Friday, May 30, 2008

It's Over - Lakers Take The Spurs By 100 - 92!

Last night the San Antonio Spurs came into Staples Center and opened up on the Lakers with a seventeen point lead. It looked like one of my lame predictions might actually come true. I thought the Spurs might take one in L.A. as the Lakers did in Texas. For nearly one-half of the game it seemed possible. Then the Lakers got serious. By the end of the first half the Lakers cut the Spurs lead down to a manageable six points and it was apparent that old age and a weak bench had finally caught up with San Antonio. Teams in the NBA can get old in a season and it showed last night. The Spurs made a valiant effort but came up short.

I made a prediction when the playoffs began two months ago. I wrote that the Lakers have one of the best benches of all the NBA teams and last night they validated that call. Luke Walton, Roni Turiaf, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic all played well coming off the bench. Their younger legs were too much for a Spurs bench that averages 35+ years.

Pau Gasol had a playoff career high nineteen rebounds and five or six were on the offensive boards along with five blocked shots. That, along with Kobe's best game (thirty-eight points) so far in the playoffs was the whole story. The Spurs just couldn't keep up with the younger Laker reserves and it showed. They Spurs looked tired and old by the fourth quarter when Kobe did much of his damage. Kobe was dunking over Tim Duncan and driving the lane with ease. Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher hit some clutch three-pointers and sealed the Spurs fate. Once again Manu Ginobili was not a factor for the Spurs.

Here's to the San Antonio Spurs for giving the Lakers a great series and being a classy team and organization. With a few smart trades the Spurs will remain competitive in the NBA. But...whether they remain among the title contenders is dependent upon what they do this off-season. In retrospect I believe the New Orleans Hornets would have probably given the Lakers a much more difficult time in the Conference Finals had they beaten the Spurs in the semi-final series they played.

Whoever wins the Eastern Conference Finals will have their hands full against L.A. I don't like the slower half-court type game the Celtics and the Pistons play. It's boring and results in low scoring games. I do think that Boston would probably give the Lakers a harder time than Detroit. Kevin Garnet has been a thorn in the side of the Lakers in days past. In the 2004 series when he was with Minnesota Timberwolves he had a great series against the Lakers. Anyway....

Go Lakers...

Update: May 30, 2008 - Boston wins Eastern Conference!
Now it's the Lakers vs Celtics. No, it's not a renewal of an old rivalry. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are long retired. That was over in 1987. This may be the beginning of a new one. Hey Toast - It's on!

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