Pop Praises Nemesis

D. R. PedrazaCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2009

The San Antonio Spurs have again proved that age is just a number. In one heck of a great game against the Los Angeles Lakers last night, the Spurs prevailed as journeyman Roger Mason hit the game winning shot with 10 seconds left. 

In a reversal of fortune, Derek Fischer fouled Mason who calmly sank the free throw. Kobe had the ball on the next possession but was doubled.  Kobe, in one of his few mistakes of the game, passed out to Ariza who then traveled on the way to the bucket, sealing the Spurs’ the victory.

Pop had nothing but praise for his teams’ biggest rival.  “I think they are just jelling as a group, continuing to get better and better as a group," Popovich said. "Offensively, they know each other very well. Defensively, that's always the toughest part, getting everybody to commit defensively. And I think as the year continues, that's their emphasis obviously. They'll become more and more consistent in that area, because everybody is on them about it all the time."

This was a feel-out game for sure as the Lakers and Spurs are sure to meet up in the rough and tough Western Conference playoffs and even as Pop spoke of his nemesis’ team jelling, he knows his own Spurs are doing the exact same thing.

Duncan had a great game (20 pts, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and a steal in 38 minutes) as did league darling Kobe who turned in Kobe-like numbers (29 pts, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in 41 minutes). 

As the Spurs prepare for their annual Rodeo Road Trip, the team's true mettle will begin to show and we will see which Spurs show up in the playoffs.

From this writer’s perspective, you can never count out a tightly run organization like the Spurs, so look for Tim Duncan (who is having a monster season) and friends to come out looking to take what the Lakers think they deserve.