San Antonio Spurs vs. LA Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis
The San Antonio Spurs have yet to run into a speed bump in their series against the Los Angeles Lakers. They ran away with Game 3 on Friday night, 120-89.
Not even a rowdy Staples Center crowd could slow the Spurs, as they returned to Los Angeles to take a 3-0 series lead.
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker had the offense humming to perfection, combining to score 46 points. There wasn't a player on the Spurs roster that played and didn't score.
Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol both had solid games, but it appears there is nothing the Lakers can do at this point to even come close to the Spurs.
Sunday's Game 4 will be Los Angeles' last chance to prove something this season. If they don't, they'll have some major decisions to make this summer.
Let's hit the Bleacher Report classroom to see how everyone graded out in the Spurs' Game 3 blowout win.
Tony Parker, SAS PG: A
Parker was banged up in the first half, but he came out smelling like roses with 10 points.
He was able to get into the lane, and once he does that, there is nobody better in the league at getting quality shots off at the rim.
While his defense left a bit to be desired, Parker had his way with the Lakers backcourt. He finished the game 9-of-14 from the field for 20 points and seven assists.
Parker and Tim Duncan had the pick-and-roll working to perfection, and the Lakers have yet to figure out how to stop it in three games. Look for more of the same in Game 4.
Andrew Goudelock, LAL PG: B+
Andrew Goudelock received the NBA D-League MVP award prior to Game 3. He had a fantastic season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and fully earned his spot on the Los Angeles Lakers.
He didn't take the starting spot for granted and came out with a fearless first half of 14 points. He finished with 20 points, making some nice shots.
If he is able to back up this performance in Game 4, it will give a lot of teams something to think about over the offseason.
Darius Morris, LAL SG: A-
Darius Morris performed surprising well for the Lakers in a starting role.
Unfortunately he was just getting into a rhythm when foul trouble struck early in the first half. After that it was difficult for him to pick his spots and fit in with the Lakers offense.
Once the game got out of reach, Morris was familiar with the scenario and went off in the final quarters. He finished with an impressive 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting, to go along with six assists.
Danny Green, SAS SG: B-
Danny Green was one of the stars of garbage time for the Spurs.
Despite seeing only limited meaningful minutes, Green finished with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists. He had himself a nice little game for San Antonio.
Metta World Peace, LAL SF: F
Yikes, was this ever a game to forget for Metta World Peace.
He had such a rough start to the game, Mike D'Antoni essentially abandoned him for the rest of the game.
In 17 minutes, World Peace did not score or grab a single rebound.
Kawhi Leonard, SAS SF: B
Kawhi Leonard had a very streaky game.
He went through a couple spurts of fantastically athletic offense, and then wasn't heard from for equal stretches.
When his teammates have offensive outings like they did, Leonard needn't do much more than this. He finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
As long as his defense is full of effort, as it was, he is helping the Spurs win. Since Metta World Peace and Earl Clark were a combined 2-of-15, Leonard's defense was clearly effective.
Pau Gasol, LAL PF: B+
Gasol's chemistry with Dwight Howard was on full display, as he found the Lakers' center for some nice assists on the way to a triple-double.
Things grew increasingly frustrating for Gasol and the Lakers' frontcourt, though, as there appeared to be no way to stop Tim Duncan.
Gasol was also unable to really get himself going offensively. The Spurs defense really keyed on him at the point of attack, forcing him to pass out of situations more often than not.
All in all, Gasol was outstanding...if you ignore the fact that the Lakers need him to score. He finished with just 11 points and got to the line just once.
It was a triple-double, but possibly the most meaningless triple-double in history. He grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 10 assists.
Tim Duncan, SAS PF: A+
Tim Duncan was unstoppable. There is no other word for it.
His shot chart is fantastic to look at, as he was hitting shots from all over the floor. He finished 8-of-9 from mid-range, and 12-of-16 overall. Duncan went for 26 points and nine boards. He was simply relentless for the Spurs in Game 3.
He was absolutely on fire, hitting on 10-of-11 to start, and racking up the first six Spurs points of the second half. That pushed the game to a point the Lakers could not come back from.
It is pretty cool that Duncan can still put up close to career nights like this at this age—he turned 37 on Thursday.
Dwight Howard, LAL C: A-
Dwight Howard really responded to the home crowd early on, but frustrations built throughout the game.
Tim Duncan was unstoppable offensively, and the Spurs seemed to have an endless supply of bigs to hack away at Howard. He got into foul trouble early and stayed that way throughout, earning a technical in the third quarter.
Despite the frustrations, Howard did what Los Angeles needed. He was aggressive in looking for his own shot, going 9-of-16 and getting to the line 15 times. He scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but he missed eight free throws in the process.
Overall a solid game from Howard, but it's hard to overlook the final score when you are the best player on a team that gets blown out.
Tiago Splitter, SAS C: C+
It was a relatively light night for Tiago Splitter in the early going.
He appeared set to see some extended minutes in the fourth quarter but took a bad fall at the end of the third. He didn't return after what appeared to be a sprained ankle.
Splitter went to the locker room with five points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Manu Ginobili, SAS SG: B
Ginobili may be the best backup point guard in the postseason right now. His ability to run the second unit's offense is unparalleled.
In just 20 minutes, he had a fairly profound impact on the game. Ginobili had six points, three assists and three steals. As the sixth man on San Antonio, he has to do just enough for the team to win.
Some nights that will call for a lot of points and perimeter shooting, like Game 2, while others will call for game management, like Game 3. Either way, Ginobili is the guy they want out there.
Earl Clark, LAL SF: D
Subbing in for the likes of Metta World Peace, the Los Angeles Lakers really need a guy who can play the offensive end.
Never was that more apparent than in Game 3 of this series. World Peace was having an atrocious offensive night, so Mike D'Antoni was forced to look to Earl Clark on the bench. Unfortunately Clark is more like World Peace than an offensive spark plug.
Clark finished 2-of-9 for just four points and three turnovers.
San Antonio Spurs Bench: A
Pick a name, any name. The entire roster of the San Antonio Spurs scored in Game 3.
In the blowout win, San Antonio was able to get 13 players minutes, and all of them baskets. The bench unit was led by DeJuan Blair, who put up 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting, while grabbing seven rebounds in just 14 minutes.
Corey Joseph added eight points and Gary Neal had seven. Matt Bonner saw a lot of minutes again, adding defensive pressure to Dwight Howard and netting a pair of treys.
Los Angeles Lakers Bench: F
The short Lakers bench got even shorter in Game 3. Both starting guards from Game 2 were out, sucking up two more reserves to the starting unit.
That left very little talent on the pine for Los Angeles.
Antawn Jamison continues to be relied upon for interior offense off the bench, but other than a nice post move early in the first half, his production was nonexistent.
After Darius Morris got into some foul trouble, Chris Duhon was called into action. He didn't score in 25 minutes.