By Kevin R. Linares
Game one of the first round match up between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs went to the Spurs as they defeated the 7th seeded Lakers 91 to 79. The Lakers went in as the underdogs but were supposed to go in with the size advantage down low with their twin towers of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Both teams had trouble shooting but the Spurs were able to find their groove and run away with the win to lead the series up one game.
The Spurs big three, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili all gave the Lakers trouble on defense scoring double digits. Both Parker and Ginobili scored 18 points a piece. Ginobili did not expect to have a big impact and was limited because it is just the second game back from his hamstring injury but showed he is getting back to normal. Tim Duncan had a double double scoring 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
For the Lakers it was Dwight Howard who led the way with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Steve Nash, who finally took the floor after sitting out nine games because of injuries to his hip and hamstring, scored 16 points but did say after the game to reporters that he hoped to start again next game and was not yet 100 percent healthy. Despite having trouble getting in the paint Gasol scored 16 points of his own and added 16 rebounds.
A big factor in the game was the bench for the Spurs outplaying the Lakers’ bench. The Spurs’ bench scored 40 points while the Lakers’ bench struggled and only scored 10. Taking care of the ball was a big problem for L.A. as well having a total of 18 turnovers, twice as many as the Spurs.
Positive news for the Lakers is that Jordan Hill was on the active list and is getting closer to being able to provide a boost off the bench. The Lakers now need to adjust and look ahead to playing game two that will take place on Wednesday.