Lakers-Spurs: Breaking Down the NBA Western Conference Finals

Divya ParmarSenior Analyst IMay 21, 2008

The Western Conference Finals have arrived. Lakers vs Spurs, two great teams with multiple championships this decade.


The Lakers are playing at an extremely high level right now. Some role players haven't been good, but Kobe, Gasol, and Odom are all playing great.

San Antonio is playing great defense while Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker are heating up.

Can the Spurs win on the road in this series?

The Lakers have played extremely well at home, and even though the Spurs won Game 7 in New Orleans, the Spurs were blown out in the other 3 games in New Orleans.

LA is giving the Lakers good home court advantage, so Kobe and Pau Gasol can definitely get it done at home.

Position by Position

PG: Derek Fisher vs Tony Parker. Tony Parker is too quick for an aging Derek Fisher, and I expect Parker to put up good numbers in this series. Fisher is a good shooter and veteran leader. He will contribute by hitting open jumpers and providing intangibles. 

SG:Kobe Bryant vs Manu Ginobili. This is an excellent matchup with two great scorers. Both are also extremely clutch, and are their respective teams' go—to guys. Kobe is bigger and a more complete player, but Manu can more than hold his own. Kobe is a much better defender, and will try and lock-down whoever he is guarding. Manu can drive to the hoop and hit jumpers from anywhere on the court.

SF: Vladimir Radmanovic vs Bruce Bowen. Bowen will probably guard Kobe. That will be a fascinating matchup. It will get rough and very physical. Radmanovic is a good shooter, but is not relied on for much. 

PF: Lamar Odom vs Tim Duncan.  Duncan is a on the block, back to the basket kind of guy. Duncan is a tough cover, and whoever is guarding him will need help. Odom is also making a huge impact.  He is big enough to post up, and can also play on the perimeter. Odom can rebound and defend, making him a very versatile player.

C:Fabricio Oberto vs Pau Gasol. Meanwhile, Gasol is very agile and can slip through a defense to score. Gasol is very mobile and runs the floor, but isn't as good as Duncan in the post. Oberto is expected to catch the ball near the basket and lay it in, not much more.

Bench:The Spurs bench containing Barry, Horry, and Finley is aging. The question is how much they can contribute. All of them have experience and can get it done in the clutch. The Lakers have an excellent bench. Turiaf, Farmar, and Vujacic are solid, and will help the Lakers.


This series is very tight, and I expect it to go 7 games.  Kobe is playing at a incredibly high level and getting his teammates involved. Gasol is excellent in transition, while Odom is contributing in all phases of the game, making Odom a tough defensive assignment. The Lakers are just a little younger and more talented, and they edge out the Spurs and win this series. Verdict: Lakers in 7