|Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni (C) chats to Pau Gasol of Spain (R) and Dwight Howard during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles April 17, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
MANILA, Philippines – There are a couple of interesting match ups in the NBA’s 2013 Western Conference playoffs, but the Los Angeles Lakers is expected to take most of the spotlight as they go up against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.
The Lakers, who lost star player Kobe Bryant to an injury, gained a playoff berth courtesy of the Utah Jazz’s defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies last Wednesday.
The Lakers then went on to beat the Houston Rockets, giving them the 7th spot in the playoffs against 2nd seed-San Antonio.
“Definitely a lot of the spotlight will pour on the Lakers,” Inquirer columnist Francis Ochoa recently said in an interview on ANC. “The late push for a playoffs spot generated a lot of buzz.”
Ochoa said that despite an injury-plagued lineup, the Lakers have a decent shot against the Spurs.
Although Los Angeles will be missing Bryant, San Antonio has also been struggling with its stars Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker being slowed down by injuries late in the season.
“You can't discount the Lakers because I think they couldn't have a better playoff opponent,” said Ochoa. “It will really give them a good shot to the second round.”
Other pairings will be pitting first seed Oklahoma City against eighth seed Houston, third seed Denver against Golden State and fourth seed LA Clippers against fifth seed Memphis.
Ochoa said the match up between the Thunder and the Rockets will also be interesting because it will pit Houston’s James Harden against his former team mates.
“With James Harden going up against his former team it's really going to be an entertaining match up between the squads because they really get out there to score.”