These two teams split the regular season battle, 2-2, with each side winning the home games. However, the first game in LA was a 5 point loss without Duncan and Parker. The second game in LA was an 11 point loss without Ginobili. Gasol was also there for that final game, although he only played for 28 minutes. This isn’t such a dramatic effect for the Spurs though, as they know the Lakers system, and they’ve faced Gasol more than a few times too. It is harder on the Lakers, who are still feeling each other out a little bit. Watch the Lakers lose this series for the same reason the Celtics won’t beat Detroit, they simply haven’t been together long enough. The Laker bench is also weak, especially compared to a San Antonio bench that is just starting to wake up. Spurs in 5.
Michael De Leon
Gasol, defensively is soft and can’t handle Tim Duncan, nor can Lamar Odom. After two very frustrating series against Shaq, Amare, David West and Tyson Chandler, I expect Tim Duncan to have a great series scoring easily when he wants to. If the Lakers double him, Duncan is a great passer out of the post and the Spurs shooters have shown that they can knock down shots. My x-factor for this series is Tony Parker. If Tony can get to the basket consistently, which I think he can due to an older and slower Derek Fisher guardig him, he gives the Spurs a good chance to win this series. Kobe is Kobe and he’ll get his points, but he’ll have to work for them with Bruce Bowen guarding him. not only that, but the SPurs have never had another defensive stopper off the bench to relieve Bowen like they do now with Ime Udoka. The biggest question mark I have is how the Spurs will guard Lamar Odom. Either way, I think the spurs match up with the Lakers pretty well and will win this series in 7 to get back to the NBA Finals and defend their crown.