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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts to a foul next to Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the forth quarter at the Staples Center on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers defeated t
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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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    CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 17: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs talks with head coach Gregg Popovich during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 17, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Spurs 109-99. NOTE TO US
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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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    CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 14:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 14, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25:  (L-R) Manu Ginobili #20, Tim Duncan #21, and Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs watch from the sidelines during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles,
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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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    DALLAS, TX - MARCH 12:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Center on March 12, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consen
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 24:  George Hill #3 talks to Gary Neal #14 of the San Antonio Spurs during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on January 24, 2011 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 21:  Nene #31 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot between Andrew Bynum #17 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

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