April 26, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) moves to the basket against the defense of San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half in game three of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
On the brink of elimination, and about two more injuries away from turning to Jack Nicholson to run Mike D’Antoni’s offense, the Los Angeles Lakers nightmare season is finally nearing it’s end. And in no way, shape or form how the majority of the basketball world expected it.
Coming off a 31-point loss in Game 3, the worst home playoff defeat in franchise history, the Lakers didn’t sound too down on themselves. The amount of adversity and criticism this team has faced since their 0-9 start in the preseason, is nothing new. Losing their head coach 5 games into the season was just a speed bump.
Though no real reason for optimism, Mike D’Antoni gave the politically correct answer after Game 3:
“Nobody expects us to do it. We’re going to show up, going to try to do it. Why not? We’ve got good guys, and they’ve battled since February to get us in this position. Now we’re in another big hole, and we’re going to try to dig out little by little.”
It’s admirable to watch MDA try to inspire his team into doing something that 103 teams before him have failed to accomplish; coming back to win a series down 0-3 is a daunting task. And it’s nearly impossible when three of your best players are injured, two of which are future Hall of Famers. And to pile it on even more, your best bench player you’ve been using to replace starters, is also hurt.
But that’s what lies ahead of D’Antoni and his squad. And the Spurs will show no mercy.
“They are hurt. They are wounded, and we have a great opportunity. When you have a good opportunity, you want to grab it. So we know we’re in that spot, but I’m going to say the same I said before Game 3. We’ve just got to respect them, be humble, play hard. Don’t think about anything else but the next quarter, the next minute.”
Ginobili’s quote is just your standard veteran leadership verbiage. The concept is basic, but it’s the reason why San Antonio has so much success. And on Sunday night, that methodical approach will advance the Spurs into the 2nd round, and leave them only 12 victories away from the ultimate goal.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS
Point GuardsTony Parker – Darius MorrisShooting GuardsDanny Green – Andrew GoudelockSmall ForwardsKawhi Leonard – Earl ClarkPower ForwardsTim Duncan – Pau GasolCentersDeJuan Blair (?) – Dwight Howard
Key Bench PlayersGary Neal, Matt Bonner, Cory Joseph – Antawn Jamison, Chris Duhon, Jordan Hill
Head CoachesGregg Popovich – Mike D’Antoni
GAME AND BROADCAST INFORMATION
When: Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 6 PM (Central Time)Where: Staples Center – Los Angeles, CaliforniaTelevision: TNT (National) Fox Sports Southwest (Local) Radio: 1200 AM WOAI (Local)
For the Los Angeles Lakers perspective, head over to Fansided’s own Lake Show Life.