Until last week the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs had managed to avoid each other during this hectic NBA season. But like two beauty queens circling the same stage, it was eventual these two rivals were going to wage war. Unfortunately we’ve learned little of how these two teams matchup after two regular season meetings.
Both games have been as one-sided as a political debate between Sarah Palin and Condoleezza Rice. Both contests have also been Mamba-less.
So with Kobe Bryant slated to make his return, both teams gearing up for the playoffs and the season series in the balance, we could be looking at a Lakers-Spurs classic tonight. Or it could be just more of the same.
L.A. looked like they had found a groove without Kobe Bryant until the record skipped to the tune of Tony Parker’s fast feet. Parker reminded us all why Ramon Sessions is an upgrade over Derek Fisher but is still not yet in the elite class of NBA point guards. There was no stopping the French Flash who took the game over, forcing the Lake Show to try and run which is clearly not in their best interest.
Having Kobe back in the mix won’t right all of L.A.’s wrongs but it is a step in the right direction. Above all else the Lakers need Bryant’s competitive edge. Tonight’s game is chance to send a message prior to the start of the playoffs.
With the Spurs battling for the top seed the Lakers are clinging to the third spot, hoping to avoid Memphis. Another win in San Antonio will give the Lakers some swagger back not to mention the confidence of knowing they can win big games on the road.
Should these two teams meet again there will be much more to play for. Not many had the Lakers and Spurs still in the mix for NBA title before the season began. Both teams suffered embarrassing exits from the playoffs and both were being written off as has-beens. Turns out things haven’t changed all that much. Here it is, the end of April, and we’re talking Lakers-Spurs atop the West. Just goes to show you that championship pedigree doesn’t disappear overnight just as it doesn’t appear during an hour-long, televised, free agency decision.