AT&T Center — Losing your star player right before the postseason begins was probably not what the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to face, as the team saw Kobe Bryant suffer a torn left Achilles injury as they were fighting for a playoff spot against the Warriors.
Yet despite losing Byrant for the season, the Lakers rallied to secure the seventh seed and carry a 5-game winning streak heading into the playoffs which netted them a first round series versus the No. 2 San Antonio Spurs.
Game 1 was went as many expected with the Lakers losing to the Spurs 91-79, however, the Lakers outshot the Spurs (41% to 37%) in the game which should give L.A. some confidence heading into Game 2.
Talking with the media postgame, Pau Gasol says his team has to remain confident without Bryant and just needs a be a little sharper on both ends of the court.
Yeah, I mean you know we have to be confident about it (playing without Bryant) and I think next game is going to be pretty close," said Gasol.
"It (Game 1) was a big game for them, for us. If we're able to be successful and get out of here with a win, it's exactly what our goal was coming in," Gasol said. "The series, as we know, doesn't start until a road team wins and we'll see if we're capable of doing that in the next game — a little sharper and making a couple of more shots."
A little sharper will help the Lakers but won't solves their woes.
Their bench did not do them any favors with them getting outscored by the Spurs' bench 40-10 and though they did outshoot San Antonio in Game 1, it is highly unlikely the Spurs will repeat their poor shooting performance in Game 2.
In addition, the Lakers turned the ball over 18 times and did not contain Manu Ginobili (10 points) in the crucial third quarter which stemmed any L.A. comeback.
It may be just one game but with teams that win the first game of a 7-game series winning over 70% of the series and a bench that looks inferior to the Spurs', the Lakers may need to be more than sharper.
Gasol and the Lakers will get their chance in Game 2 to even up the series but if they are not more than a little sharp, they just might be joining Bryant in an early summer vacation.