The star forward suffered a chest injury against the Memphis Grizzlies in the season opener and was unable to return. The scan indicated that there was a chest contusion and according to head coach Gregg Popovich “it’s unclear when he’ll return”.
This situation forces the Spurs to change their game plan for tonight’s game at the Staples Center.
San Antonio had a clear advantage with the presence of Tim Duncan in the lineup as he would’ve been able to draw Pau Gasol’s attention, leaving Chris Kaman against either Boris Diaw or Tiago Splitter. The absence of “Mr. Fundamental”, however, now forces Popovich to pair the Frenchman and the Brazilian together, something Pau Gasol can exploit easily.
If the Spurs still want to be successful against the Lakers, Tony Parker will have to step his game up. The Frenchman will have a favorable matchup against Steve Nash on offense, and he will have plenty of chances to drive into the lane. He can create chances for himself or pass to an open man outside, where players like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green or Manu Ginobili can take advantage with their shooting.
It’s no secret that the absence of Tim Duncan creates a hole in the Spurs lineup as he’s a proven player that’s also one of the best in their position. The Spurs will have to execute a new game plan against the Lakers, but they have enough to come away with the win once it’s all said and done.