Heading into the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs looked to be a more favorable matchup for the Lakers than some other contenders, partly because of their health.
Both Manu Ginobili (hamstring) and Tony Parker (neck, shin) were banged up to finish the regular season. If neither were on their game, perhaps the Lakers would be able to pull off an upset despite being without Kobe Bryant (Achilles).
Of course once the game tipped off, Ginobili and Parker managed 18 points apiece to lead their team to a Game 1 victory.
Ginobili broke open the battle Sunday late in the third with two three-pointers. Parker’s eight assists led both teams — his penetration was a difficult cover for the Lakers.
While Ginobili shot well (46.2% from the field and 60% from three-point range), Parker hit just 38.1% overall.
The Lakers did a strong job defensively against the Spurs, holding San Antonio to just 37.6% shooting from the field.
The difference offensively for the Spurs was Ginobili. If he’s going to be a reliable, productive scorer for San Antonio, the Lakers may not like the matchup after all.