A lot has been said about a potential first round playoff matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. Some Spurs fans would love to see L.A. because they think it would be an easy sweep and there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned Laker beat down. Some fans would rather avoid Kobe, Nash, Howard, Gasol and the rest and play a team like the Utah Jazz, who aren’t quite as scary.
Well the chances that the two teams will meet in the postseason took a pretty big hit when Kobe Bryant went down with an ankle injury. We’re still awaiting word on how serious it is, but if Kobe is going to be out for more than a couple of weeks, the odds that the Lakers even make it to the playoffs decrease dramatically.
Of course, there’s always Bill Simmons’ “Ewing Theory” that says a team gets inexplicably better when a star player goes down, but I can’t see that happening here.
For weeks, Kobe has been the leader of this team, doing whatever it takes to will the Lakers to victory. With him going down, not only is it going to be a big blow to the talent level on the court, but they’re also going to lose a lot of momentum that’s been building over the latter half of the season.
I see this as a good thing for the Spurs. I know many people like to say there’s no reason San Antonio should be scared of a team barely over .500, but the matchup with the Jazz, the Rockets or possibly the Warriors is just so much more appealing than facing a team of All-Stars, no matter how over the hill they may be.
Again, there are no guarantees that the Lakers slip out of the top eight seeds, but it’d be hard to say their chances are good without their MVP.