Lakers let one slip away against Duncan-less Spurs
NOV 01, 2013 11:18p ET
All signs pointed toward a Lakers' win.
The signs were wrong.
Tony Parker hit an 18-foot jumper -- two of his 24 points -- and the Spurs never looked back, handing the Lakers a 91-85 defeat. After a promising opening night win over the Clippers, without Kobe Bryant who is still recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, the Lakers (1-2) have dropped two in a row.
The 2-0 Spurs, who came within moments of winning the NBA title last season against Miami, once again showed that they're one of the savviest teams in the league.
The San Antonio style may be boring, but it's extremely effective -- even without Duncan.
"We do what we do," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, "and we didn't do anything different (tonight). We ran what we always run, whether (Duncan) is there or not. If Tony was out, if Manu (Ginobili) was out, we run the same stuff.
"We only know one way to play and that's what we do."
The Lakers are a team still trying to find its best style of play, and perform consistently game after game. So far it hasn't happened and it cost the Lakers a winnable game Friday night.
"We definitely let this one get away from us," said Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. "It was set up for us without Duncan (playing), but we just didn't do it. (We) need to start defending our home (court), then learn to win on the road."
A look at Tuesday's opening night win over the Clippers might give them an idea how to do that. They were sharp, moved the ball where they wanted it to go and ended up with a surprise victory over the team many feel will bust through and represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
Wednesday night's blowout loss against the Warriors in the Bay Area could be expected with Nash sitting out the second game of many back-to-back games this season.
But Friday was inexcusable, especially with Duncan sitting out.
"Definitely, it was a winnable game," said Steve Nash, who scored just five points against the Spurs. "That's why it was frustrating. It was just one of those nights where I felt like my shot was good, but they just wouldn't go in. We've just got to play better and do what we have to do to win."
The Lakers' next chance comes at Sunday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks. Which Laker team will show up? The one that looked great on Tuesday against the Clips or the team that showed up for the last two losses.
"We just haven't played with as much energy as we did against the Clippers," said Lakers' guard Jordan Farmar.
"That’s got to change."