No team in NBA history has ever rallied from a 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series, and the Lakers are playing for pride more than anything at this point in the season with such a depleted roster. None of the three games in this series with the Spurs have been very competitive, and Tim Duncan and company put an exclamation point on their dominance in this series with a 120-89 victory in Game three, the worst home loss in Lakers’ playoff history. As the Lakers face injuries to the first four guards in the rotation, the Spurs seem to be peaking at the right time and with good health for their big three.
The odds of a Lakers victory in this series seems doubtful, as the Spurs are clicking on all cylinders on offense while the Lakers struggle to score with players on the perimeter that have played sparingly this season. Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock both showed positive signs, especially Goudelock, who scored ten straight points in a stretch in the second quarter, but it wasn’t even close to enough to keep the Lakers competitive. Furthermore, Metta World Peace is out for Game 4 after his game was affected by ongoing injuries, as was saw in the loss on Friday night.
Keys to Lakers’ Victory:
High Three-Point Shooting Percentage: The Lakers had their best offensive performance in Game 3 of the series and found a couple of half-court sets that were effective. Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard continue to play relatively well down low, and Gasol has continued to thrive in his role as a distributor. However, Gregg Popovich has been gearing up his defense to concede outside jumpers to the Lakers guards, and the strategy has worked well. The Lakers must make more then ten threes in order to stay in the game, and probably need to make somewhere in the range of 50 percent from distance to keep up with the Spurs. Another 4-20 performance from three-point range like they had in Game 3 will result in another blowout.
Force Tony Parker into Jump Shots: This is likely on the scouting report of any team that plays the Spurs, as Tony Parker is consistently near the top of the NBA in points in the paint as well as field goal percentage around the rim. Though Tim Duncan has probably been the best player for the Spurs in the series, they have been able to truly pull away from the Lakers once Parker has gotten into a rhythm offensively with getting into the paint. The Lakers should hedge hard on him with all on-ball screens, or come up with some sort of strategy to get the ball out of his hands.
Continue to Limit Turnovers: The Lakers improved in the turnover department in Game 3, committing only 13. Though this is below their season average, it is likely not good enough to achieve a victory. They will need to be in single digits in this one because if the Spurs get more attempts at the rim, their huge advantage in talent could lead to another runaway victory.
Game 4, First Round, Western Conference
San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
4:00 PM PST, April 28, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet, TNT
Radio: 710 ESPN (English), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Spurs Projected Starting Line-Up
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: DeJuan Blair
C: Tim Duncan
Key Reserves: G Manu Ginobili, G Gary Neal, F/C Matt Bonner
Los Angeles Lakers 0, San Antonio Spurs 3
Game 1: Los Angeles 79 at San Antonio 91
Game 2: Los Angeles 91 at San Antonio 102
Game 3: San Antonio 120 at Los Angeles 89
Game 4: Tonight
*Game 5: April 30th, Los Angeles at San Antonio
*Game 6: May 2, Los Angeles vs. San Antonio
*Game 7: May 4, Los Angeles at San Antonio