SAN ANTONIO – It’s a brave new world, where all of us are connected.
Well, almost all of us.
There were those nine troglodytes in Lakers uniforms who ran cluelessly up and down the court at the AT&T Center as if they didn’t know fire had been discovered or the wheel invented.
While the rest of the planet was entertained, motivated and fully informed by Kobe Bryant at the center of the Twitterverse on how to slow down and shut off the Spurs, his teammates were like those old Japanese soldiers who finally wandered out of the mountains not realizing that World War II had ended.
Poor Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace.
– “What I would say if I was there right now? Pau get (your) ass on the block and don’t move (until you) get it,” Bryant tweeted.
– “Post. Post. Post.”
– “Gotta milk Pau in the post right now and D12. Will get good looks from it.”
– “Gotta get to the block. See (what) Spurs (are) gonna do with Pau and D12.”
Poor Mike D’Antoni. Perhaps by Wednesday, he can modernize to use carrier pigeons instead of cave paintings during timeouts to get his messages across. Maybe the Lakers’ equipment manager can find a way to duct tape an iPhone somewhere onto the body of each member of the team, so they can get constant updates and suggestions from “Coach Vino,” which is what Bryant called himself on Friday. After all, this is the 21st century .Why should the minor detail of torn Achilles tendon stop Bryant from finding a way to get into the series?
One can picture the restless Black Mamba squirming all over the sofa in his Orange County mansion, with his bad leg propped up on a pillow and his thumbs flying across the keyboard.
– “Matador defense on Parker.”
– “This game has a ‘steal one’ written all over it for us.”
Of course, it would have helped if the Lakers had been able to connect on more than 3-for-15 behind the 3-point line or knock down any of the other many open shots at the basket they had. And it might have been a “stealable” game if the Lakers hadn’t turned the ball over 18 times.
“I was happy with the looks we got,” D’Antoni said. “I wasn’t happy with the turnovers we had.”
For all the postgame talk in the Spurs’ locker room of finding their missing defensive intensity and execution, the outcome was as much about all of the things the Lakers simply could not get done. Nash was the one who received a pregame epidural to treat the pain from his lingering hip injury, but Gasol was too often the one that struggled as if trying to give birth to any kind of offensive rhythm.
This was a game that the Spurs won handily despite no one among Tim Duncan (6-for-15), Tony Parker (8-for-21) and Manu Ginobili (6-for-13) being able to make half their shots. Even when the crowd tried to summon up a “Beat L.A.!” chant in the third quarter, it was listless. Without Kobe, playing the Lakers is like a trip to Oz without running into the Wicked Witch of the West.
The truth is the Lakers were in arm’s length to grab the kind of early win that can turn a series on its head until Ginobili went up like a bottle-rocket to close out the third quarter. With his newest teammate Tracy McGrady watching in street clothes from the bench, Ginobili did a “mini-TMac,” zipping in eight points in 85 seconds.
“I knew it was my time, usually,” said Ginobili, who had missed nine of the last 10 regular season games with a strained right hamstring.
The second of Ginobili’s treys was a walk-up heat check with 2.4 seconds left that probably had coach Gregg Popovich close to swallowing his tongue.
“If I would have missed it, probably he would have said something,” Ginobili shrugged.
If Manu had been a Laker and missed it, there’s no telling what kind of fireballing, nasty tweet Kobe might have sent his way.
When D’Antoni was asked later if he approved of Bryant’s running commentary and criticism, he smiled and rolled his eyes.
“It’s great to have that commentary,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a fan. He’s a fan right now.”
Just a fan the way King Kong was just a monkey.
Bryant replied almost immediately.
– “A fan?? lol.”
– “Nervous response. I’m sure he didn’t meant it that way. No big deal.”
The Lakers did pound the ball into the post throughout the day. They did use their size to body up and turn it into the kind of brute strength, ugly affair that is their path to an upset in the series. After looking uncomfortable early, Howard did get 20 points and 15 rebounds.
“We can’t get discouraged because we lost the first game,” Howard.
Dwight had better wait until hears from his BFF on Twitter.
Kobe still has thumbs that work.
– “On to game 2. I will be watching from the crib again in a Pau jersey and Laker face paint ha!” (Joking) aside, we will be fine on (Wednesday).”
But eventually, even the Mambatweeter thought better of his input.
– “I see my tweeting during the game is being talked about as much as the game itself. Not my intention , just bored as I guess.” #notagain
It’s a brave new world, where the Lakers who actually played found out you’re not paranoid if Big Brother really is looking over your shoulder.