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San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers: First Round Playoff Preview

Gone are Kobe and Shaq, but Duncan and Parker are still there.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers did it. They were able to overcome one of their worst starts in franchise history and slip into the 7th seed when no one thought they'd even come within 10 games of making the playoffs. Well except all those Lakers fans across America that fly the Lakers' flag prouder than the American flag.

They also lucked out and probably got the most ideal match-up for them too. They get the injury stricken San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Spurs are banged up, but everyone should be out there with the exception of Boris Diaw.

Manu Ginobili is coming back from a hamstring strain and Tony Parker has been dealing with a few other ailments.

The Lakers are without Kobe Bryant, which means they are down their best player and one of the better late game closers in the NBA. Plus the only perimeter guy who can get their own shot off.

Oh and not to mention that Steve Nash probably won't play in this series with a bad back. There is a shot that he could play; he got two epidural pain killing injections in his lower back. He obviously will not be himself and it will be extremely interesting to see if he comes out as Steve Nash or the old man he is turning in to.

The perimeter scoring is going to have to come primarily from Meta World Peace and the real Stevie Franchise, Steve Blake. Blake has been particularly hot since Kobe went down (yes only two games, but I'm biased toward him) and has really paced the Lakers to wins while Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard struggled down low.

With Ginobili coming back from his injury the Spurs should have a decent scoring option off the bench. IF he can stay healthy and stay on the court this series it will probably be the difference. The Lakers can't match the Spurs for bench depth and talent.

Tim Duncan is playing as youthful as ever and Tony Parker was a top three MVP candidate for most of this season. Parker's play has been that impressive and he has obviously taken over the role as the Spurs' best player.

Tale of the Tape

San Antonio Spurs

Los Angeles Lakers






















Tony Parker
Tim Duncan
Manu Ginobili

Best Three

Dwight Howard
Pau Gasol
Meta World Peace

Kawhi Leonard

X Factor

Steve Blake

The Spurs are going to need Kawhi Leonard to play probably a few more minutes than he is used to playing and he is going to have to be a regular 15 point and eight rebound type performer this round.

Steve Blake is going to make sure Dwight and Pau get the ball in the right spots to be effective.

I'm taking the Spurs in six in this one. I think LA has a shot to go up 3-2 in LA, but will ultimately blow that game and then lose game six.