Preview: Lakers vs. Spurs -- Game 3
The Lakers (45-37) get a crack at the San Antonio Spurs (58-24) at Staples Center on Friday in Game 3 of their first-round playoff matchup.
The Spurs have won the first two games, and now the Lakers face an uphill battle in upsetting San Antonio with Steve Blake out indefinitely (hamstring), Steve Nash (hamstring and hip) doubtful, Jodie Meeks doubtful (ankle) and Kobe Bryant (Achilles) out for months.
Against Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the Spurs, the Lakers may play a backcourt of Chris Duhon, Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock.
If the Lakers had long odds without Bryant, they’ve got almost no chance without Nash, Blake and Meeks.
Nash has received two epidural shots into his back to help with nerve issues and a cortisone shot into his hip. He’s doubtful for Friday’s contest, but if he does play, how much can he give?
Morris might get the start, the better defensive matchup against Parker. Although Morris is inexperienced as a floor leader, he has the potential to stick with Parker -- more so than Nash.
Duhon is a poor defender but has more experience running a team’s offense.
The Spurs have a clear advantage in Parker, whose game is starting to improve after struggling with neck and shin injuries.
Goudelock was just named MVP of the NBA Development League, but is he ready to play major minutes in a playoff game against the Spurs?
Unless Meeks can get back from his ankle injury on Friday, Goudelock may be starting.
The Lakers can try other players such as Metta World Peace (still slowed by a knee injury), Earl Clark or the seldom-used Devin Ebanks. Morris could also get time playing next to Duhon.
Ginobili hurt the Lakers in the first two games. Whenever he’s on the floor, the Lakers need to have a defender attached to his hip.
The Lakers couldn’t shoot a lick in Game 1. Dwight Howard was in foul trouble in Game 2.
By Game 3, the Lakers are likely to have a skeleton crew of a backcourt.
Given the devastating injuries to the Lakers, San Antonio may end up with a sweep.
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