(AP Photo/Mark J. Terril)
By Kevin R. Linares
The San Antonio Spurs swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round beating them 103 to 82 . The end of an injury plagued season has come and it is one many do not want to look back at. The Lakers were short handed again as they have been most of the season and things got worse when Dwight Howard was ejected early in the third quarter after receiving his second technical foul in what could be his last game as a Laker with him becoming a free agent.
Pau Gasol was the leading scorer for the Lakers with 16 points in what could also be his last game as a Laker if the team decides to either amnesty or trade him. Andrew Goudelock started again and finished with 14 points. For the Spurs, Tony Parker led all scorers with 23 points.
Kobe Bryant returned to the court since his season ending injury when Dwight Howard got ejected and the fans cheered. With the season now over there will be many questions the Lakers will face in the summer. Dwight Howard will be a free agent and the Lakers’ organization have made it known that he is in their future plans but does he see the Lakers in his future plans? He will definitely take his time and look at all the options that will be there for him.
Will the Lakers use their amnesty clause? Kobe Bryant will most likely not be a candidate but what about Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol? Metta World Peace can look to opt out of his contract and look to play else where but L.A. is where he wants to play. Maybe he will look to opt out and maybe look for a less expensive contract with the Lakers. Gasol also wants to stay a Laker but with the $19 million that will be owed to him next season and his game declining it will be difficult.
It will be yet another interesting summer for the Lakers but maybe this time everything will be taken care of before the season starts and not throughout. As always, even though the season might be over on the court, it is not over for Mitch Kupchak and his staff who will look to make this team better and climb back on top.
(Los Angeles Times/Wally Skalij)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers dropped game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs 89 to 120 and are now down 3 games to none in the series. The 31 point loss makes it the worst home playoff lost in the history of the franchise. With the injuries they had and the line up that was left fans did not expect much but held a little bit of hope unfortunately the Spurs were too good against a starting line up that had not played together all season.
Tim Duncan led his team in scoring hitting 12 of 16 field goals for 26 points. Tony Parker followed with 20 points and 7 assists. For the Lakers if you looked at the starting line up, with the exception of Metta World Peace, they had good numbers. Dwight Howard led the team with 25 points. Both guards who were replacing Steve Nash and Steve Blake in the starting line up did their part. Andrew Goudelock had 20 points while Darius Morris had 24 points. Pau Gasol ended up with a triple double scoring 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. The problem was that the rest of the guys did not do so well. In total the bench had 9 points with just Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison scoring.
Metta World Peace did not have an impact in the game and was clearly bothered after getting fluid drained from a cyst on his left knee. The Spurs’ Tiago Splitter left the game in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle. With game 4 being on Sunday the Lakers will try to avoid getting swept on their home floor and will probably be missing World Peace’s services who said he might have to sit out for the game. If the Lakers lose game 4 it will be the first time they have been swept in the first round since 1967.
By Kevin R. Linares
The Lakers dropped game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday 91 to 102. The Spurs shot the ball better than they did in game 1, shooting for 51 percent. Tony Park led his team scoring 28 points and dishing out 7 assists. For the Lakers, both Dwight Howard and Steve Blake led the way with 16 points each.
Injuries have pretty much made the season a terrible one for the Lakers and something they would have liked to avoid for the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Lakers will have a tough one in game 3 with reports of Steve Blake out indefinitely and both Steve Nash and Jodie Meeks doubtful. Steve Nash was seen hobbling on the floor during game 2 because of the injuries he still has not recovered from. Pau Gasol told reporters that if it was the regular season Nash would still be sidelined. Jodie Meeks did not play in game 2 because of the sprained left ankle he suffered in the first game between the two teams. Meeks is considered to be doubtful for game 3. Steve Blake who has been impressive in the absence of Kobe Bryant went down suffering a strain to his right hamstring.
Game 3 will definitely be scary to watch for Laker fans with there guards down. With Blake, Nash, Bryant and Meeks injured, the Lakers are now left with the options of Chris Duhon, Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris. If the Lakers had problems getting the ball down low before it will only get harder with the Spurs having to face less of a threat from the outside.
The better match up for L.A. was the Spurs but that was with their super star Kobe Bryant and at least most of the roster being healthy. The Lakers now have three seldom used guards to look to hopefully play well enough to steal a game at home. The Lakers take the floor against the Spurs for game 3 at home on Friday and it will be interesting to see how the possible future center piece for the Lakers in Howard and the rest of whats left of the team responds.
(USA Today Sports)
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.