NBA Playoffs Roundtable: Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers Edition

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Apr 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers break their last huddle of the season during a timeout in the closing minutes of their 103-82 loss to the Spurs in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Did the Lakers underachieve, or was this kind of exit to be expected?

Walker: Well if we are talking about the beginning of the season then yes, they definitely underachieved. This was a team that was predicted by some to hit close to 70 wins and would provide a huge challenge for Miami in the Finals. But if we are going off the expectations at the start of the playoffs then I’d say this is where they were most likely to end up. The Spurs, while a little banged up, are a very good team and the Lakers, for all their publicity and star power, are essentially your typical seventh seed. Factor in the injuries to both Nash and Pau and really anything but a four game sweep would have been a shock.

Brown: At the beginning of the year, the Lakers being swept in the first round would be seen as an unbelievable upset. But after a rough season, combined with the injuries to Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, Jodie Meeks, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill, winning a game or two would have been a veritable shock.

Lowenstein: After Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles, the Lakers were expected to bow out in the first round. However, no one expected their performance to be that horrendous. According to Elias, the Spurs outscored Lakers by 75 points this series, which is the most Los Angeles has been outscored in 150 playoff series. The Lakers underachieved in the 2012-13 season, but the main excuses can be age and health, which typically are related.

Cook: It depends what point of the season you compare it to. Preseason? Enormous underachievement. No way a team with five all-stars should be so meekly swept. Mid season? Well, at least they made the playoffs, but still a disappointment. End of the season, considering the injuries? I’m surprised they were swept, but not that surprised. They underachieved, but had so many injuries this season, it’s almost understandable.

Next page: Estimated chances of Pau Gasol getting amnestied prior to next season?…


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