By Jason Wojciechowski on May 22, 2008 at 3:19 AM
Despite the Lakers scoring just 43 in the first half, the problem is their defense, not their offense. The offense relies for its scoring on a certain number of runouts and, even when it's a five-on-five situation, defensive mismatches occurring from pushing the ball up quickly. In order to do that, though, L.A. has to do two things: get stops and get rebounds. The Spurs have been getting on the offensive board pretty successfully: a few were luck, but a few were bad rebounding by L.A. More importantly, though, L.A. hasn't bumped San Antonio off of its sets, its cuts, its shots, its passes. The Spurs are getting everywhere they want to get on the floor and thus getting the shots they want. Tim Duncan is on his game, as Pau Gasol can't bother his shot. Ronny Turiaf did a nice job, even blocking one of his shots straight-up (though Duncan recovered and hit a shot seconds later), but he can't play Duncan all the time. Pau has to do a better job, because the Lakers can't go to a double. The one thing that didn't happen was a number of Spurs threes. That said, that only wasn't happening because San Antonio was getting everything it wanted in the post and the midrange game. This has to stop in the second half if the Lakers want to climb out of this hole. Further, climbing out of the hole is necessary because if the Lakers lose this game, I think the prediction becomes Spurs in six.