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PBT NBA Playoff Preview: Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs

Apr 19, 2013, 8:46 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan


San Antonio: 58-24, two seed in the West

L.A. Lakers: 45-37, seven seed in the West


The Spurs took two of the three regular season meetings between the tams, however the Lakers won the most important (and most recent) matchup to date, beating San Antonio this past Sunday to help secure their place in the postseason.


San Antonio: Plenty of players dinged up, including Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, who have both missed extensive time recently due to injury. But the Spurs are expected to have their full complement of players available when the series tips off on Sunday.

L.A. Lakers: Kobe Bryant is out for the season with a torn Achilles injury. Steve Nash is out with what the official report calls “hamstring pain and weakness,” but there are issues in his hip and back which are causing the pain. Nash has had epidural injections the past few days, and hopes to be back for this series. It sounds, however, as though the Lakers should be prepared to go it without him, at least in the early games of this series.

OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possession)

Spurs: offense 105.9 (7th in NBA), defense 99.2 (3rd in NBA)
Lakers: offense 105.6 (8th in NBA), defense 103.5 (18th in NBA)

Differential: Spurs +6.8 (3rd in NBA), Lakers +2.0 (10th in NBA)


Team defense against Parker and Ginobili: The Lakers have been a defensive disaster for the better part of this season. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are among the best at creating havoc with their dribble penetration and ability to score and distribute, so the rotations defensively need to be at an all-time high this season for the Lakers to have a chance in slowing what the Spurs do offensively.

Use Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol to your advantage offensively: Few teams have two talented and skilled bigs as the Lakers do with Howard and Gasol, and they need to force the ball into the post offensively to punish the Spurs inside. Tim Duncan is only one defender, and isn’t to be feared as he has in seasons past. If San Antonio doubles, the Lakers need to swing the ball to the open shooters on the perimeter and knock down the open looks, especially from three-point distance.

Steve Nash: The health of Nash is uncertain at this point, and based on available information regarding his injury, it doesn’t look good as far as him contributing at a high level in this series. The Lakers will need him, however, if they are to have any chance of beating the Spurs any more than once or twice.


Health above all else: The Spurs have proven that they have the pieces to compete at the highest level this season. They’ve played a surprisingly low number of games with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard all healthy at the same time, so having their best players at full strength should make the Spurs as tough an out as there is in the early rounds of the playoffs.

Crank up the defense: The Lakers are struggling to find an offensive identity with Kobe Bryant sidelined due to injury, and the Spurs need to keep it that way. L.A. shot just 36.7 percent from the field in an overtime win over the Rockets, and the Spurs should be able to cause many more problems for L.A. defensively than Houston ever could in its wildest dreams.

Tony Parker: Parker had an MVP-type season for the Spurs, and made the offense go at a level very few teams can replicate from the point guard position. If Parker can perform as he has when healthy earlier this season, his dribble penetration should cause a world of pain for a Lakers team that has struggled with its defensive rotations for the entire season.


It seems as though the Lakers might be able to hang around for a few games in this series, but honestly, if the Spurs’ key players are healthy and are able to perform anywhere near 100 percent, that’s going to be a tall order. San Antonio has a history of losing playoff series in recent years where it has been favored to win, but this Lakers team doesn’t seem to have the right combination of players playing at a high enough level at the right time to continue that trend.


Lakers get a win or two, but won’t come close to challenging for the series. Spurs in 6, though if they win in five it wouldn’t be a surprise.

  1. goraidersgospurs - Apr 19, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    This match up is the reason why, I wanted the spurs to acquire a 7 footer before the season or before the trade deadline which POP as usually refuse to do, but whatever GO SPURS!!!

  2. money2long - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    the lakers will be going up against tim duncan , who in my opinion deserves to be on the all nba 1st team. however, duncan has his hands full with a reenergized and motivated frontline in pau and dwight. splitter is key here. for as good as duncan is, if pau and dwight play well consistently throughout the series, the spurs will lose. however, if splitter shows up , then that can mean trouble for LA even if both dwight and pau put on a show.

    • tomshoe - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      ….Just don’t expect an upset.

      Spurs in 5.

  3. bucrightoff - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    If the Spurs hit the many open shots they’ll get from Parker carving up their defense, this will be a short series. If they don’t hit their shots, the Lakers have a chance. This isn’t a particularly complicated series, Spurs should win in 4 or 5.

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      More fortune telling huh? How about we watch the series and stop digging the LAKERS a grave. I feel like you should have better things to be doing than worrying about LA…

      • bucrightoff - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        So let me see if I have this right…

        Laker fans predicting 70 wins and a title with no evidence in August = Likely to be right, you’re a hater if you doubt it

        Me predicting an easy defeat of the Lakers with a full season of evidence = Fortune Telling

        The evidence is what it is. The Lakers should lose this series easily. They haven’t all of a sudden figured out how to stop their biggest weakness, that is PGs (especially elite ones like say Tony Parker?) ripping up their defense. Damian Lillard and Steph Curry put of 85 combined not even a week ago.

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 19, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        So you when you say LAKER fans, do you mean ALL LAKER fans or just SOME? Because last August, I for one had not declared a victory.
        I wont argue with the fact their perimeter D is terrible, but you can’t discount the fact the LAKERS have been playing tough the last five games, although they have given up big numbers to guards.
        Im not saying your wrong, but every time a LAKER related article comes up, you instantly rip all hope of a win, which is a bit premature considering their most recent wins and how they are playing as of late.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        You made my point for me. The last 5 games they’ve played hard. So those 5 games of playing hard cancel the 77 out where they didn’t? Which is the more likely representation, the 5/82 (for a whopping 6% of their games), or the 77/82 (94%).

        Also they didn’t blow any of the teams they beat out, and outside of a disinterested Spurs team, played teams that barely made the playoffs or missed.

        And as to giving them no chance, well yeah, just like most Laker fans back in August insulted you for suggesting there was a chance anyone BUT the Lakers would win the West. Turnabout, as they say, is fair play. Sorry you don’t represent that view, but it is at least 90% of Laker fans who thought so. The lowest I saw most Laker fans predicting for wins was 62.

      • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 19, 2013 at 6:13 PM

        For the first 77 games they were a jump shooting team, which is obviously not their strength. The reason they are playing well, is because they are finally pounding it inside to D12 and pau, which is what they should have done since game 1.
        I agree with you that a lot of bandwagon “LAKER” fans were predicting ridiculous things, they have truly altered their style of play, which is why they are being successful.
        Also, you can’t really measure games by if they “blew” someone out, especially at this time of year because people are all play hard for seeding

  4. manchestermiracle - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Howard and Pau inside is a big deal, but the Lakers’ shooters have to hit those outside shots. They might steal a game, but the defense is porous and too often the shooters miss those outside shots resulting in long rebounds and baskets in transition. Four to one Spurs.

  5. rjlink1 - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Lakers absolutely need Nash to even stay competitive in this series. This would actually be a toss-up if Ginobili and Parker weren’t playing. But since they are…good night now.

    • money2long - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      i thiink if nash misses time, i think everyone should pay attention to blake. yes, steve blake. i have a feeling he’s going to do some things this series.

      • musilly - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        He’ll definitely get the opportunity to do some things: if Nash plays–a big if–he’ll be limited. Pau and Dwight will get Blake open shots. He’s a very good 3-point shooter. Metta is great at the corner 3. I’m most worried about Meeks–very inconsistent play from him, and he’ll be getting a lot of minutes.

      • drewvt6 - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        I’ll certainly watch Blake. Watch him chase Parker around all night till he fouls out.

  6. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    The great Ervin Magic Johnson was correct, with Kobe, the LAKERS would’ve pulled the upset. They still could make it interesting, but the Spurs ultimately will prevail in six.

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:32 PM


  7. zxrated - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Jodie Meeks is the key to the Lakers beating the Spurs. His youthful energy on defense along side of Scrappy Doo Blake, coupled the possibility of him getting hot offensively could put the Laker over the top. Meeks has low key Wade like abilities, he’s more than just a three point shooter IMO.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Lakers apparently are going to start Nash and Blake, bring Meeks off the bench.

      • omniusprime - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        That is why Dumbtoni is the dumbest coach in Laker history. Jodie Meeks has outperformed both Trash Nash and Steve Flake all season long. Jodie Meeks is quick enough to play defense, Nash and Flake are too old and slow to guard Parker.

    • lucifershuttlesworth - Apr 19, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      Totally. Combine Meek’s Wade-like abilities wth Earl Clark’s Bosh-like abilities and MWP’s Lebron-like abilities and i think the Lakers are looking pretty invincible.

  8. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 19, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Lakers and 7.

  9. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 19, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Lakers in 7.

  10. paulhargis53 - Apr 19, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    And the delusions continue…..

    Are you guys really that whacked out to think the lakers have a chance?!

    My advice to you.

    Don’t play in traffic.
    Don’t touch oven burners.
    Don’t play with sharp objects.
    Don’t continue to post your ignorance on the internet.

  11. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    I like your spunk, 2ndlakerszealot. Look, we LAKERS fans know the LAKERS are the most hated team because they win the most titles! Then, when factor in Cali has the best weather AND the hottest babes, it’s just almost unfair. Let the haters have their little fun. You and I know our beloved LAKERS will once again rule the basketball world! It’s inevitable. Maybe even as soon as next season. Btw, nice touch with the ALL CAPS!

  12. omniusprime - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    I say the Lakers in 6! Despite losing Kobe for the season they’ll beat the vastly overrated Spurs because the Spurs are old injured dingbats. The Lakers will overcome the lack of a real coach and they’ll be inspired by Kobe to get to the second round where they’ll get a chance to beat that other LA team.

    • mazblast - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      The next time KoMe “inspires” his team will be the first.

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