Please, let’s not talk about the foul-or-no-foul no-call at the end of the last game, let’s just focus on the game at hand.

Pertinent Facts

Lakers are 2-0 in close out games.
Lakers are 7-0 at home.

Lakers rotation age average: Young.

Spurs rotation age average: Old.

Now, I know a huge deal has been made about the aging Spurs, but the truth is this is their last time around with this current roster (well, current supporting cast) and you have to feel that they’re going to give it their all in Game 5.

Marquee Matchups -

Point Guard – Derek Fisher vs. Tony Parker: Apart from the incident of which we shall not speak, Fisher has been playing very good defense on Tony Parker. Parker may get his mandatory 2-3 easy layups but Fisher has done a tremendous job in keeping Parker out of the paint. Another good thing he’s done is avoiding fouling Parker once he’s flung himself towards the basket while still affecting the shot. Given Parker’s tendency to throw himself to the ground in an attempt to draw a foul, this has often meant that the Spurs have had to scramble on their transition defense and the Lakers have been scoring easier transition points or getting second chances in transition.

Advantage: Spurs, unless Fisher is hitting shots.

Shooting Guard – Kobe Bryant vs. Bruce Bowen: Kobe has been phenomenal all season and especially in the playoffs. Not only does he continue to hit jumpshots at a remarkable rate, but not once has he exploded at an official over any missed calls (although he wasn’t as kind to Luke Walton).

Hopefully the referees will call some of the fouls that Kobe routinely receives on his drives, if only to shut the people up who say 30 points on 30 shots (that’s shooting at 50% with no free throws or 3pointers basically… and if you think about it, thats not all that bad).

Advantage: Lakers.

Small Forward – Vladimir Radmanovic vs. Manu Ginobili: Ginobili is on the court for the Spurs to make something happen when the shot clock is winding down and there is no open shot for anyone. If he can’t create something off the dribble (or shoot a good percentage) then he is only hurting the Spurs, who might as well go with a younger player who can give them a spark off the bench like… Damon Stoudemire?

Haha, Oh wow! The Spurs are going to need an overhaul — but just don’t be surprised if they manage to turn this around quickly and remain competitive for that, thanks to the Lakers elusive 5th Championship.

On our side, Vladdy has really started to expand his non-perimeter game, and has shown he is a very good passer on the fast break or when driving to the basket.

Advantage: Even, unless Ginobili visits a magic healer and exchanges his soul for 1 more Championship.

Power Forward – Lamar Odom vs. Fabricio Oberto: I feel bad for Oberto…

Advantage: Lakers.

Center – Pau Gasol vs. Tim Duncan: Duncan is STILL shooting under 50% in this series. Let me put Pau Gasol’s amazing defensive feat into perspective…

Duncan shot at a 49.7 percent clip throughout the regular season. Against the defensive prowess of Tyson Chandler, he shot 42%, nearly an 8% difference. Over the series, Duncan is shooting the ball at a 43.9% clip, close enough to a 6% difference right? To fully demonstrate the difference: Kobe is going against the defensive specialist Bruce Bowen, Kobe is shooting a robust 53%, 7% above his season average.

Now, numbers don’t tell the whole story, but clearly, Gasol is doing something right.

Advantage: Spurs, unless Gasol does well offensively.

Bench -

Good News: We’re home again, so that probably means that our bench players will have a better game!

Advantage: Lakers.

Statistical Predictions -

Alright, I’m going to keep track of statistical predictions for the Post-Season!

Here’s how it works, copy and paste the below and enter your picks instead, Closest prediction wins. Posts will only be accepted before the game starts, in this case 6:00 PM PST.

20+ Points: Kobe & Sasha.

10+ Rebounds: Lamar & Kobe.

2+ Blocks: Lamar, Gasol and Turiaf.

3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha (Welcome back to L.A.).

Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe.

Point Margin: Lakers by 18.

Out On A Limb: Pop empties his bench in the 4th quarter, as the Lakers put this one away. Chris Mihm makes an appearance.

* a 20/10/6 will be considered closer than a 20/7/7 because player A is only short 4 assists while player B is short 3 rebounds and 3 assists, or 6 stat points in total, as opposed to 4 for plater A.

Game Information

Radio: KLAC & KWKW.

Television: TNT.

Burning Questions

Will Fisher start to show the same signs of age that the Spurs are?

Did anyone else notice Vladdy being in the game in the 4th quarter? What’s up with that? Phil Jackson never puts him during the 4th.

On the other hand, they are very, very old.

  • Lakeshow31

    Big game tonight, the lakers need to close this out and not let the Spurs get any momentum back. Lakers by 11 and Kobe goes for 40.

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    1st.

    If Lakers win the first 5 minutes of the 3rd quarter then Final’s here we come. If they lose then Finals here we come but after a tough battle.

    I’m kind of hesitant to accept a Laker win because if they have to sit and wait for the Eastern Confrence to finish then they will get rusty. Last thing we need is a rusty Laker team going into Boston.

  • Shril

    I don’t feel so confident about tonight’s game.. It will be a grind out game and Spurs will get a lot of calls.

  • VacheG

    I hope they decide to continue to be aggressive on both ends. Hopefully they will out-hustle and out-muscle the Spurs like they did in Game 5! I’d like to see a reenactment of Game 2. (Not just because the Lake Show blew them out by 30pts, but because everyone on the team contributed!!!)

    LET’S GO LAKERS!!!!!!

  • ValleyBoy1

    …..Well i dont know about Sasha for 20-but i think Lamar might be our close triple-double guy, just a feeling i got.

  • 187 ON BOSTON

    BANG THEM FLAGS MY NIGGAS

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    Screw it!!! I changed my mind. Lakers WIN, JUST WIN BABY!!! They should expect calls going the other way in the beginning but after the 1st quarter then everything will be back to normal. Lakers are just going to have play through it and not get on the bad side of the refs.

  • gugy

    LET’S CLOSE IT TONIGHT!

  • T.A.

    Kobe goes for kill early!!

    but ends up facilitating overall as the lakers cruise

    KOBE 24 pts 6 boards 12 assists

    LO- 20 pts 10 boards

    PAU- 17 pts 11 boards

    Vlad- 5 threes 15 pts

    Fish- 12 pts

    88 points from our starters!!!
    22 from our bench!!

    Lakers 110
    Spurs 91

  • HereWeGo

    lakers win.. they will come out shooting.. spurs are demoralized. they know they are outmatched.. what i hate is listening to skip bayless STILL SAY THAT HE THINKS THE SPURS ARE BETTER AND BELIEVES THEY WILL COME BACK AND WIN THE SERIES.. i cant stand his a$$. i hope the lakers beat the shIIt out of the spurs and shut skip bayless and all the other doubters (woody paige, jackie mccmulin, Tim colishaw) the hell up. GO LAKERS!!!!

  • blackSRT4mamba

    kobe drops 40 tonite, they’ll make up for all those non-calls

  • DCLAKER

    IT’S OVER.com,need I say anymore,ok(I will).

    118-97,they’ll pull away,this time,late.

    Odom & Gasol combine for 43(LO 20 & PG 23),BALL GAME!!!

  • sammie

    Let’s just win this one tonight and then helloooooo nba finals. Bring on Boston or Detroit, it really doesn’t matter who they face next, our Lakers are going ALL THE WAY for that sweet trophy.

  • lakerfan81

    This game will be close. The most dangerous animal is the one you have cornered because it is desperate. The Spurs will come with a lot of effort and the Lakers will have to match it. No one should expect the Spurs to roll over and play dead.

  • LakersAllDay

    20+ Points: Kobe

    10+ Rebounds: Gasol, Odom

    2+ Blocks: Lamar, Gasol

    3+ 3-Pointers: No One

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe

    Point Margin: Lakers by 9

    Out On A Limb: Lakers VS Celtics

  • Short Diezel

    Lakers need to take it to them from the start.. use the energy of the crowd and get a huge lead from the beginning.. stay aggressive offensively to get their starting line up in foul trouble and crash the boards

    I really hope Ariza starts tonight cause we will need him to guard Paul Pierce and he needs all the playing time he can get

  • Skim.

    so if some1’s stats are 10/20/0 do they win the triple double over someone whi is 9/9/9?

  • http://- Kobefan11

    20+ Points: Kobe

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar,Gasol

    2+ Blocks: Lamar,

    3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe.

    Point Margin: Lakers by 9

    Out On A Limb:TD will cry at the press conference after the game.

  • http://thelakersation.com/blog PauKobeBynumDynasty

    20+ Points: Kobe & Gasol

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar

    2+ Blocks: Lamar and Turiaf

    3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha & Fisher

    Closest To A Triple-Double: Kobe

    Point Margin: Lakers by 9

    Out On A Limb: The Spurs are down 30 half way through the 4th, and Pop subs in David Robinson for Duncan.

    Out On A Limb #2: Oberto has a 20/20 game

    Out On A Limb #3: Even before the game stars, refs call a foul on Fisher because of the last game shot by Barry. He makes both free-throws, and at the end the Lakers lose by 1 because of those free-throws.

  • lakers4lyfe

    lakers gonna blow em out…mark my words

  • Sopi

    LAKERS by 20+

    LA VS BOSTON!!!! (LA in 5 again!!)

    2008 NBA CHAMP – Los Angeles Lakers

  • RoWyN

    20+ Points: Kobe

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar, Pau

    2+ Blocks: Lamar, Pau

    3+ 3-Pointers: Fisher, Vlad

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Lamar

    Point Margin: Lakers by 13

    Out On A Limb: Lamar gets his best game of the series

  • http://lakernation kauaimamba

    Im looking ahead a little here.When the Lakers see Boston,who are they gonna have guard Kobe?Ray Allen?Does anybody else agree Kobe will drop 40 a night on Ray Ray without breaking a sweat.Dont they have some history too?I dont think they like each other.More reason for Kobe to torch him.I cant wait.

  • http://myspace.com/plummerrocks Machinehead18

    20+ Points: Kobe and Lamar.

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar & Gasol

    2+ Blocks: Lamar.

    3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha.

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe.

    Point Margin: Lakers by 3.

    Out On A Limb: The Spurs give us one last good fight but we seal the win with a Sasha Vujacic 3-pointer.

  • Lifelong laker fan in the heart of texas

    20+ Points: Kobe & Lamar & Fish
    10+ Rebounds: Lamar & Kobe

    2+ Blocks: Lamar, Gasol and Turiaf.

    3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha (Welcome back to L.A.). Fish

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe.

    Point Margin: Lakers by 22

    Out On A Limb: Pop empties his bench in the 4th Mbenga, Ira see floor time

  • http://myspace.com/hzm hZm

    Can’t wait! I get off work at 4:30 and I’m heading straight to Staples Center for the game. Luckily I work a few minutes away from Staples Center.

  • http://andrewbynum.com Andrew Bynum sucks

    hey are you excited for andrw bynum returning next year, well i don’think that is really tha exciting. aording to http://www.andrewbynum.com/index.cfm/index.cfm?pid=400034&Live=yes
    if you read the acedemicssection it says that he will be spending his summer in college instead of focusing on basketball
    and according to the piture on http://www.talk-sports.net/nba/girlfriend.aspx/Andrew_Bynum bynum will also be focusing more on his girlfriend than on basketball

  • BringDFishBack

    20+ Points: Kobe, Odom, and Farmar.

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar.

    2+ Blocks: Lamar and Turiaf.

    3+ 3-Pointers: Fisher, Farmar.

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Lamar.

    Point Margin: Lakers by 29. (why not?)

    Will Fisher start to show the same signs of age that the Spurs are?
    Why does everyone assume Fish is old? He’s been in the league the same amount of years at Kobe. The Spurs have like like 3 or 4 people over 35, and like 6 30-35. Thats why they are called old.

    I’d like to add another burning question:
    Will PJ finally play Ariza and use him as a defensive stopper when someone goes off (such as Ginobili and Barry have)?

  • Smush Walton

    Phil, please give Ariza more minutes! Smush Walton is a walking turnover out there and can’t make shots. Is he nervous or what – it happens game after game!

    Lamar, NO OUTSIDE SHOTS! especially, NO 3’s!!!
    And no more than TWO DRIBBLES!
    When Lamar starts his dribbling exhibition, bad things (i.e., traveling and charging fouls) happen.

  • GotAce

    This is it.
    Ceremony Time..

    IT’S LAKER TIME
    Get that W BABY! WIIIIINNNNNN!!

  • http://myspace.com/sonicussj Whatsa

    Kobe needs moar assists.

  • la’ersftw

    20+ Points: Kobe, gasol

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar, gasol

    2+ Blocks: Turiaf.

    3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha, radmonavich

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe.

    Point Margin: Lakers by 6.

    This is really hard to edit on the blackberry.

  • DCLAKER

    LAKERNATION,if there was ever a time to THINK POSITIVELY about ‘OUR’ Lakers,IT’S RIGHT NOW.These guys have busted they $$$ to make sure this DREAM SEASON continues…..and they done it,BIG TIME! Doing away with all the trade KB rumors,AB PUTTING US IN THE POSITION TO BE DOMINANT(YES HE DID,KB DID THE REST).

    AB,by getting hurt helped get Gasol and LO stepped up and was damn near UNSTOPPABLE and the “BENCHMOBB” are the 2nd unit in the game,PERIOD….and I can’t forget TREVOR ‘I’M GRANT HILL’S BEST FRIEND ,NOW” ARIZA(I hope he plays tonight),he instantly made us better defensively.

    MITCHISKINGOFLA.com,IT ENDS TONIGHT!!!

  • Big Phil

    F@CK! This is not the game to lay an egg. STEP IT UP! PLAY SMARTER and don’t take these stupid dumb shots. COME ON PAU! MAN UP!

  • Big Phil

    WTF is going on with these bad starts by Fisher, LO, and Pau! Snap out of it! Come on!

  • Big Phil

    Stop shooting from the outside and drive in damnit…did LO take another joint before the game?! The way the starters are playing right now is really pissing me off.

  • carlo