Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after being fouled against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 24, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. Game 3 is Friday night at Staples Center.
Alright, Los Angeles, we won’t sugar coat it. The Lakers are down 2-0 in a best of seven playoffs series. In order to win, they need to win four out of five games against a pretty doggone good San Antonio Spurs team.
The Lakers were already without Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba, due to a torn Achilles. In Kobe’s absence, Steve Blake had stepped up production and assumed the nickname “the Blake Mamba.”
After Game 2, Blake is out indefinitely too.
The Lakers’ backup shooting guard was Jodie Meeks. He’s doubtful with a sprained ankle suffered in Game 1, which forced him to miss Game 2. Steve Nash, who only came back from a hamstring injury for Game 1, tweaked his hamstring and is also doubtful.
For anyone keeping count, there is a strong possibility the Lakers will rotate three guards for Game 3 against the Spurs, and those three guards are Chris Duhon, Darius Morris, and Andrew Goudelock.
Goudelock was name the NBA D-League Most Valuable Player on April 25, so there is that. However, this is not the D-League, and Friday night is not just the NBA; it’s the playoffs.
Excuses aside, the Lakers are back at home, and Dwight Howard is hoping the referees stop calling cheap offensive fouls on him.
“I thought the flopping rule was going to be put in this year, but I guess that’s for next season,” Howard subtly accused the Spurs of flopping.
Beyond whistles, the Lakers need more from their inside advantage. Pau Gasol has been unable to find any shooting rhythm over the past four games—three of which were against San Antonio. Gasol is shooting 22-64 over that stretch which amounts to 34 percent. Excluding the season finale against Houston, Gasol is 15-47, 32 percent, against the Spurs.
The Lakers need scoring on Friday, and that responsibility falls on the lanky frame of their best offensive player: Gasol. The Spaniard was muzzled to 13 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in Wednesday’s Game 2 loss. Simply put, that is not good enough.
The Lakers enter Game 3 with a giant question mark in the backcourt, but to this point, LA has been losing this series due to an inability to dominate inside.
For the Lakers, Game 3 is the season, and if this season is to continue for the Lakers, Howard needs to stay on the floor, and Gasol needs to score the basketball.