It isn’t often that any sports fan can give credit to the pundits, analysts and experts of the sports we watch. More often than not, we can’t stand the Phil Simms’ or Clark Kellogg’s or the Stephen A Smith’s of the sports world yet once in a great while one of these guys will actually say something that makes sense even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.
What this analyst said earlier this week was obviously powerful because ‘Mike and Mike in the Morning’ of ESPN were gabbing about it for several segments. It certainly doesn’t take much for them to start to blathering but I found what they had to say about the comments of Earvin “Magic” Johnson to be intriguing and they were right to devote the time they did to it.
Earlier this week, Johnson, as part of his duty as an analyst for the NBA sounded like a real homer when he said, “If the Lakers get into the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs and play the San Antonio Spurs, they will beat the Spurs.”
Because Magic was of course one of the all-time great Lakers this comment comes off a bit skewed. It may in fact be quite accurate and I think he did an excellent job of backing his statement up when he said “The NBA Playoffs are about match-ups. The Lakers do not play well against athletic teams but they do play well against older, less athletic teams which is what the Spurs are.”
Do I think the Lakers would beat the Spurs in a seven-game series right now in the first round? No I don’t but I truly believe Magic Johnson has an excellent point about match-ups because no other sport is dictated more by them, with a slight exception to football, than the basketball.
Toss in the fact that you have a San Antonio team that has slowed down recently from their incredibly torrid pace of several weeks ago and the possibility of stars Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan being less than 100% and I don’t find Magic’s statement all that hard to believe.
I do believe Kobe Bryant’s performance inPortlandWednesday night was a bit misleading because the Blazers were basically without four guys who contribute mightily to their team. Still, his performance and that of Pau Gasol was pretty damn good and if those two are playing well then look out.
Gasol playing well takes pressure off of Dwight Howard who can just simply ‘play’ and not worry about doing too much. These three guys would be a match-up nightmare for the Spurs under any circumstance.
Obviously there is a tremendous amount of conjecture and ‘what-ifs’ going on here because heading into last night, the Lakers and Jazz each have three games remaining and the Lakers have a one game lead. Should they be tied after 82 games,Utahowns the tie-breaker.
So while it’s nice to sit here and discuss just how far the Lakers can go in this playoff season, we should probably wait until they actually make the playoffs first. Let’s assume they do. What does this mean for you as a potential bettor?
What it means is that you should strongly consider following Magic Johnson’s advice in regards to a first round upset. It also means you shouldn’t take the Lakers to advance much further however especially if they play the Clippers or Thunder in round number two.
Match-ups are a major part of success in the NBA so I think it’s important to consider that if you are laying some cash on the Lakers or any NBA playoff team for that matter. Just think ‘Knicks vs Heat’ in terms of match-ups because the Knicks are 3-1 againstMiamithis year. Choose wisely my friends.