Los Angeles Lakers Playoff Watch: 6 Reasons Why They Have the Spurs' Number

Joshua SextonSenior Analyst IIMarch 16, 2011

Los Angeles Lakers Playoff Watch: 6 Reasons Why They Have the Spurs' Number

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    The Lakers and Spurs have been the class of the NBA over the past decade. Over the last ten years, the two teams have combined to win seven championships.

    Considering the Lakers are the back to back defending champions, and the Spurs have the best record in the league this season, the two teams could be on a collision course to play for the Western Conference championship.

    However, it may be too early to assume the Spurs are worthy of taking the Lakers' crown. Here are six reasons why the Lakers have the Spurs' number.

6. Did the Spurs Peak Too Soon?

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    The Spurs have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs locked up. With that being said, the team has not looked quite as dominant as of late.

    In the last ten days, the Spurs have been blown out by the Lakers and Heat. Huge losses this late in the season may be an indication the team peaked too early.

5. Ron Artest's Defense

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    If the two teams were to meet in a seven game series, the Lakers have the defense of Ron Artest to slow down Manu Ginobili. Right now, Ginobili is probably the Spurs' best player.

    If Artest slowed down Ginobili like he is capable of doing, the Spurs would have trouble toppling the defending champs.

4. San Antonio Lacks a True Superstar to Lead Them in the Playoffs

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    Obviously, the Spurs' core of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker are championship proven, and all three are capable of putting up huge numbers on a given night.

    On the other hand, the three players may be a little past their prime to be considered the team's clear cut superstar

    As a rule, championship teams have a clear cut superstar leading the way in the postseason (LeBron, Rose, Rondo, Durant, Kobe). Duncan used to fill this role. However, father time has caught up with the big fundamentals.

3. Kobe Bryant

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    Contrary to some beliefs, Kobe still has plenty left in the gas tank. Having Kobe as your closer is the ultimate difference in a close playoff series.

2. This Group of Spurs Is Largely Unproven

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    While no one can question the grit and championship experience of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, the rest of the Spurs are unproven in big games. The Spurs can no longer rely on the playoff experience of Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry and Michael Finley.

    In addition, the Spurs' success this season can be largely attributed to a new-found reliance on offense. This year's squad is the highest scoring Spurs team in the Tim Duncan era. In the past, the Spurs won their championships relying more on defense.

    Considering the majority of their players are unproven, and the team relies so heavily on offense, it makes one wonder if this year's Spurs team is built more for the regular season than the playoffs.

    In short, these are not your older brother's Spurs.

1. Lakers' Frontcourt Can Contain Tony Parker

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    It has been said a million times and a million ways, the Lakers' frontcourt combination of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum is the biggest matchup problem for opposing defenses.

    In a long playoff series, it is hard to imagine an aging Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess holding up against the Lakers' frontcourt.

    In addition, the backline of the Lakers would help contain Tony Parker. Parker is the biggest advantage the Spurs have over the Lakers. However, all of the size the Lakers have in the frontcourt makes up for the team's poor point guard defense.