Spurs guard Manu Ginobili looks to wrap a pass around the defense of Lakers… (Eric Gay / Associated Press )
Can the Lakers come back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA playoffs?
Not without Kobe Bryant, according to TNT and NBA TV analysts.
"I don't think they can beat the Spurs four times," said Steve Kerr during a conference call Monday. "My guess is that it will be a five-game series; the Lakers will get one."
Bryant is sidelined with a torn left Achilles' tendon, out for a minimum of six to nine months. The Lakers lost Game 1 to the Spurs, 91-79, on Sunday in San Antonio without him.
"As good as Dwight [Howard] and Pau [Gasol] played in Game 1 ... they still kind of need to play out of their minds to be super-dominant," said Dennis Scott. "I'm not sure they can do that right now, at this point in the season, after what they've gone through all season long."
What can the Lakers do, if anything?
"They've got to play inside-out. They've got to pound San Antonio inside and then make threes from the perimeter," said Kerr. "They're not a great three-point shooting team but they've got some guys who are capable. If they can get hot with [Antawn] Jamison and [Steve] Nash and [Steve] Blake and maybe [Jodie] Meeks, and take care of the ball, and not be so vulnerable in transition like they've been all year. ..."
"Then Steve, they lose by 10," interrupted Kenny Smith.
"What I was going to say, is maybe they lose in six games, if they can do all of that a couple of times," finished Kerr.
The Lakers did beat the Spurs, 91-86, on April 14 without Bryant, but Spurs guard Manu Ginobili sat out that game with a hamstring strain. While Ginobili played only 19 minutes in Game 1, he tied Tony Parker with 18 points as the team's leading scorer.
The Lakers did challenge San Antonio defensively, holding the Spurs to 37.6% shooting from the field. Now the Lakers need to find some offense, especially from the outside to open up the game for Howard and Gasol.
"They definitely don't have the luxury of hitting the switch, like some of the better teams do," added Scott.
Kerr wasn't impressed by the team's regular season. He doesn't see how the Lakers can suddenly elevate their game against a very dangerous Spurs team.
"They haven't been a great team all year," Kerr said of L.A. "I don't see why they would be a great team now."
Game 2 is Wednesday night in San Antonio.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.