NBA: Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs preview
Last Updated: 22/04/13 8:46am
Tim Duncan: the NBA great will be a key man for the Spurs against Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Lakers will be keen to maintain their momentum when they tackle the San Antonio Spurs in play-off action on Sunday.
The Lakers, who only clinched the 7th seed with victory over the Houston on Wednesday, are gunning for an 18th championship title, their last coming in 2010.
However, San Antonio finished the season with a 58-24 regular season record will be the favourites to advance despite the Lakers' excellent recent run.
Back in January the Lakers were eight games below .500 and in serious danger of missing out on the post-season, but a 28-12 run - including winning eight of their last nine - ensured a series against the Spurs.
The teams met three times in the regular season with San Antonio winning the first two meetings before the Lakers exacted a measure of revenge with a 91-86 success at the Staples Centre last weekend.
Los Angles have been the dominant team in the play-offs, advancing eight times from their 11 meetings. It will be the first time the teams have met in the post-season since 2008.
The Lakers will be hoping Steve Nash is fit to return to Mike D'Antoni's line-up for Sunday's meeting at the AT&T Center.
Nash has been absent with a hamstring injury for the team's last eight matches, but practiced with team-mates on Friday and is optimistic about playing.
Veteran Kobe Bryant will play no part for the Lakers in their championship quest as he will miss the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles. Jodie Meeks is expected to start in Bryant's absence.
Spurs were a model of consistency during the regular season and despite fitness concerns over the likes of Tony Park and Manu Ginobili they should have the firepower to progress.
San Antonio have six players who averaged over 10 points a game in the regular season so the Lakers' defence will need to step up.
Sunday's other game live on Sky Sports HD2 sees the Indiana Pacers go head-to-head with the Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta, who lost their last two regular season outings, are the sixth seeds in the Eastern conference while the Pacers are ranked third with a 49-32 record, although they enter the play-offs on the back of three straight defeats.