NBA Playoffs 2013: San Antonio Spurs (2) vs Los Angeles Lakers (7) Preview

Jan 9, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace (15) has his shot blocked by San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during the second half at the AT

Playoff Schedule

Game 1: at SA, Sun., April 21, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Game 2: at SA, Wed., April 24, 9:30 p.m., TNT

Game 3: at LA, Fri., April 26, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 4: at LA, Sun., April 28, 7:00 p.m., TNT

Game 5: at SA, Tue., April 30, TBD*

Game 6: at LA, Thu., May 2, TBD*

Game 7: at SA, Sat.., May 4, TBD*

Season Record

San Antonio Spurs (58-24, Southwest Division Champions) vs Los Angeles Lakers (45-37, third in Pacific Division)

Season Series: 2-1 San Antonio

November 13, 2012 (84-82 for San Antonio)

January 9, 2013 (108-105 for San Antonio)

April 14, 2013 (91-86 for Los Angeles)

Key Matchups

Tony Parker vs Steve Nash

Tim Duncan vs Dwight Howard

Kawhi Leonard vs Metta World Peace

Stat Leaders

Points: Spurs – Tony Parker (20.3), Dwight Howard (17.1)

Rebounds: Spurs –  Tim Duncan (9.9), Dwight Howard (12.4)

Assists: Spurs – Tony Parker (7.6), Steve Nash (6.7)

Fun Fact

The Los Angeles Lakers are 34-18 all-time in playoff games against the San Antonio Spurs, dating all the way back to 1982.

Why the San Antonio Spurs will win this series:

A series victory for the Spurs isn’t a given. Over their last 20 games, San Antonio is playing .500 basketball. Over their last 10 games, the Spurs are just 3-7. However, in that span, several players, including Manu Ginobili (who will be good to go come Sunday), Tiago Splitter and Tony Parker have seen fewer minutes. If the entire roster was healthy, they could have easily clinched the top-seed in the Western Conference. If Kobe Bryant hadn’t torn his achilles, I might be singing an entirely different tune on this matchup. However, that’s not the case. San Antonio also has home-court advantage in this series, which is huge considering they were 35-6 at the AT&T Center this season. The Lakers were just 16-25 on the road, so if this series does go seven, the Spurs should be considered the favorites, just on home-court advantage alone.

How the Los Angeles Lakers can pull off the upset:

Los Angeles is riding some serious momentum for the time being, having won all but one game in the month of April, including their last two at home to clinch the seventh seed in the Western Conference. If Steve Nash can get on the court and be the Nash of old, the entire dynamic of this team changes. He would have more flexibility as far as distributing the basketball goes, with Bryant being hurt and all. That’s where the two-time league MVP really shines. Let him run the offense and get his fellow shooters some open-looks. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol will get their touches down low, but they are going to need some assistance around them to take this series from the Spurs. Stay healthy, get the ball in transition and hope for the best.

Final Prediction: San Antonio Spurs in six

Chris Walder is the Editor of Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter at @WalderSports

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Topics: Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Playoffs, San Antonio Spurs, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker

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