At the start of the season, the debate about who would overthrow the Lakers in the West was hardly a debate at all. It was assumed the Lakers would get through the regular season as the top seed in the West and compete for a spot in the NBA Finals, their fourth straight. Their impressive 8-0 start only cemented the belief that no one could overthrow the Lakers reign out West.
What a difference a few months make.
Not only have the Lakers left the door wide open for someone to knock them off their Western Conference Championship perch, but at this point, unless the Spurs suffer injuries or simply fall apart, it looks like the Lakers will concede home-court advantage to them as well.
Perhaps the Lakers feel like they can beat San Antonio without having home-court advantage, after having met so often over the last decade, the Spurs might seem like an ex-wife to the Lakers. Meaning, they know what to expect from the Spurs. Good offense, an even better defense and I’d be surprised if Kobe Bryant couldn’t point out Tim Duncan’s favorite spots on the floor to bank-in a shot off the glass.
Basketball is a game of adjustments and if the Lakers are to succeed against the Spurs, they’ll have to adjust their attack accordingly. Surprise, surprise, these aren’t the same Spurs the Lakers defeated in 2008 to go on to the finals. In fact, they’re not even the same team they met last year in the regular season.
Next: The Spurs shake up the offense, but their defense suffers