As the Playoffs Approach, the Lakers Emerge as Heavy Favorites

The San Antonio Spurs have held the top seed in the Western Conference for the majority of the season, and it seemed as though they would challenge the Lakers for the crown. The Spurs have been an upper echelon team for nearly a decade and they have been the Lakers biggest threat year in and year out. However, no one expected the old Spurs to emerge as one of the best teams in league since their “Big 3” was nearing retirement.

The Spurs were a major disappointment last season, as they were trying to integrate several new players into their system. However, this season the Spurs and Gregg Popovich have decided to abandon their long-lasting style of play, and instead have adopted a more offensive oriented scheme. In addition to their new found offense, the Spurs are relying less on Tim Duncan and they are trying to preserve their hall-of-famer’s energy and endurance.

San Antonio came out of the gates on fire, and they were knocking off the league’s best teams with little turbulence or problems. In their first meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers the Spurs pleased their home-crowd by beating their rivals 97-82. As the season went on the Spurs maintained a healthy roster, and they were looking forward to a strong playoff run. With the Lakers looking complacent and struggling in certain stretches of the season, it seemed as though the Spurs would win the West in 2011.

However, unlike the Spurs who had a healthy team and were playing their best basketball, the Lakers had yet to play with a completely fresh roster and they were still not living up to their full potential. Once the Lakers began to realize what was at stake, they cranked up their focus and intensity. The Spurs once had a double-digit advantage on the Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference; however, that cushion has dwindled down to a mere 2.5 game lead.

The Lakers are playing like a championship team and it goes to show that this team, when focused, is the most dangerous squad in the league. To further exemplify their unprecedented amount of talent and potential, the Lakers dominated the Spurs in a nationally televised game in San Antonio, 99-83 in a game in which they led by 27 points at half-time.

It is clear that the Lakers are devoted to both ends of the court and if they are fully focused on their goal, another championship is inevitable.

Lakers Rout Spurs in San Antonio



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