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Continued: Zgoda: Five questions for the NBA playoffs

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  • Last update: April 20, 2013 - 3:32 PM

So what’s past is past, right?

Or is it?

3. Is Mike D’Antoni being wrong going to make everything right?

The once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers barely made it into the playoffs, and now without the great Kobe Bryant they must face 58-victory San Antonio.

But don’t necessarily count the Lakers out, not if Dwight Howard decides to put on his big-boy pants for the playoffs, not if Steve Nash can come back from injury.

And not if Mike D’Antoni is sincere about his recent admission that he was wrong earlier this season when he concluded big men Howard and Pau Gasol can’t play together.

The Lakers finished the season 8-2 and beat out Utah for the West’s eighth and final playoff spot, and Gasol starred alongside Howard down the stretch after missing six weeks because of a foot injury.

His play caused Nash to tell reporters Friday, “This is the Pau that I was begging for a chance to play with.”

It also has put him back in favor with D’Antoni after falling into the coach’s disfavor early in the season.

“I’ve come to realize that we can play with the two big guys,” D’Antoni told reporters earlier this week. “I was a little skeptical at first. I think with both of them being close to 100 percent, yeah, they can play together easily. I kind of had a preconceived notion that probably wasn’t right.”

4. With apologies to the Fabulous Thunderbirds, are the flashy L.A. Clippers “tuff enuff?”

The Clippers won the Pacific Division for the first time in history and swept the hometown rival Lakers for the first time since Donald Sterling bought the franchise in 1981.

But as loaded and high-flying as they are with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and, heck, even former Timberwolves big man Ryan Hollins, do the 56-victory Clippers have enough substance with their style to go deep in the playoffs?

It’s a particularly important question given their first-round rematch with Memphis, a team they beat in seven games in last season’s first round.

In contrast, the Grizzlies are all about muscle and moxie and short on style points.

TNT analyst Charles Barkley, of course, has an opinion.

“That team has got no toughness,” Barkley said. “They’re not a legitimate contender.”

5. A playoff pick-’em: Russell Westbrook, hero or goat?

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