Spurs Point differential: +9.2
The Lakers are going to have to keep these guys under 100 points if they are going to give themselves a chance.
The Spurs and the Lakers have almost identical offensive ratings, so this one comes down to the Lakers playing above board defense and the Bynum/Brown duo showing up enough to slow Duncan and more importantly making the Spurs bigs play defense and possibly get into some foul trouble. The Spurs are +11.9 with Duncan on the floor and -6.5 with him off.
Lamar Odom will be an integral factor in this game and must be an aggressor on the offensive end whether Kobe is in the line up or not.
The penetration of Ginobli and Parker will need to be limited, as that is the modus operandi of this offense. If those guys can’t get into the paint then you have a shot. Unfortunately when Thetis dipped the Lakers in the river Styx, she was holding them by the perimeter defense.
“We’re not in competition with San Antonio yet,” Jackson said. “This team isn’t at that level. We haven’t shown that we can play at that level in a game. So those games, we just have to play above our experience and our precision that we normally do.”
Pounding the Rock to perfection: Hop over to this FB and G counterpart for some more insight into this match up. Needless to say, they are feeling pretty good about their team, especially after exacting revenge on their two previous tough losses to the Warriors and Bobcats. Here’s a taste:
“It is not the rampant winning or remarkable feats of athleticism (traits common to all successful sport franchises). It is the unshakeable notion that the Spurs are not truly playing a game. The Spurs goal is perfection; 48 minutes of flawless execution, seamless integration, unbreakable cohesion. The evolution of Five into One.”
Roll over Shakespeare: “Kobe, or not Kobe” is one of the most awful Bard inspired headlines and sadly I’ve seen it more than once. My guess is that he won’t play in an effort to get himself healthy for the upcoming turn through Texas. In today’s Times Kobe seems to have “gotten it” as to whether or not he should play,
“If it gets progressively worse as the game goes on where I start limping and stuff, then that’s no good,” Bryant said. “That will set us back.”
It seems he will again be a game time decision. Updates as information is available.
Finally: DrRayEye asks, “Smushaphobe or Smushaholic?”