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NBA PLAYOFFS / SAN ANTONIO VS. LAKERS / SERIES REPORT
| SPUR REPORT

Looking Past Double Dose of Pressure

May 04, 2003|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

SAN ANTONIO — After surviving the Phoenix Suns' consistent double-teaming of forward Tim Duncan in the low post in the opening round, the Spurs are looking forward to facing the Lakers in the second round. Game 1 is Monday.

The Lakers don't do much double-teaming, preferring to match their strengths against the opposition's strengths.

And the Spurs are OK with that.

"No matter how teams play us, we can take advantage of them," center David Robinson said Saturday after a film session and a workout at the team's suburban practice facility. "The guys have responded well. Phoenix stole that first game and we responded. The young guys stepped up [Thursday in the deciding Game 6].... We've kind of spent the whole season getting ready for this. We've done a great job of taking what other teams have given us."

Added forward Bruce Bowen: "Phoenix didn't have anybody to guard Tim down low. The Lakers don't do a lot of doubling, so it's just a matter of getting back to just playing basketball again."

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The Spurs lost eight of nine games against the Lakers the last two postseasons, but San Antonio swept the season series, 4-0, in 2002-03. Last season, Robinson sat out the first two games of the Lakers' 4-1 series victory and was ineffective when he returned to the court.

"Sitting and watching was tough," he said. "The guys played so well. We probably could have taken the first two games -- not just the first one -- in L.A.... For me, in this series, I just have to dominate the boards and not give Shaq [O'Neal] anything. They've got the rings, but we want them."

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The Lakers were overwhelming winners of the O'Neal-Robinson matchup the last two seasons, using victories over the Spurs as springboards to their second and third consecutive NBA championships.

"We need David to do all he can," Bowen said. "You can't put any kind of measure on it [in terms of points or rebounds]. At the end of every game, if he's done all he can do, then that's all we can ask from him."

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Guard Stephen Jackson suffered an injured right ankle during the Spurs' first-round victory over the Suns, but he rebounded by scoring 21 points Thursday in Game 6 and said Saturday he's fit enough to start Game 1 against the Lakers.

"I'm ready to play," Jackson said, "but I can show you on the court better than I can tell you about it."

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Asked about the addition of Jackson to the rotation and the impact rookie guard Emanuel Ginobili has had on the Spurs this season, point guard Tony Parker told a San Antonio newspaper, "Last year, we just passed it to Timmy [Duncan] and we had no answer.

"This year, I feel like we have a lot of people who can hit big shots at the end of games. We have a lot more weapons."

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