It's becoming increasingly obvious that you don’t want to face the Spurs when they’re mad, and coming back from a frustrating loss is one of those times. Thursday night, the young Los Angeles Lakers were the latest unfortunate victims of a San Antonio team smarting after a recent defeat. Other than a bit of a lull bridging the first and second quarters, the Spurs were stellar on offense, and the contest was over midway through the third quarter.
The Spurs started the game with some red-hot shooting, hitting 9 of their first 13 shots to rush out to a 20-13 lead less than midway through the first quarter. The hot shooting continued, and the Lakers couldn’t keep up. Kawhi Leonard and Pau Gasol couldn’t miss as the Spurs stretched the lead as far as 36-19. The bench entered and wasn’t quite as hot as the starters, and the Lakers scored five straight to cut the lead to 36-24 at the end the quarter. Leonard led all scorers with 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting.
The bench play remained sloppy as the second quarter began, and the Lakers quickly took advantage. By the seven minute mark the Spurs’ lead was sapped all the way down to four, 45-41. The Spurs picked up the aggression again after the starters returned. Gasol continued to take it to his old team and ended the half on pace for a triple-double with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, joining Leonard (23) and Parker (13) in double figures. The Lakers, led by 17 points from Julias Randle, entered the half down 72-54 after giving up five erroneous FT’s in the final 13 seconds.
With the offense clicking, the Spurs entered the second half hoping to improve their defense. They did just that while continuing to lay it on the Lakers on offense. Parker beating Jordan Clarkson on a jump-ball (that should have been the Lakers’ ball but Tony successfully confused the refs over who it went out on) about summed things up for the Lakers. A Gasol driving dunk from the arc was too much for Luke Walton to handle, and he called a timeout with 2:50 left in the quarter and the Spurs up 97-69. That was the end of the night for the starters, and the Spurs entered the fourth quarter up 106-75.
The final frame was nothing but extended garbage time. Dejounte Murray showed some flashes of what he can do with a running floater and a couple of threes, but he also showed where he’s still raw by badly overthrowing Dewayne Dedmon on an alley-oop and some careless fouls away from the ball. A Davis Bertans three with just under seven minutes left meant everyone had scored, and the Spurs won 134-94.
Check back later for more on this one. The Spurs are back in action on Saturday in Mexico City for a 5PM tipoff against the Phoenix Suns. Hopefully there’s no electrical fires this time!