Los Angeles Lakers: Gary Neal

Lakers vs. Spurs: What to watch, with 48 Minutes of Hell

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
10:43
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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As Brian elaborated, the rivalry between the Lakers and Spurs hasn't just dominated the NBA since 1999. It's been equal parts competitive and respectful. Seriously, can you really hate Greg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli or Tony Parker? (Okay, Eva Longoria might have a few qualms with the fourth guy, but you know what I mean.) But peacefully as these players may interact, they're willing to step on each others' necks (politely, of course) to come out on top of this contest. The marbles at stake, even in a regular season, contain meaning for both sides.

To get a better idea of how the team Derek Fisher described as "the best team in basketball right now," I tracked down Timothy Varner from the True Hoop network's 48 Minutes of Hell. Check out his thoughts on tonight's game, plus some videos of Fisher and Kobe talking Spurs:

Andy Kamenetzky: Talk about the 2011 dynamic between Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan. From what I've seen, it appears they're moving at a quicker tempo and not looking to operate so often through Duncan possession to possession. How are all three taking a role in driving the ship?

Brendan Maloney/US Presswire
Whatever Timmy is telling Tony and Manu, it's not "give me the ball or I'll throw a fit!"



Timothy Varner: The pecking order is different, no doubt. Duncan is now San Antonio's third wheel. He is not featured in the offense as much as in the past. And this will make your readers happy: He's not nearly the post defender he once was. Honestly, I think the Lakers have a major opportunity to exploit Duncan in the post, and not just tonight, but for the balance of his career.

Ginobili is at the helm, and he's San Antonio best player. Someone once said he was a bad boy, and they were right.

Tony Parker is still Tony Parker. He likes to score in the paint, as we all know. Parker's assists are up slightly, but that is a function of San Antonio's offensive improvement more than anything else. He's not Steve Nash. One thing to watch is Parker in the corner. He's gradually adding the (Bruce) Bowen three to his game. The Lakers will have to challenge him when he fills after the entry pass.

How are the Spurs handling their new pecking order? They've slipped into it like a pair of 3 year old jeans. Great comfort. Good look.

(AK's note: Entirely unrelated to the game, but still awesome: If you're a fan of Duncan and the show Arrested Development, this is the best... sight gag... ever.)

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 9.7
AssistsK. Marshall 8.8
StealsJ. Meeks 1.4
BlocksP. Gasol 1.5