Spurs vs. Lakers, anyone?

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With a 99-95 win over the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the seventh seed in the NBA playoffs and a first-round date with the Spurs beginning at 2:30 p.m. in San Antonio.

For much of the season it appeared this Lakers squad was almost destined for the bottom of the league lottery, but despite a season-ending Achilles injury to Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles finds itself facing a struggling Spurs squad that just lost its third consecutive game.

There will be no shortage of upset-forecasters in coming days, as the Spurs find themselves facing a rival that many will pick to win the series. It’s an interesting situation, especially considering the number of Lakers fans that exist in the city of San Antonio. From a fan’s perspective, it doesn’t get much better than Spurs – Lakers in the postseason. Just, historically, not this early.

Still, it’s time to react. If you’ve ever been to one of these matchups in the playoffs, you’ve seen what it’s about. These teams do not like each other, and it makes for entertaining, dramatic television. Regardless of Kobe Bryant’s absence, Los Angeles’ size will be a challenge, and it’s basically a guarantee that at least a third of the AT&T Center will be filled with purple and gold .

So be ready, because this is about as intriguing a series as we’ve seen in a long time.

We will have much more analysis over the next several days from all sides of the equation, so keep checking in. If Manu Ginobili does return to form, the approaching uncertainty may dissipate quickly, especially if Tony Parker is right as well. But we won’t know what the Spurs will truly look like until they fully recover from injuries. In the mean time, the Lakers are showing their strength in size between Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. It will be a difficult test for San Antonio. Yes, Bryant’s injury is an enormous issue in this series, but it also forces the Lakers to play inside-out, something that’s potentially more effective against the Spurs with the roster Los Angeles possesses.

Anyway, there will be plenty to read here at 48 Minutes of Hell and along the rest of the TrueHoop Network between now and Sunday, so come on by and take a look. Hope everybody’s ready, because this is going to be fun.

  • gomezd

    Im so happy lakers won. Keeping Harden far far away makes me soooo happy

  • Graham

    All rides on that first game. Which Spurs team is going to show up?
    I’d do my part and support the guys in LA, but playoff tickets are INSANELY expensive here.

  • Andrew G

    Tony was hobbling around, but seemed to find his pace after a little recovery time; and yes, it is VERY encouraging to see Ginobili out there, no matter how brief. Without Kobe on the court we are going to have an actual series against the Lakers… too bad. While I am going to agree with Graham (in the other article) and hope we get a sweep… but like we talked about before, something about the Spurs brings out the best in such random players (Steve Blake).

    Anyone wanna take a gander at how many free throws Dwight takes this series? Over-under on say, 125?

  • growndhawgg

    I’m afraid of watching Harden score on the Spurs. However, I don’t like watching the Spurs get pushed around under the basket (like Memphis).

  • idahospur

    Wouldn’t be a playoffs without Spurs v Lakers.

  • Jimbo

    The seedings look pretty good for the Spurs. Memphis and OKC are the two teams I’d really like to avoid, and this way the Spurs dodge at least one. The Lakers and Nuggets are threats of course, but they are also banged up even worse than the Spurs.

  • SargeSmash

    Very much agreed with this sentiment. Let the Clips and Grizz batter each other, we get the Nuggets or the Warriors in the second round, and if the Grizz slip through to face OKC, they’ll be more than they want to handle, and potentially soften them up for the good guys.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lordxar Ray Briggs II

    Anyone else get a serious Grizzles 2011 feeling from this series. Spurs coming in slightly hobbled, not playing great ball, against a team that has been playing well and has a lot of size.
    I am not saying the results will be the same but I am worried about another playoff flameout.
    Here is hoping Tony returns to form, and fast. Everything hinges on Parker.

  • rudy tesoro

    It will 5 for the Lakers. The are praking, while the Spurs areeasy picking.
    s

  • leben

    I expect the Spurs to play this series somewhat like the Jazz last yr. There’s going to be a lot of digging down on the bigs b/c Spurs are not worried too much about the lakers outside shooting. Gasol & Howard are obviously better than the Jazz bigs, but the defensive philosophy will be the same. The variable will be how effective is Nash going to be coming off injury.

  • Graham

    Honestly? Not really. Tim is absolutely beasting right now at least, plus splitter is better and we have Leonard now. Team’s more rounded than that 2011 team. We should be good for the lakers at least.

  • junierizzle

    THAT’S a recipe for disaster. They got away with it because the Jazz hardly even shot threes. If the employ the same tactic on the Lakers, believe me Meeks, Jamison, Blake and Nash who looks to be back will kill us. Everyone makes a big deal about Howard, Gasol and their rebounding but what kills you is their three point shooting. Blake had 22points and Gasol had 16. If Blake and Jamison get 15+ points on wide open looks then this series will be tougher than it has to be. Bottom line is Duncan on Howard, Splitter on Gasol, no need to double.

  • Titletown99030507d

    This is a re-post in case you didn’t care to read last night’s Minny board.
    Manu is not even near to what he needs to be and Tony something is wrong with this guy. He can’t even defend anymore. He’s the youngest and he looks like one of the oldest right now. Something is going on with this dude. And pray that ICY is on vacation and hot shows up. As for Neal just shoot the damn ball don’t try to be Tony on a fast break.Same goes for ICY/HOT. And play the shit out of Tiago. It’ll serve the team good. I don’t even want to see Bonner or Blair on the damn court for more than 8 minutes.

  • Titletown99030507d

    You forgot to mention the major minutes Bonner and Blair will get. Now that’s a recipe for disaster. Mark my words it’s going to happen. Splitter subs out at the 6 minute mark in the first and you don’t see him for 9 minutes because pop want’s to satisfy Bonner’s and Blair’s parents. RE-DICULAAAASSS! And by the way to support your post our gunners better play play some defense especially where that long black line circles the farthest. OMG we are in for the battle of our lives. And it had to be them.

  • Titletown99030507d

    You could say that 2-3 months ago but that is not the case now. Timmy is slowing down and it’s starting to show. He’s had a couple of posters done on him as of late and Tony looks like he wants to go on vacation or something is wrong with his body. And Manu is just showing up too late to the party. Sucks.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Yo got that right.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I saw the Rocket game last night and it just disgusted me how the refs had that whistle glued to their face and the Rocket player got the wrong end of it. Howard pretty much hooking his man under the glass and poor rocket guy gets the whistle. And not once but many times. Steve Blake is an animal right now and honestly they are stupid to put a hobbled Nash on the court at this point.

  • Spurs fan in LA

    I dont think it’s an issue just of Gasol and Howard. The LAL are dangerous now because they are sharing the ball

  • leben

    not double, dig. The guards will still get out to the shooters. They employed this tactic in the last game vs. lakers. I think Pop will take his chances with Meeks, Blake, Morris (but not Nash) who have not been consistent from 3 this yr. rather than Dwight pushing Tim under the basket and possibly getting him in foul trouble.

  • Graham

    Did you WATCH him in the 4th of that Lakers game!?!? Slowing down?!?! I say he’s revving up.

    The other two are questions still, but we should be fine even with them at 80% of their normal selves. The team as a whole is going to be ready.

  • Graham

    I think the Playoff rotation will be spot minutes for Bonner OR Blair while Timmy or Splitter rests. Dont expect them both to sit at the same time.

    And do I detect you missing Diaw actually? Titletown, I truly amd suprised.

  • Easy B

    Can the spurs lose the series? Of course. I expect them to win in 5 if healthy, 6 if Manu and Tony are ailing for the first couple of games and the lakers snatch an away win. Remember marbury beat us in the first game at the buzzer and then we won the next four – I could see a similar series unfolding.
    My prediction is that the spurs overcome a tardy first quarter 5 point defecit to win by 10, then repeat the margin of victory in game 2, but surrender a game in La before coming home to wrap up in 5.
    I think Denver will beat the warriors and give the spurs a hell of a series. I actually think Denver is better without Galinari- not that he isn’t a great player, but because they will be positioned to play a better defensive game in crunch time with a lineup of lawson, iggy, chandler, faried and koustos or brewer if they want to go small. And don’t forget miller to sub in and out for situational playmaking.
    Yes, Denver have all the pieces to upset us, but we can win this series if Kawhi gives us offensive rebounding, offense and makes chandler work hard for points. That will create space for Manu to do his damage, for which Denver still has no answer

  • Tim in Surrey

    Well said.

  • norte$ide

    lakers sweep the spurms

  • norte$ide

    then go on to beat denver in 6 the beat memphis in 6 in the WCF

  • norte$ide

    then*

  • Jimbo

    No, I think the Spurs will win the series in 5. Unlike Memphis, LA can’t play D.

  • norte$ide

    lakers will beat heat in 7

  • junierizzle

    What games are you watching? They’ve been hitting threes all year. Forget what the numbers say. Remember the last game. It was close until we left Jamison wide-open for three straight threes. Then Meeks hit one. Game over.

  • junierizzle

    Pop is going to ride Splitter, that’s why he rested so much. Also, I think we’ll only see Bonner if Pop gets desperate.

  • BlazingDeath

    Tesoro you go to all the sites with this crap, your drunk go home and northside your team the rapers will lose in the first round.