On San Antonio: Can the sizzling Spurs really give the Lakers a run in the West?
David Aldridge: They’re one wing player short: someone who could team with RJ to make Kobe work for points. What’s Tayshaun doing?
Steve Aschburner: Sure the Spurs can push and even threaten the Lakers in the West. The pace of the playoffs suits them more than any other team – even though they’re winning games fast or slow this season, in both double and triple digits. They play as a unit better than the Lakers, even if they don’t have quite the same skill level or star power. Richard Jefferson is having the season he was supposed to have a year ago. Tim Duncan, despite reduced numbers, remains as dangerous in a playoff series as an alligator with only its eyes and nostrils breaking the surface. And if Andrew Bynum can’t return with any reliability for L.A. inside, the presumed size disadvantage diminishes. Key, as usual, is staying healthy and fresh enough until May.
Art Garcia: Um, yeah. The only other current collection of peers with a championship pedigree matching — surpassing? — the Lakers reside in South Texas. Timmy, Manu, Tony and Pop own 14 rings between them. They’re haven’t forgotten how to win — 12-1 anyone? The Spurs are deeper, with a younger and more dynamic supporting cast, and they play the best team basketball this side of, well, the Lakers.
Fran Blinebury: No question the Spurs are a real threat to the Lakers, much more than the Hornets.. For one, the trio of Duncan–Ginobili–Parker is all healthy together for the first time in several years. Last year’s acquisitions of Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess have had a year to adapt to the Spurs’ way of doing things and so they’re more comfortable and productive. In DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal and James Anderson, they have real depth. And in Tiago Splitter they’ve got another big defender against the Lakers’ front line.
Scott Howard-Cooper: The Lakers at their best beat anybody else at their best. But if San Antonio is going to continue to put pressure on defenses with this kind of scoring output, the threat grows. Everybody already knows the Spurs will rebound and play defense. This isn’t their ideal defensive start, but that isn’t usually much of a problem for them.
Shaun Powell: Yes, yes, yes. Tim Duncan is once again on auto-pilot until the post-season, while Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are showing they still have what it takes to give the Spurs a legit Big Three. You also have to thank whoever woke up Richard Jefferson. But the question posed here is whether the Spurs can give the Lakers a run, not if the Spurs can beat the Lakers. A run? Yes, yes, yes. Beat? No, no, no
John Schuhmann: Give them a run? Sure. Insert standard “if they’re healthy” caveat here. Four weeks into the season, it seems like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili still have plenty left in the tank. Richard Jefferson is much more comfortable this season, and that also makes a big difference. The Spurs are one of the few teams in the league that can be great on both ends of the floor, and they match up pretty well with the Lakers. L.A. is still better though.
Sekou Smith: Save the Geritol jokes, please. Yes they can. In fact, the Spurs, Mavericks and Thunder all look like they can give the Lakers a “run” in the West. I don’t know that any one of them looks like they could top the Lakers but they could certainly give it a shot. The Spurs’ hot start is only part of their appeal for me. All the ingredients are there. They have a core group that is just as or more accomplished than any other crew in the league, they have quality role players that know to stay in their lanes and they have Gregg Popovich on the bench. Obviously, they need Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to stay as healthy as humanly possible. But all of their other working parts seem to be in order for at least one more title run.