November 13, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) moves the ball against the defense of Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Air Alamo Lead Editor Michael Rehome, and Staff Writer John Diaz took the time to jaw back and forth about the upcoming seven game series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. During the three games in the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs did edge them out two games to one.
With the Lakers squeezing into the playoffs with the help from the Utah Jazz, they are also facing life without their MVP and leading scorer Kobe Bryant.
San Antonio healthy once again, knows that the Lakers lost a great player but they are not going to take this team lightly. Who wins this series? Who has to be the MVP for their respective teams? This is just some of the questions these writers tackle with one another.
1. What must the Spurs do to win the series?
Michael Rehome, Lead Editor: San Antonio needs rely on what makes them the Spurs. They need to give the ball to their premier players, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan and let the offense go through them. There are times when the Spurs try to force things to happen. When they settle down, and move the ball around the perimeter, this team is pretty lethal.
John Diaz, Staff Writer: Eliminate turnovers. The Spurs gave up 18 turnovers to Minnesota, and the T-Wolves turned that into 29 points. Disastrous. If Ginobili and Parker are truly healthy, they’ll be handling the ball for a majority of the game, so turnovers shouldn’t be an issue. And those two will also restore some normalcy to the offense; Letting Parker penetrate to the basket, running the pick-and-roll with Splitter and Manu being able to kick the ball out to the perimeter.
2. What must the Lakers do to win the series?
Jan 9, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT
MR: Get Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol going. Laker fans have seen Steve Blake step his game up and has led the team in scoring since Kobe Bryant went down with a season ending injury. Blake can’t carry this team through the playoffs, Howard and Gasol need to be the guys.
JD: Dwight Howard needs to regain his 3-time Defensive Player of the Year form. Howard needs to assert dominance in the paint and not let Parker blow past him and get to the line. Offensively, the Lakers need to run the ball through Gasol. He’s too great a shooter and too elite a passer to just be a decoy. If D’Antoni’s smart, he won’t expect Steve Blake to go for 20 every night.
3. Who needs to be the Spurs MVP versus the Lakers?
Dec 23, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at the AT
MR: Kawhi Leonard. There is going to be so much attention focussing on Tim Duncan and Tony Parker so that leaves others open to produce. Leonard needs to take advantage of the double-teams that may be heading towards both Duncan and Parker. He does not need to rely on a jump shot, he needs to attack the rim like he has been doing and get contact. Leonard is the guy.
JD: The easy answer is Tony Parker. The real answer is the Spurs perimeter players. Howard and Gasol will destroy the Spurs on the boards all day, but any rebounding advantage is meaningless if San Antonio is hitting shots. Green, Neal, Leonard and even Bonner’s shooting is vital to the offense. The fourth best 3-point shooting team in the NBA needs to play like it.
4. Who needs to be the Lakers MVP versus the Spurs?
MR: Steve Nash. With Kobe Bryant going down, everyone’s first choice was probably going to be Dwight Howard for this team. For me, it is Steve Nash. Nash is the floor general. He is the one that makes everything move in this offense. He can still score, but his ability to find teammates on the run and down in the post is going to be crucial for this team to beat the Spurs.
JD: As always, it all falls on Dwight Howard. In 2009, Howard took a Magic team that started Courtney Lee, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis to an NBA Finals appearance. He only averaged 20 and 15 in those playoffs, but it’s the way he played his position that gave his teammates opportunities to be successful. A confident and assertive Dwight will lead to double teams in the post, giving Jodie Meeks and (if healthy) Steve Nash plenty of open looks.
MR: I am going to give the Lakers one game, and that is when the series head to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4. That is it. San Antonio in five.
JD: The Spurs are notorious at playing poorly on Sunday afternoon games. With that being said, I think the Lakers can manage to squeeze our a couple of victories, but nothing more without Kobe Bryant. In the end, the Spurs forever young trio of Parker, Ginobili and Duncan will be too much for Los Angeles. Spurs win in 6.
As always you can find the perspective of the Los Angeles Lakers here on the Fansided Network by heading over to Lake Show Life.