The 2013 NBA Playoffs are split into two kinds of series – those that will be ending in sweeps, and the tight ones. The San Antonio Spurs are too good of a team this season, with Tim Duncan playing like a much younger man, and Tony Parker doing much better in terms of his health, to be the kind that gets itself mixed up in a troubling series.
The Los Angeles Lakers did all that they could to make into the postseason, but in the process their players too much of a physical burden. Basing yourself on a very old lineup means injuries are going to be part of the program, and simply too many of them happened along the way. With a lineup that includes Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris, it’s impossible to win playoff games.
Duncan finished with 26 points and 9 rebounds during an extremely efficient 31 minutes, hitting 12 of his 16 field goal attempts. He also gave one huge smile to Dwight Howard as the Lakers’ center was looking nothing but frustrated, in one of the symbols of an unfair series between a team playing and beating a bunch of players looking lost and hopeless. It ended in a 120-89 win for the Spurs in Los Angeles.
We respect these guys, and we’re not trying to give them any momentum whatsoever.
Despite playing against a back-court comprised of players that aren’t really more than 8th or 9th players on most NBA rosters, the Spurs aren’t hanging back and taking it easy. The Lakers cut down the lead to 11 in the final moments of the first half, but Tim Duncan wasn’t having any of it. He proceeded to score or assist on 10 of San Antonio’s first 12 points of the third.
Tony Parker finished with 20 points, which probably would have happened anyway if Steve Nash was on the court. As impressive as a frontcourt of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol sounds, it’s simply no match to what Gregg Popovich has going for him with the Spurs, who didn’t need more than 6 points from Manu Ginobili on 20 minutes of basketball from him. No use in exhausting your aces when there’s no need.
Tiago Splitter’s injury might turn out to be quite costly for the Spurs if his ankle won’t recover by the time the next series begins. DeJuan Blair scoring 13 points off the bench in 14 minutes speaks more for the very bad Lakers than to his own ability, as warming as it is to see a player not a lot thought could make it in the NBA without certain ligaments making it look like he’s playing for Pittsburgh all over again.
Pau Gasol finished with a triple double, but it was a sad one, as the Lakers tasted home humiliation in the postseason, not something they’re used to. No Kobe Bryant, no Steve Nash, and no real hope of catching up with a team that is faster, stronger, more intelligent and simply more prepared to advance to the next stage. Still one more win necessary to finish the job, but consistency and planning for the long term prevail in this one, with the team that was built to win now bowing down in a less than respectable way.