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NBA PLAYOFFS SAN ANTONIO VS. LAKERS SERIES REPORT /
OTHER VIEWS

When They Meet, It's Never Close

May 09, 2003|Buck Harvey | San Antonio Express-News

A reader calls me the Dixie Chicks of sportswriters.

Love the Spurs or leave them.

But two games into this series, I'm not ready to pose nude for a national magazine to win back the mob.

I'm instead ready to toss another unpopular thought into the fray. This one ties the past to the present, and it's about so-called showdowns that disappoint.

Ready?

It's too bad this Spur-Laker series looks as one-sided as the others were.

Several of you will curse this opinion. Several of you will e-mail as you did earlier this week after I picked the Lakers in 6. "Benedict Buck" read one.

Of all of the e-mails, this is my favorite. "I have today's paper," a reader wrote, "and my little boy is stomping on your picture."

My own 9-year-old daughter disagreed with my prediction too, which was the first sign that I might be wrong. She's always right.

She's now hoping for the sweep, as are another million people in Bexar County. And so no one wants to hear the next Dixie-like opinion, that it would be nice to see a fun series for a change.

The Lakers think it's still possible, but then they still point to the refs as their ruin. Hand it to Shaq. He's consistent at rebounding and being petty.

Robert Horry took a more traditional tact. "Right now the Spurs did what they're supposed to do," he said, "so we're not in any trouble."

Normally that makes sense. The Spurs simply held home court, and now it's the Lakers' turn.

And given that these are the three-time champs -- and that Shaq and Kobe Bryant are still healthy -- they can never be dismissed. That opinion sounds somewhat familiar, doesn't it?

But there are signs that the Lakers have what the Spurs have had before. First broken bones, then broken apart.

But 2001 is most similar to this year. The Spurs had been unable to defend their title the year before. Tim Duncan's knee injury had something to do with that.

The Lakers were coming off their first title then, as well as their asterisk talk. This was the match everyone had waited for, two defending champs in a sense.

Just for the record: I smartly picked the Spurs then.

But Sean Elliott was never the same after his transplant, and then came the injury. Just as Rick Fox went down in the first round this season, Derek Anderson went down in the first round against Dallas.

This has the same look. Shaq appears to be one offensive foul from quitting for the summer, and the others don't know what to do.

San Antonio won't care about the details if this continues, just as L.A. didn't three years ago. But if the Spurs go on to sweep, then the losing team in these four series will have won but a single game.

Call me crazy. Call me a Dixie Chick.

But shouldn't something dramatic happen when the Spurs play the Lakers?

Buck Harvey can be reached at bharvey@express-news.net.

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