Lakers v Spurs Game 2 Tonight: 3 Things to Look for From Lakers

los angeles lakers v san antonio spurs first round series. Tim Duncan in a crowd of lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers first round series versus the San Antonio Spurs continues tonight in San Antonio. The Lakers made the game somewhat interesting on Sunday but were just never able to really threaten the Spurs. Here are some things to look for in tonight’s game, as well as all of the game info, as the Lakers try to tie the series up before returning to Los Angeles on Friday.

Game info:

San Antonio Spurs lead series 1-0 over the Los Angeles Lakers

Wednesday, 4/24/13

AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX

Time: 6:30 pm Pacific Time / 9:30 pm Eastern Time

National TV: TNT   Local TV: TWC Sportsnet, TWC Deportes

Line: Lakers +9

Three things to look for in tonight’s Game 2 from the Lakers:

Steve Nash’s playing time:

The Lakers were a +2 when Steve Nash was the floor Sunday afternoon against the Spurs. Nash returning to action for the first time in 8 games played 29 minutes and looked relatively healthy. Nash moved well and didn’t seem to favor his sore hamstring. The Lakers need to create space for the bigs and Nash is the only dynamic offensive player remaining on the Lakers roster with the ability to create havoc out in the perimeter. Nash missed some open jumpers Sunday that are usually automatic for him. Look for Nash to get an increase in playing time tonight.

Rebounding:

The Lakers won the rebounding battle against the Spurs Sunday, 44 to 43. However, rebounding is the one area where the Lakers should dominate over the Spurs and will need to increase their edge on the boards in tonight’s game. The Lakers led the league in total rebounds per game at 54.6; the Spurs who struggled all year rebounding the ball, were ranked 24th in the NBA in total rebounds per game at 48.9.

Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol did their job on the boards as they combined for 31 of the Lakers 44 rebounds on Sunday. The Lakers will need to get more help on the boards from the rest of the Lakers squad to increase their advantage over the Spurs on the boards.

Entry passes into the Post:

The Lakers lacking any type of effective perimeter play since Kobe Bryant‘s injury, they are dependent on getting their offense from the post. The issue with that is that the Spurs are fully aware of this and are working hard to deny the Lakers the entry pass into the post to Howard and Gasol. The Spurs are also one of the best teams in the NBA at defending the post. The Spurs gave up a paltry 39.4 percent shooting in the post on the regular season, per Synergy Sports.

The Lakers had 27 plays in the post on Sunday but only 6 resulted in baskets. With the Spurs sending guards to double the bigs in the post and swipe at the ball, it forced 10 turnovers from Howard and Gasol combined. Those turnovers n the post contributed to the massive edge in fast break points for the Spurs of 17 to 2. The Lakers had 18 turnovers overall.

The Lakers can’t afford to go away from the post because they don’t have many other options offensively. Look for the Lakers to find new ways of getting the ball to Howard and Gasol, likely with more pick and rolls and penetration from Steve Nash. If Steve Nash can be effective on the perimeter in the pick and roll and knock down some outside shots it might create the much needed space for the Lakers’ bigs to operate effectively  in the post.

– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern” and “@raining3sdotcom