Playoffs: Scouting Lakers-Spurs

Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan will be critical to their teams' success. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.

Had you predicted a San Antonio Spurs-Los Angeles Lakers playoff series in September, we would have asked which team upset the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round. Alas, a franchise history's worth of turmoil, discord and injuries to their key players have earned the Lakers the No. 7 seed, a miracle when you consider they were four games under .500 at the All-Star break.

The Spurs also are no strangers to injury concerns, and they enter the playoffs with a roster more dinged up than the Lakers, with the health of possible MVP candidate Tony Parker in doubt. This series will come down to who the last one standing is at the end, and the team that can adjust the quickest to the unavailability of its stars will be the victor.

Los Angeles Lakers (7) at San Antonio Spurs (2)

Western Conference Playoffs

First-Round Preview