Kobe-less Lakers hope to stop Duncan, Spurs

by Terence Chin

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Prediction: Spurs in 5

This is a typical classic Western Conference playoff matchup between two great franchises. The Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs will meet for the 12th time in NBA playoff history. Since 1999, these teams combined to win nine NBA championship titles, with the Lakers at a 5-4 advantage. Everyone questions how the Lakers will fare in these playoffs without Kobe Bryant, a 15-time NBA All-Star and five-time NBA champion. Bryant suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tendon tear just two games before the end of the season. For the Lakers, point guard Steve Nash returns after missing the final eight games of the season with a hamstring and hip injury. For the Spurs, it begins with their veteran presence and franchise player Tim Duncan. Duncan will need Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to stay healthy throughout the playoffs if the Spurs hope to make a run for the title. The question coming into this series for the Spurs is how healthy the team is. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili each missed more than 13 games this season. I expect the Lakers to put up a fight, but without Bryant, their title hopes are slim.

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