From Sam Amick, USA TODAY: It made perfect sense that the San Antonio Spurs could be in trouble in their first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers.They were barely worthy of being a playoff team down the stretch of the regular season, which means they may as well have been, well, the Lakers. They were vulnerable, ailing, on the decline, ripe for the sort of first-round upset that the Lakers said they were capable of as they found a way to survive without Kobe Bryant and surged into the postseason after all these tumultuous months. Or, perhaps, not.
From Dave Mcmenamin, ESPN LA: Long before Kobe Bryant got into a bizarre postgame tête-à-tête from 1,350 miles away with Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni on Sunday, Bryant glowed about the man, calling him an “offensive genius” back in November.D’Antoni called Bryant, who was live-tweeting the Lakers’ Game 1 against the San Antonio Spursfrom his home in California as he rehabs after Achilles surgery, a “fan” for his 140-character contributions from afar.Probably a poor word choice from D’Antoni, one that Bryant chalked up to a “#nervousresponse” in one tweet, but one that stuck in his craw nonetheless when he later tweeted sarcastically that he would be watching Game 2 “from the crib again in a pau jersey and laker face paint.”
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Even 1,300 miles away lying in bed, Kobe Bryant was still the story for the Lakers Sunday. Kobe watched the game just like you did… well, his house is bigger than yours and he had more painkillers in his system than you did (probably). But he watched it on television (recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon) and tweeted about the game, just like I and you and a lot of others did. Except Kobe’s tweets became the story. Because he’s Kobe.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Something was missing. Actually, someone was missing. It had a lot to do with scoring, as in not enough of it for the Lakers, in a grueling, often boring 91-79 loss Sunday to theSan Antonio Spurs. Kobe Bryant was present only on Twitter, watching from his home as the Lakers missed shot after shot and committed 18 turnovers in their playoff opener at AT&T Center. Yawn. Stretch. Head for the locker room. Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio. It was worth checking futility records when the Lakers entered the fourth quarter with a meager 57 points. Their mark for fewest points in a playoff game is 66 against Detroit in the 2004 NBA Finals.
From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: Without Kobe Bryant in the lineup for the postseason, we all knew that the Lakers must continually feed the bigs (Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol) and revolve their game plan around their post play. As Magic Johnson stressed before, during and after Game 1 on Sunday, Howard and Gasol are the Lakers’ biggest advantage and maybe their only one over the Spurs. The funny and quite ironic aspect of Sunday’s playoff opener for the Lakers was that it was their offense that was problematic and not their defense. In fact, the Lakers held the Spurs to just 37.6 percent shooting (third consecutive game L.A. has held they opponent to under 40 percent shooting). However, the Spurs played defense too, and the Lakers couldn’t seem to buy a bucket in Game 1.