The Los Angeles Lakers did what many believed impossible by mounting a late-season comeback to earn the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Despite that second-half surge, beating the No. 2 San Antonio Spurs will be no easy task.
With Kobe Bryant on the shelf, the Lakers will be forced to rely on Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to share the pressure and pace the scoring. Los Angeles is capable of winning a seven-game series against San Antonio, but it needs some chemistry and consistency to upend the West’s No. 2 seed.
The Spurs appeared to be ageless during the regular season, but injuries are beginning to catch up with them. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are all back from injuries that limited their effectiveness toward the end of the regular season. How that trio holds up in the playoffs will decide San Antonio’s fate.
Despite all those factors, the winner of this series will have plenty of momentum heading into the second round of the playoffs. The Spurs and Lakers have been two of the most dominant teams in the Western Conference for the last decade, and even with Bryant on the sidelines, this matchup won’t fail to disappoint.
There’s a good chance this series goes the distance, but the winner of Game 1 had a distinct advantage of exiting the opening round with a second-round berth. Check out the video above for the recap of Game 1 of the series.