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Morning Shootaround: Game 3, Spurs-Lakers

By Jeff Koch on April 26, 2013.

Whoa. What a couple of days off the court.

Lots of big news in the series and in the NBA at large, so let’s jump in.

• The Lakers are decimated, and just keep falling. Steve Blake is out; Steve Nash is out; Jodie Meeks is out. The Lakers will be starting a backcourt of two players nobody outside of Los Angeles (and most inside, probably) knows. One of the Lakers only chances to upset the Spurs was by going on an extensive hot shooting streak from outside, and their two best shooters just left the series.

The two big guys are and still remain dangerous, but there is no reason that this Lakers team should take a game from us now. These next two games at Staples Center will be a great test to see where the Spurs are truly at, if they can close out in 4 against a desperate but weakened opponent, or if they lose focus, drop a game, and unnecessarily extend the series. The Spurs have a real chance of finishing this in 4, and then having a few extra days for rest, preparation, and to continue getting healthy.

(Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle)

• Speaking of health, news is coming out this morning that Russell Westbrook had surgery this morning for a torn meniscus, and is possibly (likely?) out for the remainder of the playoffs. This is a huge blow to the Thunder, and immediately throws the West wide open, with the Spurs the likely prohibitive favorites. You never want to see a game or series or season upset by injury, but it’s a prevalent aspect of all sports, and it’s often just as important to be lucky/healthy as it is to be good. The Spurs have had poor luck with health in the playoffs many times. This season, it appears we could be getting healthy at just the right time.

As much as this helps the Spurs, I wanted a healthy Thunder team, because I think we could have taken them. But who knows… Westbrook could be back by then. And if this season has taught us anything, every team is vulnerable to injury. The Conference Finals are a long way off; one series at a time, one game at a time, one quarter at a time, one play at a time.

Game 3 is tonight; Go Spurs Go.

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