Archive for April 13th, 2011
Winning is everything. At least that’s the story that they want to sell us when we get so excited watching our favorite teams compete. And although it is true, that on some instances the scenario is win or go home (the NCAA tourney, the NFL postseason, etc.) sometimes you could take a lose or two just for the sake of continuity and to play it safe. The Lakers were able to break a streak of 5 losing games but at doing so they not only defeated the San Antonio Spurs 102-93, but they also paid a very high cost for that win. Andrew Bynum, the 23-year-old center injured his rickety right knee and could easily be out for a couple games.
On the previous two entries we were covering both the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks decision to sit down their starters on the last games of the postseason. Yes, on the one side, that meant that the Celtics gave up the No. 2 seed on the East to the Miami Heat, which would happen to play all of its star filled rooster to barely outplay the Atlanta Hawks bench.
Yes, there is an upside and a downside to every decision one makes. On the one side, the Hawks have rested its star players but that hasn’t kept the Hawks from loosing its 5th straight game and although they have a healthy rooster, it’s not the most motivational season finale ever. They have certainly got to not only feel rested but extremely motivated if they want to make it pass the Orlando Magic in the first round. Let’s not forget that the Magic dismissed the Hawks in 4 straight games exactly on year ago, during the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs first round.
Now, The LA Lakers, had to win this next games if they wanted to secure the No. 2 seed. We are certainly not second guessing Phil Jackson’s decision to play all of his starters against the San Antonio Spurs. But considering that the Lakers had already secured a spot on the Playoffs and that, on the other hand, Gregg Popovich had rested all of his starters, perhaps it wouldn’t have hurt to play it safe and sit down Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and yes, one Andrew Bynum.
The Lakers were guided once again by Kobe Bryant who scored 27 points but got into foul trouble early in the game. Lamar Odom scored 23 points as the Lakers struggled to hold off the Spurs backup players. Popovich rested stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker and let them watch the game with their civilian cloths on. He had no reason to risk it: the Spurs had the Western Conference’s top seed already secured.
For the Lakers, Spaniard Pau Gasol had 17 points and 17 rebounds, showing once again that he could be a decisive force down the stretch. With this win, the Lakers have almost secured the No. 2 seed in the West. All they need is either a win at Sacramento or a loss by the Dallas Mavericks.
Gary Neal scored 16 points and Matt Bonner had 13 for the Spurs. Yes it is not a good sensation, to close the regular season with a losing streak, but heck, motivational wise, it was certainly a booster to see that for a moment there, the Spurs backup players were really giving the two-time defending champions a very hard time.