All eyes of basketball fans and aficionados all over the world will surely be glued on this much-awaited series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs is headed to the 2013 NBA Playoffs as the second seed in the Western Conference and will battle one of the tournament’s surprise packages – the streaking Los Angeles Lakers.
The Spurs which finish the regular season with an impressive 58-24 win-loss mark, made it into the conference finals last year but was denied of a chance to advance into the NBA Finals as they were waylaid and eliminated by the Oklahoma Thunder 4-2.
As a second seed the Spurs enjoy home court advantage through the second round if ever it will overcome the pesky and relentless Lakers side.
Tim Duncan will be a thorn in the middle for the Lakers. The battle-scarred and seasoned Duncan has vast playoff experience and his offense is expected to be firing on all cylinders. He is also a force to reckon with in defense specially in swatting away enemy missiles and his presence alone in the shaded lane will inevitably stir fear and intimidation. Duncan is perhaps the reason why his team is ranked third in defense in NBA.
The Spurs is not 100% battle-ready as the recent playing time of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker was trimmed because of injuries. With the Spurs playing wounded the team was just 3-7 on its last 10 games.
The Spurs team may seem formidable in the playoffs, well, think twice. Though San Antonio barged into the Western Conference Finals last season, the four time NBA Champions has history of getting eliminated in the first round and second round for the past few years. The Spurs failed to advance into the second round in 2009 and 2011 and was swept by the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2010.
The Spurs is erratic in the playoff as they can be brilliant at times and at some point not. For sure, the Spurs under its versatile coach Gregg Popovich is excellent when it comes to shuffling players (especially the veterans), making adjustments and exploiting mismatches.
The Spurs won its regular series against the Lakers 2-1 this season, but the team’s recent loss was instrumental to the Lakers’ success in snaring a playoff berth and the 7th seeding in the West.
The Lakers on the other hand, will be missing its leader and main gunner Kobe Bryant for the rest of the season but the team still impressed fans worldwide with their accomplishment of gate crashing in the playoffs because of their impressive run in the second half of the season.
Veteran Steve Nash may miss the early games of the series but the Lakers is prepared to go all-out without him.
The Lakers’ twin tower composed of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol is potent. The duo is very capable of neutralizing the offensive and defensive game of Duncan. Howard is a feisty rebounder and decent defender while Gasol has championship experience and variety of offensive moves to keep Duncan going throughout the series.
2013 Playoff Series NBA Verdict: San Antonio wins this series in 6 or 7 games.