The San Antonio Spurs (4-3) will take on the Los Angeles Lakers (1-7) at Staples Center on Friday. The Spurs are playing their best basketball of the early season, as they have back-to-back road wins against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers on the other hand have failed to get going.
The Lakers lone win came last Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets. They have showed fight in some games against tough competition. Against the Grizzlies, the Lakers went down by as much as 17 points in the fourth quarter and they even had a chance to tie the game with 30 seconds to play, but failed to do so and lost by 5.
There aren’t many things that have to go right in order for the Spurs to beat the Lakers, but if there is one thing they must do is key in on Kobe Bryant. Bryant is proving all the critics that thought he was “done” after his devastating achilles injury, wrong. At 36 years old Bryant looks sharp. He is leading the league in scoring (27.5) and is averaging 5.4 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard is the only player on the San Antonio Spurs that even has a chance at containing Bryant. Leonard has the size advantage and is quicker than Bryant right now. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Bryant becomes passive tomorrow, as Leonard can put him in difficult positions to score, but then again he could go for 40.
The San Antonio Spurs have the edge in every position except for shooting guard. Tony Parker has a significant edge over inconsistent guard Jeremy Lin. Tim Duncan has an easy edge over Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer, while Leonard shouldn’t break a sweat with Wesley Johnson.
With Nick Young and Julius Randle out, the Lakers bench isn’t too strong. Lakers have gotten strong play from Ed Davis, but a bench headed by Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw will certainly hold the edge as well.
Expect big nights from Leonard, Parker, and Duncan as the San Antonio Spurs will win what can be seen as a trap game in high scoring fashion.