Who Should Be More Worried About Their Game 1 Loss: Spurs Or Lakers?
When the NBA Playoffs opened up this weekend, it was assumed the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs would crush their first round opponents. Boy, were we wrong. With the Lakers losing to the depleted Hornets by a score of 109-100 and the San Antonio Spurs dropping the first game in their series with the Memphis Grizzlies by the score of 101-98, you have to wonder which team should be more concerned.
The answer is the Spurs.
The Lakers should have thumped the Hornets, who were without David West. But the Lakers looked listless, like a team needing a nap before getting things going. The bigs came up short as Pau Gasol could only muster up a 2-for-9 performance and a measly six rebounds. Meanwhile, Chris Paul torched the Lakers with a performance that came straight out of a video game. A 33 point, 14 assist, 7 rebound and 4 steal performance filled up the stat sheets and helped the Hornets pull off a major upset. Nobody expected the Hornets to win a single game, but now they’ve already exceeded expectations.
However, the San Antonio Spurs performance is a bit more alarming for several reasons. It wasn’t like Memphis did something completely out of the ordinary. Zach Randolph poured in a 25 point, 14 rebound performance. Conley, Mayo and Allen did their thing. Gasol definitely showed out with 24 and 9. But it was the fact that the Spurs played like the Spurs and lost that raises a flag. Tim Duncan went 16 and 13 while Tony Parker had 20 and 5. They were obviously missing Manu Ginobli on the floor. But the problem here is the fact that the Spurs can’t have these early series extend beyond 5 games, especially considering they will be playing the younger and faster Thunder or Nuggets in the next round. Their old bones may not be able to take it. What the Spurs can’t risk doing is losing a home game as the #1 seed and then be concerned about the Grizzlies taking another one away from them before its all said and done.
The Lakers should definitely be worried, but nobody really expects for them to have a bad game two. If Gasol wakes up, there isn’t much that the Hornets can do to stop them. The Lakers don’t have a walk in the park, should they get past the Hornets, as they are looking at either Dallas or Portland. But San Antonio is the team that represent the old dogs in the playoffs. Losing and extending series against young teams is problematic when people like Tim Duncan need as much time off as possible.
Do we expect either team to be upset? Nope. But when the top two seeds in the west lose their first game in the series, all kinds of red flags wave in the air. It’s not going to get any easier.