Lakers Mount Massive Comeback to Topple Spurs
How about them Lakers, huh?
The Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter to win Game 1 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, 89-85. The dramatic win could be added to NBA’s Greatest Playoff comebacks as Kobe went from facilitator in the first half to assassin in the second as he scored 25 points in the comeback.
A lot of pundits picked the Spurs to win Game 1 because of its defense and the rhythm they got from beating the young New Orleans Hornets in their semi-final series. It looked like they made the right choice 30 minutes into the game with the Spurs controlling the pace and Tim Duncan making a case for his inclusion in my list of All-time Laker Killers in the playoffs. However, it took 15 minutes of game time for the Lakers to slowly chip in the lead and stun the defending champs is Hollywood fashion.
Now, would anybody dispute the claim the Spurs got tired because of the numbers of games they played and the grounded plane in New Orleans? They looked like they ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. They were outscored 24-13 in that quarter and shot poorly down the stretch. The last jumper MVP Kobe Bryant hit that gave the Lakers its lead in the last minute was a thing of beauty– driving down the lane, creating space between him and Bruce Bowen and swishing the net.
However, Kobe was very passive in the first stages of the game and the Spurs pulled away. The anticipated Pau Gasol-Tim Duncan match-up did not disappoint, but it was clear Duncan had the upper hand. (30 points and 18 rebounds to Gasol’s 19 and 7). Good thing for the Spurs because Duncan masked the relatively poor play of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The Lakers are never advocates of double-teaming so I see Duncan wreaking havoc in the paint throughout the series.
As a fan, I’d be more relieved if the Lakers made short work of the Spurs so they could set-up the NBA Finals everybody have been waiting for– the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Boston Celtics.
[top image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/radhika_bhagwat/]