After a disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the clear and present key for the Los Angeles Lakers to succeed is to rethink. It's time for the Lakers to rethink their strategy; regroup and figure out what exactly needs to be done to ensure first-round success.
The Spurs are the perennial playoff team, and no one knows that better than the Lakers, a team with such a storied rivalry in postseason play. This time around, it's going to take a little more thinking and planning in order to send the Spurs home early.
Offense: play smarter, not harder
One of the factors for the Lakers' loss on Sunday was due to the team's lack of offensive prowess without Kobe Bryant. Players like Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard were taking shots in the dark and were not taking the time to choose their shots wisely.
While Gasol and Howard are not known for their offense, they most certainly know how to use their veteran knowledge to command plays during games. The Lakers will definitely need all the help they can get in the key with regard to scoring, and these two have got to be the clear-cut option to rock the boards.
While no one can begin to replace the innovative mind of Bryant, Gasol and D12 can most certainly provide a fair alternative and supply that true authority on the court.
Keep up with the Spurs' youth
It's been said before: the Spurs are the "Dino-Spurs" no more. While San Antonio does continue to rely on its veteran talent, its young guns are the driving force for the team's success.
Stars like Danny Green, Thiago Splitter and many others steal the show for the Spurs, while veterans Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are the rock that keeps the team as cohesive as it is.
What the Lakers lack in youth, they easily make up for in skill. However, it's time to adopt the same mentality of the Spurs. If they can't be younger, they've got to at least think like it.
Let more veterans run the show
Bryant being out of the picture means that the team's leadership needs some drastic change. And with every game being a must-win situation for LA, a collective effort must be taken to lead this squad.
Thankfully, this team has no shortage of experienced athletes. What better way to show postseason dominance than to have several minds collaborate toward one common goal?
With Kobe Bryant out, who will emerge as the Lakers' leader during the postseason?
Guys like Steve Blake, Steve Nash and the rest of the Lakers' starting five have playoff knowledge that, if tapped into correctly, can prove to be deadly. It will be as if each player fused into a large superpower, capable of destroying everything in its path during the playoffs. If LA can utilize this to its advantage, the momentum in the postseason would be unimaginable.
If the Lakers play smart basketball and tap into these resources, then this should prove to be a series to truly be remembered in this great rivalry.