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Tuesday, May 6
 
Dr. Jack's Breakdown: Lakers vs. Spurs

By Dr. Jack Ramsay
Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: Dr. Jack Ramsay, whose Hall of Fame head coaching resume includes making the playoffs in 16 of his 20 seasons and winning an NBA title with Portland in 1977, breaks down the playoff matchups for ESPN.com. Throughout the 2003 postseason, Dr. Jack will analyze each series all the way through to the NBA Finals.

BACKCOURT EDGE
Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant have a decided advantage over Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson because of Kobe's presence. Fisher averaged 15.5 points per game in the Timberwolves series and shot 61.8 percent from behind the arc. In Game 1 of this series he shot 3-for-7 and scored 10 points, but Fisher is tenacious and will bounce back. Meanwhile, Bryant is a great defender who can score constantly and is not afraid to take a game over. His 37 points in Game 1 were off 38 shots and only two free throws. Kobe will rebound big from that game.

FRONTCOURT EDGE
Losing Devean George and Rick Fox is a big hit for the Lakers. The Spurs have three very good defenders and rebounders in Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Bruce Bowen who will able to focus more on Shaquille O' Neal. Shaq is the most dominant player in the game, but with Robert Horry and Mark Madsen in the starting lineup, he may have to shoulder too much of the load. Horry is too inconsistent to be counted on to guard Duncan and Robinson. That leaves Shaq with a larger responsibility than he's used to defensively.

BENCH EDGE
Emanuel Ginobili and Malik Rose and Speedy Claxton are three very capable guys coming off the Spurs' bench. They all have the ability to score and Kevin Willis can bang with Shaq in the low post. Ginobili was especially effective in Game 1 with 15 points in 30 minutes of play. Rose had a very good series against the Suns and led all scorers with 27 in Game 5 of that series. He also does a very good job defending Shaq in spot duty. The Lakers don't have enough coming off their bench to stay with the Spurs.

INTANGIBLES EDGE
The Lakers have to get scoring from players other than their big two. They had an uncharacteristic 19 turnovers in Game 1 that the Spurs were able to score 21 points. Surprisingly, the Lakers had a 57-45 rebounding advantage in Game 1; that can only help them if they can keep it up. San Antonio has to keep its turnovers down and start making its free throws. The Spurs had only 11 turnovers in the first game and that's perfect for them, but they only shot 60 percent from the line. That number has to increase at least to their season mark of 72 percent for them to win this series.

PREDICTION
Spurs in seven. The Lakers need scoring from guys not named Shaq or Kobe to win this series, and with the injuries they've suffered, it won't happen. Kobe and Shaq took 58 of the Lakers' 86 shots in Game 1. They can't win if those two guys have to shoot that much.

Lakers
Los Angeles

50-32

Roster
Playoff History

San Antonio
San Antonio

60-22

Roster
Playoff History

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 ALSO SEE


• Dr. Jack's Breakdown: Kings vs. Mavericks

• Dr. Jack's Breakdown: 76ers vs. Pistons

• Dr. Jack's breakdowns: Celtics vs. Nets


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