Season 51, Game 43
San Antonio 81, Los Angeles Lakers 93
28-15, 3rd in the West

Lost, desperate, and panicked are usually the last three words you’d use to describe a Gregg Popovich-coached basketball team. But last night in Los Angeles, those are the only three words that described his short-handed Spurs.

San Antonio – missing its perennial MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, as well as Danny Green, Rudy Gay, and Tony Parker – was completely out of sync for large stretches of the game. Miscues led to bad passes, turnovers, and easy fast-break points for the opportunistic Lakers. The Spurs constantly found themselves with double-digit deficits, and while they briefly took the lead in the third quarter, San Antonio dug itself right back into a hole, losing 81-93.

There were bright spots, to be sure. Bryn Forbes scored 18 points and went 4-7 from three. Dejounte Murray picked up another start and picked up a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. And LaMarcus Aldridge, the man who demanded a trade last summer, did his best to keep his team alive with a team-high 20 points.

On the other hand, veteran players Pau Gasol and Patty Mills combined for six turnovers and some extremely questionable passing decisions. Mills was a dreadful 0-5 shooting, and four of those shots were three-pointers. Davis Bertans, who scored 28 points against the Kings earlier in the week, was completely ineffective in his 17 minutes during which he committed three fouls and gave the ball away three times.

Normally I’d chalk this up to just a bad game on a night where four regulars weren’t available, but the abundant miscues in the passing game and obvious lack of confidence from the bench is more of a theme than an aberration. The bench, long considered one of San Antonio’s greatest assets, scored 14 points on 4-16 shooting last night. They aren’t playing cohesive, team basketball.

Maybe the Spurs get healthy and none of this matters come April, but you have to think the bench unit needs to learn how to play together if this team is going to be playing into mid-May.

Extra thoughts:

  • The tagalog word for “pitiful” is kawawa. Until Leonard is fully healthy, I move that we refer to him as Kawawa Leonard, because the poor guy looks so bored and miserable on the bench. It really hurts to watch.
  • Derrick White was a perfect 1-1 on the night, so why Pop only played him for seven minutes remains a mystery to me.
  • Kyle Anderson showed some quick hands on defense today, notching one steal and interfering with another pass or two. I move that we refer to him as Kyle “The Klaw” Anderson until further notice.

San Antonio is back in action at home on Saturday against the Nuggets. That game tips off at 7:30 CT.

Go Spurs Go.

Image Credit: Jae C. Hong, Associated Press