kobe Bryant had 39 points and Pau Gasol had a career high 19 rebounds.
Biggest surprise of the series
Return of the bench officially especially at home. The bench was so key and helped spark the Lakers main guys in many instances in this series. They where led by the return of Jordan Farmar who came up huge in this series hitting several key shots. Also Sasha Vujacic played some solid defense on Manu Ginobili for the most part.
Biggest disappointment of this series
Pau Gasol he was just not good on the defensive end as he shows why we miss Bynum. Duncan was able to pretty much get whatever he wanted on the offensive end of his game. Pau Gasol was not very good offensively either as he only averaged 13.2 points in the series which is unacceptable. As he missed many easy shots and just was not very aggressive to the basket. A close second could be D Fish who really struggled offensively however he did do a pretty solid job on the defense of Parker I thought.
Areas that need improvement
The Bench- They came back in a big way this series but there is always room for improvement especially on the road where they are still having struggles. We will need more from them on the road in the finals against Boston.
Pau and Fisher- We need more from these two they are both so key to our success see above for more comments on them.
This was such a great series as the Lakers just showed me even more. I was so impressed with there play and there big comebacks which where so impressive. Kobe Bryant amazed me once again as he just put on a show in this series a show that many compare to MJ now. Kobe may just be on the fast track to being better then Micheal Jordan and that is just amazing. I'm so dang proud of this team what a season it has been as the dynasty torch was hopefully passed in this series. The Lakers showed how there youth and talent was far better then the Spurs old, tired, and streaky offense. On to the Finals it is as we get the dream matchup of Lakers v Celtics please stay tuned for my Finals preview blog coming up very soon but for now feel free to leave comments on this one.