The Lakers were put out of their misery Sunday night, losing to the San Antonio Spurs 103-82 and getting swept out of the NBA playoffs.
From the opening tip, the Spurs just seemed to play at a higher level than L.A. Tony Parker had a game-high 23 points and took advantage of the wounded Laker backcourt.
Throughout the game, there were several key factors that contributed to the final result:
Turnovers: The Spurs had great ball security, and were very careful in their decision-making. As a result, the Spurs only turned the ball over eight times. The Lakers, on the other hand, seriously lacked experience and depth at the guard position and had trouble keeping their turnovers under control. L.A. had 22 turnovers.
Fast-break points: The Spurs played a high-tempo game, which allowed them to score easily in transition. They capitalized on 22 Laker turnovers, turning them into 19 fast-break points. The Lakers struggled with pushing the ball in transition. They ended with four fast-break points.
Free throws: The Spurs were tremendous at drawing fouls and snagging some points from the free-throw line. They shot a combined 23 foul shots and made 20 of them, shooting 87 percent from the line. The Lakers got to the line 12 times, but shot very poor, making only five of them.
Injuries: The Spurs were missing forward Tiago Splitter, and had Aron Baynes start in his place. The Lakers were missing guards Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks, Steve Nash and Steve Blake and forward Metta World Peace. The Lakers' all-star center, Dwight Howard, was ejected from the game early in the second half after getting his second technical foul.
With the win, the Spurs sweep the Lakers and advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they will play the winner of the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets.
Despite being pleased with advancing to the second round, Spurs point guard Tony Parker felt it was a little bittersweet because of how hobbled the Lakers were.
"I'm happy we won," Parker said on TNT, "But it was weird. They were missing a lot of guys".
With the loss, the Lakers' disappointing season comes to an end. The offseason for them is predicted to be a very interesting one.
Many feel that the Lakers need another coach, while others feel that injuries were the main reason for head coach Mike D'Antoni's disappointing season. No matter which side of the fence any person is on, however, one fact is clear: D'Antoni has lost 14 of his last 15 playoff games.4 comments on this story
On another note, L.A.'s superstar, Bryant, is predicted to be out for another six to nine months after he tore his Achilles toward the end of the regular season. How healthy he will return is a big question mark for the Lakers going in to next season.
Even more of a question mark for Los Angeles is the future of its All-Star center, Howard. He will be a free agent this summer and hasn't given any indication that he plans to return in a purple and gold uniform next year.
With the spotlight always shining bright in Los Angeles, the Lakers' upcoming offseason will definitely be one to pay attention to.
You can follow Mitch Kunzler on Twitter at: @MitchKunzler