I guess I should start this out with some thoughts on Andrew Bynum (this is a Lakers blog and all). I think all we can do now is hope this surgery goes well, solves the lingering problems and wish him godspeed on his recovery. Having him back next year healthy and confident is what we need.
Tonight we find out who the Lakers face off against starting Wednesday at Staples (games then follow every other day after that until we have a winner). Sure, I’ll be watching this game and the matchups with a WWPJD eye (What Would Phil Jackson Do?) but I hope as a fan we are not treated to another 20-point blowout in NO.
Just a few thoughts about the Spurs/Hornets matchup. I think the most safe prediction after watching the rest of this series — the third quarter will be key.
For the Hornets, they need to keep Tim Duncan quiet, which means taking the risk that Fabricio Oberto might have a huge night. San Antonio has been willing at times to run the offense through Oberto in the post, and he has set up others and Duncan with smart interior passing — the Hornets need to cut that off, make Oberto the shooter. Bottom line, if Oberto beats you it wasn’t meant to be, but you can’t let Duncan beat you.
The other problem the Hornets face is Ginobili — they don’t have a good answer for him man-on-man (the same way they don’t have a good one for Kobe). He could just go off, and if he does the rotations and adjustments would open up room for Duncan and Parker.
On offense, the Hornets need a good night from David West — CP3 is a stud, but it takes more than one man to win a game 7 (well, outside of Boston). He needs to get some early buckets inside, he needs to force the double team, which opens things up for both Paul and Peja.
One other thing to watch — which bench has the better night. Neither of these teams has a great bench, but if one team’s role guys can step up it will be a huge advantage. I think this one is going to be close. At least I hope so.
After yesterday’s entertaining game 7 back East, I’ve seen a few people suggest that whoever comes out of the West should easily handle whoever comes out of the East. That wasn’t pretty, up-tempo basketball we saw yesterday, not like NO or LA play. But I’ll give you one reason the Pistons or Celtics will be no pushover:
They both play it and play it well, which is why any team out of the East has a shot in the Finals (against whomever comes out of the West). Do you remember the two Laker games against Boston this season? That flowing Lakers offense came to a grinding halt, the Celtics clogged passing lanes and kept Laker players from their preferred positions on the floor. Yes, the Lakers are playing much better now than they were then, but don’t for a moment think the Finals will be a cake walk.
And, I think it will be Detroit in the Finals. Yes, they played the lesser opponent in the second round, but don’t they look like they have all the aspects of their game together in a way Boston only shows in spurts?