Odds LA Lakers Claw Their Way out of 2-0 Hole vs. San Antonio Spurs

Down 2-0 to a healthy, championship-caliber San Antonio Spurs team, the Los Angeles Lakers are facing some pretty long odds as they try to make a series of their first-round matchup.

Things didn't always seem so grim, though.

Coming into the postseason, the Lakers appeared to have a decent shot at a Round 1 upset. After all, they'd notched eight victories in their final nine games, and even knocked off the Spurs themselves in the second-to-last game of the regular season.

Sure, the loss of Kobe Bryant to a torn Achilles put a damper on a strong finish, but that win over San Antonio did come without No. 24, and L.A. had appeared to stumble onto a new identity in the absence of its iconic star.

Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, both suddenly healthy at the same time, gave L.A. a devastatingly effective interior tandem. Gasol functioned expertly as the team's facilitator, averaging a whopping 6.6 assists per game in April.

Plus, Howard's back finally looked good. His lift had returned, and he was reaping the benefits of Gasol's unselfish setups.

For all that, though, it never appeared that the Lakers had more than a puncher's chance against a deeper Spurs team that was getting healthy at the right time.

The lack of Bryant and Steve Nash's reduced effectiveness meant that the Lakers were entering a difficult series, with a thin roster that had been pushed to the limit just to make the postseason.

And now, the injuries have continued to pile up.

Steve Blake's hamstring and Jodie Meeks' ankle could keep them both out for the foreseeable future, which means L.A.'s backups in the backcourt now share something with the team's starters: They're injured.

Plus, without any real perimeter threats (aside from a clearly hobbled and barely effective Nash), the Lakers don't have enough offensive balance to make the Spurs nervous about packing the paint. If...

About the Author