The Lakers were 10-10 in late November, with the air of a spry, young team headed for a surprisingly successful season. They were getting meaning contributions from a number of guys, including fledgling guard D’Angelo Russell, versatile big man Julius Randle and bench scorer Lou Williams.
That’s when their season began to unravel, as they promptly lost eight straight. Since then, Luke Walton and company have won just five of their last 14 games.
Both San Antonio and LA will be fresh off a loss heading into tonight’s matchup. The Spurs dropped a narrow 109-107 decision to Milwaukee Tuesday night, while the Lakers were blown out 108-87 by Portland the same day.
The Spurs will try to send the Lakers to a second-straight loss and, if this season is any indication, that’s what should happen. San Antonio’s suffered consecutive losses just once this season (in early November) and, most recently, responded to an OT loss to Atlanta with a 110-82 thrashing of Toronto two days later.
The same can’t be said of the Lakers. As previously mentioned, they dropped eight straight games in early December, and they are 4-6 over their last 10 games. Los Angeles’ loss to Portland Tuesday night saw it out-rebounded 50-38, and the Russell/Nick Young tandem combined for just 17 points.
San Antonio is 7-3 over its last 10 games, and five Spurs are averaging in double-figure points, led by Kawhi Leonard’s 24.1 points a game. On the visitors’ side, five Lakers are also posting double-digits in points, capped by Williams’ 17.7, followed closely by Russell’s 15.4. Randle grabs an average of 8.7 rebounds per contest.
The Spurs claimed the first meeting this season Nov. 18 in a 116-107 win, a game in which Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge both tallied 23 points. The Lakers made it interesting at the end, pulling within 111-107 with under a minute to go, but the Spurs iced the game via a Tony Parker jumper and four free throws from Leonard.
San Antonio Spurs (30-8) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (15-27)
Jan. 12, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. CST
Watch: FSSW, NBATV; Listen: 1200 AM WOAI
Matchup to watch: Kawhi Leonard vs. Nick Young.
The pair’s last three games could not be more different. Leonard has scored 30, 19 and 24 points his last three contests, while Young has logged games of eight, two and five points in the Lakers’ last trio of contests. But when matched up against each other earlier this season, Leonard’s 23 points barely outpaced Young’s 22. If that at all carries over into tonight, we may be in for a tight one.
Vegas line: Spurs by 14.5.
Game prediction: Spurs by 9.
For Lakers fans’ perspective, stop by Silver Screen & Roll.
As always, Tony must dominate Fisher.
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