Spurs vs. Lakers Prediction
Here we go again. Spurs and Lakers meet for like the 100, 000th time to battle in the playoffs. Though gone is Shaq from the Lakers, David Robinson from the Spurs and Horry now wearing black and silver, these two teams still have players from the intense rivalry days in the late 90's and early 2000. Kobe "The Rapist", Fisher, Philip Jackson, Duncan, Parker, Bowen, Manu, and Coach Pop are still here.
Let's look at this matchup. First the Spurs. They just went 7 games with the Hornets and at times looked terrible, especially on the road. Spurs will have to go on the road in this series since the Lakers finished with the top record in the West so this doesn't bode well for the Spurs. In the playoffs so far, with the exception of game 1 against the Suns, Duncan has not shown up. He has been a 16 and 12 kind of player. He even laid an egg and scored 5 points in game 1 versus the Hornets. We haven't seen a dominant performance from him in quite a while. Again going 7 games versus the Hornets told me a lot about this team. They couldn't handle New Orleans in games this year and now imagine now taking on a similar team in the Lakers but now with Kobe "The Rapist". Strong for the Spurs is their defense and 3-point shooting. This was key in the wins against the Hornets and will need to flex their defensive muscle against the high-scoring Lakers. If the Spurs can keep it a low scoring affair, Spurs win. But which team has been successful in doing that? Jazz looked inept and Denver, well, they just don't play D.
Lakers. After sweeping the Nuggets, and handling the Jazz in 6 games, the Lakers have been resting and preparing for the next round. The Spurs will have a short turnaround and will face the Lakers this Wednesday night. This works to the Lakers advantage. With Gasol now in the fold, the Lakers have someone to counter Duncan and be a presense in the middle. Now granted the Spurs were the last team the Lakers wanted to see in this round. If you are the Lakers, you didn't want this matchup. On paper, the Lakers seem to be the dominant team -- shooting guard, center, small forward but this Spurs team will not go down without a fight. The Lakers have a potent offense. Odom, "The Rapist", Gasol score and score a lot. Expect the Lakers to run on the Spurs often.
In the end, this comes down to.............................coaching! Yes, throw out the player matchups, this series is all about the coaches. Pop vs. Jackson. Remember this season, Pop was vocal about the Gasol trade saying it was incomprehensible and wanted a trade committee. Jackson slapped the whole asterisk crap on the Spurs 1999 title. Game to game adjustments favors Pop and you know Phillip will love to ruin another chance at the Spurs getting thier first repeat (see the Fisher .4 shot).
Overall, the Lakers just present too many matchup problems for the Spurs. Who guards Odom.......Oberto? Radmonovic.......Manu? Kobe might get some defensive time on Parker and will frustrate TP. If Ime and Finley show up then Spurs got a good shot.
Lakers in 6.