Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/6/14
A first round matchup of two historically successful franchises, especially in the past 15 years.  Can the Lakers find an answer without Kobe Bryant?  Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol were able to get it done at the end of the year and sneak into the playoffs.  Meanwhile, the Spurs are back for more.  They just don’t stop. What San Antonio needs to do to win: Tony Parker.  The outcome of this series will depend on him.  At this stage of both of their careers, Parker is better than Steve Nash.  The Spurs need to use the young legs they have to outplay the Lakers.  Duncan is old but they have young players in Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter.  Overall, the Lakers have been a lousy defensive team this season.  The Spurs will surely take advantage of a team that doesn’t emphasize defense.  They have a highly efficient offense that shoots the second best percentage in the league. What L.A. needs to do to win: Dwight Howard needs to be the heart and soul of their defense and Pau Gasol needs to be the man on offense.  Even without Kobe, the Lakers have respectable talent in Dwight, Gasol, and Nash.  Howard needs to be completely focused and deny Tim Duncan in the post.  If the Lakers’ bigs can outplay Tim Duncan, this could turn into a great series.  The Lakers will not win if they don’t get back in transition.  Tony Parker will fly right by them and score every time.  It all starts with Dwight Howard sprinting back on defense so he can prevent any easy layups. Key Matchups: Tim Duncan vs. Dwight Howard: Duncan has been much more consistent than Howard this season.  But this is a chance for Howard to start over and change things.  Howard is younger, stronger, and more athletic.  Duncan will get his points because of how skilled he is in the post.  However, if Howard puts in 100 percent effort then it will tire out Tim Duncan and reduce his impact on offense. Tony Parker vs. Steve Nash: Nash hasn’t yet been cleared to play in Game 1 but let’s assume he’s playing.  Nash can’t guard Tony Parker.  That’s a fact.  But if the Lakers play a zone then Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard will light them up from three-point range.  Nash needs to do as much as he can on offense.  He should average 10 assists and make everyone around him better.  Tony Parker should try to burn Nash as much as possible. Pau Gasol could be the difference: Pau Gasol had an unbelievable game in the Lakers’ season finale with 17 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists.  Gasol can get his shot off at almost any time but he also has spectacular court vision.  The Lakers’ offense will probably run through him and he can’t let them down. Prediction: Spurs in Six Games
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Pilar Sanders posts audio of children saying Deion is abusive

Kobe Bryant dishes on trash talk with Dwight Howard

Raiders owner Mark Davis: 'We want to stay here in Oakland'

Terrance Knighton: Broncos fans are ‘high-maintenance'

Ex-NFL player delivers own baby on North Carolina farm

USC players not happy about Josh Shaw reinstatement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

FSU student: Books stopped bullets from hitting me

Jets-Bills game could be moved to Detroit, Toronto, New Jersey

Michael Vick wants to play at least two more years

NHL's Jack Johnson is bankrupt, parents mostly responsible

Michael Phelps' self-proclaimed girlfriend was born a man

Report: LeGarrette Blount 'expected to sign' with Patriots

Raiders fans take out ad calling for Hue Jackson return

Eagles broadcaster has Cowboys turkey for Thanksgiving

Nick Young on his swag: 'I’m like Michael Jackson, Prince'

Le'Veon Bell adds Steelers o-line to award candidacy picture

Ranking the NBA's most exciting rookies

Steve Smith drops fantastic line about playing in prime-time

Five NFL teams we still have no clue about

Ten NFL coaches who would be fired if season ended today

ESPNU reporter makes tasteless 'joke' about FSU shooting

WATCH: Jason Kidd returns to chorus of boos in Brooklyn

James Harden wears ridiculous shirt; Twitter reacts

Top storyline for each Week 12 NFL game

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Phelps' alleged GF born a man?

Bears considered benching Cutler?

Can Cardinals win a Super Bowl with Drew Stanton?

Steeler: Blount's release a blessing

WATCH: Carter moved by tribute

Giancarlo Stanton and the cost of becoming a boss

Report: Sandoval headed to Red Sox

VIDEO: HBO's 'Under The Lights' is a must watch

Brady: Belichick not as he seems

The NFL Chick gloriously interviews for the Gators head coach job

NBA's first openly gay player to retire

Vonn shares Tiger's outrage over Golf Digest 'interview'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.