Chalk one up to the good-guys.
Now, it’s up to LA to follow suit.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals opens up with the San Antonio Spurs heading to LA’s Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Lakers.
So… who you got?
Me? Going for the Lakers to win this one. Maybe it’s bias, but I have the Lake-show winning game 1. I think the planets are aligned against the NBA’s version of the Evil Empire. Quick turn-around from game 7 of their series against the Hornets… spending the night on a plane… all doesn’t add up to an ideal preparation for San Antonio.
Still, all playoffs I’ve stated never sleep on the Spurs. And I’m pretty sure LA won’t.
Timmy Duncan is still Timmy Duncan when it matters most. The great Argentine flopper player Manu Ginobli is one of the game’s most difficult to guard. And pace… sure, San Antonio struggled to contain Chris Paul, but New Orleans had no answer for Tony Parker on the other end.
But LA’s not the LA of yesteryear. One of the better basketball blogs out there – Hardwood Paroxysm – generally hate Kobe Bryant… but they nailed it with
“Bryant is actively working as a … God this is weird to say … part of a team. He’s making the right decision in almost every situation, outside of Game 4 when the pain seemed to convince him to somehow go back to the old ways. My favorite moment of Game 6? Jordan Farmer airballs another shot and promptly makes a terrible foul. As he walks to the sideline, pissed at himself for yet another in a long line of failures he’s suffered in this round, muttering at himself, Kobe, grabs him, and pats him on the back of his head. Kobe says “It’s aight. It’s cool, Jordan.” This is not the same Bryant we’ve seen. And it should be terrifying for every other team in the league.”
(Hardwood Paroxysm- Thoughts on Lakers/Jazz, 18th of May)
Kobe & co. are playing better. No team currently in the NBA rotates the ball better on offense, and they have a variety of guys who can put up 20+ on you.
Gasol’s been ‘gasol-ine’ for the Lakers…
Lamar’s not only thriving as being option #3, he’s turning into a beast.
Fish, Vlad-the-impaler & Sasha “if-I-can-see-the-rim-I’ll-shoot” Vujacic can all hit big shots and put up decent scores.
If there’s a better coach in the league than Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson’s it. Pop won’t be able to intimidate or frustrate Phil…
And of course, they have Kobe Bryant – as cold-blooded a killer as there is in the NBA. Kobe just won his first MVP, do you think he’s going to lie down for San Antonio? Quoted it in an earlier article – during an AOL live-blog of Utah/LA game 6 it was said:
“I think he (Kobe) sticks some sort of dagger in the Jazz.”
And can any other player in the NBA do that like Kobe can?
No… and it all adds up to win #1 for the Lakers. And a series win in 5 games.