The Lakers are in–but does it really matter???

Pregame warmup for the final regular season game

Pregame warmup for the final regular season game

Utah lost as expected in Memphis earlier on Wednesday so the big incentive for the Lakers was to beat Houston to avoid having to face the much quicker and athletic Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers were far from pretty in missing 12 straight shots at one point in the 4th quarter but fortunately for them, the Rockets played quite ugly themselves so an overtime win sends the Lakers to San Antonio for game one of their best of 7 series on Sunday afternoon.

I had some great postgame locker room chats that unfortunately I won’t be able to share with you since they were messed up by a microphone malfunction. So I’ll post whatever I was able to salvage while missing out on some of the classic responses from Mr. Triple Double Pao Gasol, Steve Blake and Antawn Jamison (the latter two I was able to put together something for you to hear).

Steve Blake coming off his Laker high of 24 points, started out by telling us that his guys must play it from the inside-out (FINALLY!) to have a chance against the Spurs…

Jamison is always a great quote despite not getting to hear his fun responses to some of my questions but here’s the gist of our late night chat…

Guard Jody Meeks didn’t have his best game but continues to contribute nicely off the bench and I got a few minutes to get his thoughts on finally reaching the playoffs…

Earl Clark’s minutes have diminished lately but he told me how confident his guys are to face the Spurs…

And rookie backup center Robert Sacre (who’s always smiling) gave me a few minutes to share his thoughts on his first playoff run…

So no Kobe and SO FAR no problem for the Lakers who are 2-0 since their Hall of Famer went down with a ruptured achilles tendon. But reality sets in immediately against the heavily favored Spurs who have lost only 6 home games this season. Their big BUT is all about health, mostly Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. My key is Parker who if he plays to his usual all-star caliber will make it almost impossible for the Lakers to pull of the big upset. But if he plays anything like his stinky performance in the last Lakers win over the Spurs–anything’s possible. And remember that San Anton closed the season losing 7 of their last 10 games including last Sunday at Staples. FYI, with Kobe the Lakers were 1-2 vs. the Spurs this season and lost by a total of just 5 points in the two losses.

My pick is San Antonio in 5 or 6 games (if the Spurs are hurting) but it would be fun to see the new-look gutty Lakers take them to the limit and see what D’Antoni’s guys are truly all about against a top quality contender. But the reality is that they could easily be swept into the off-season. My Clippers playoff post comes tomorrow including an interview with the voice of the Clips Ralph Lawler.

About Ted Sobel

Award winning sportscaster/journalist covering major events around the world since 1973. Please check out my new book 'Touching Greatness' and deep audio vault---and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@tedsobelsports).
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