This Sunday the Los Angeles Lakers have an opportunity to silence the critics, to prove their worth and show the league that the Lakers are a franchise to always be feared.
The San Antonio Spurs are talented, and experienced, so clearly defeating them in the series will be no easy task. However, if history has taught us anything, it’s that the Lakers can defeat the Spurs in the playoffs.
But in order for them to accomplish this feat, they’ll have to be next to flawless in all their games. The most pivotal aspect, and a point that I, and many others, have repeatedly made, is that Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard have to keep up the incredible work.
The two big men have been playing the best they have all season, and I’m sure the pressure of the team resting on their shoulders with Kobe Bryant out, has helped immensely in getting them to this point.
Gasol and Howard will absolutely be able to control the post on both the offensive and defensive end. They’ve done it before, they can definitely do it again. However, my suggestion to Mike D’Antoni would be switch Gasol and Howard’s defensive assignments.
When the Spurs play Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan as their center power forward duo, D’Antoni should place Howard on Duncan, and Gasol on Splitter. The reason for this is rather simple.
Duncan has been outstanding on the offensive end this season, but it would be much more difficult for him to score in the low post with the much stronger and faster Howard on his back.
As for Splitter and Gasol, Splitter isn’t known for his offensive game, but rather his rebounding and defense. The advantage of Gasol on Splitter is that Gasol neutralizes both of these attributes. His size allows him to keep pace, and out maneuver Splitter in the rebounding department. Also, if Splitter attempts to play defense on Gasol, Gasol can easily take mid-range shots because they’re out of Splitter’s comfort zone.
Mainly what I’m trying to get at with all this is, don’t be surprised if the Lakers win in six games.