It's hard to follow through on things like this, but we should try and be above reading things into a game such as this one.
San Antonio handed it to the Lakers in Texas a little while ago, and they do have the best record in the NBA for a reason. But we've seen too many blowouts between teams that shouldn't be blowing each other out to comment ably, and one-point games like this particular Spurs win? All this tells us is that each team is very, very good.
Los Angeles could have done better, especially at home. It clearly had an advantage on the interior, with Andrew Bynum(notes) and Pau Gasol(notes), and the ball didn't move enough in the third and fourth quarters. But even though Kobe Bryant(notes) shot 1-5 in the fourth quarter, he wasn't all that off. He managed three assists, with one expert pass not counting even as it sent Gasol to the line for two free throws late. And two of his looks were smart shots -- a nice turnaround jumper on the left block, and a runner in the lane. So, essentially, he had his hands on nine points (one of the assists was for a three-pointer, to Lamar Odom(notes)), and was a few inches away from making it a 3-5 run from the floor.
San Antonio just hung in, and barely tipped in a winner at the buzzer. It doesn't take away from that team's greatness, nor does it detract from Los Angeles' attempt at a repeat (the Lakers weren't catching the Spurs in the standings, anyway). It was ugly, at times, with both teams right at 100 points per 100 possessions, but anyone complaining about a game like this should have to turn their sneakers in before leaving the living room.
This game wasn't as close as the four-point deficit would have you believe. We're well aware of that. But this was still a four-point game, Orlando was still without Brandon Bass(notes), and even if Dwyane Wade(notes) played "only" 34 minutes, Orlando still should have probably had this.
Shots were contested at times, I submit, but the Heat weren't shaking Anderson (3-10 from the floor, two free throw attempts that spun out) or J.J. Redick(notes) (1-8 shooting) or Earl Clark(notes) (1-5) or Gilbert Arenas(notes) (3-9) in their boots. I can pretend to be a tough guy, here, and call these guys out on the carpet. Question their ability to put it together in a big game, or act as if I know that they'll never turn around. But I'd be a moron for doing as much. Shots didn't fall. I can't reasonably expect them not to, next time.
Dwight Howard(notes) still has to try and attempt to make Magic fans feel better about his free throws, and there is no way around that. He hit 12-16 on Saturday night, good on the guy, but he's also at 57.7 percent (a career-low) on the season. He also played 48 minutes out of a -- let me check -- 48 minute game, which probably isn't the best thing moving forward.
This game resembled a puddle of sick with cheese on the top of it, at times, but it was also a competitive back-and-forth throughout, so I probably shouldn't complain. I'm actually going to run the fourth quarter back on the internets today, provided I haz internets, and I'm looking forward to it.
105 points per 100 possessions for Milwaukee in this loss, and this was against the Warriors. The Bucks blew tons of transition opportunities, and a healthy chunk of shots around the basket on its way to 94 points in what was a pretty un-Warriors-like (89 possessions) game. Carlos Delfino(notes) broke plays and took last-second shots with 10 seconds left on the shot clock. Ersan Ilyasova(notes) managed 23 points on 20 shots in the loss (with 13 rebounds), but Brandon Jennings(notes) missed five of six shots (shooting 38 percent on the season, now), and the Bucks bench missed 12 of 17 looks.
The Warriors weren't at their best, but they did quite well to overcome a sticky Milwaukee defense in the conquest. 13 points on six shots for Reggie Williams(notes) (and he took a couple of crazy looks), and though the backcourt of Stephen Curry(notes) and Monta Ellis(notes) turned the ball over 11 times, it also scored 40 points on 33 shots. Not the greatest mark, but against Milwaukee? Pretty good.
Vlad Rad, also. Vlad Rad.