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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers

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It’s rematch time, as LeBron and the Lakers come to the Alamo City.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

In a rematch of Monday’s marathon nail-biter, the Spurs face off against Lebron James and the Lakers again tonight. The spectacle of King James in the purple and gold is coming to San Antonio this time, with the Spurs sitting at an even 2-2, and the Lakers at 2-3 and looking to build on their 2 game winning streak.

October 27th, 2018 | 7:30 PM CT
Watch: KENS | Listen: 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES
Spurs (2-2) vs. Lakers (2-3)

Spurs Injuries: Dejounte Murray (knee), Lonnie Walker IV (knee), Derrick White (heel)

Lakers Injuries/Suspensions: Brandon Ingram (serving the last game of a 4-game suspension)

Showtime

The Lakers get out into transition more often than any team in the league. With multiple ballhandlers capable of pushing the pace, and explosive athletes all over the floor, they have the makings of an outstanding transition offense. So far this year that has definitely been the case. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Lakers have started over 22% of their possessions with a transition play, which leads the league, and are 9th in points per 100 plays in transition at 130.1. They turn more than 80% of their steals into transition opportunities, good for 2nd in the league, and almost 44% of their live ball defensive rebounds, which is 1st.

The Spurs, meanwhile, are around league average in terms of transition plays allowed, but give up the most points per 100 transition plays, by a lot, at 151.9. Whether the Spurs can slow the Lakers’ transition attack, especially off live rebounds, will go a long way towards determining the outcome of the game.

Rotations

The Spurs have not even come close to settling into a set rotation, yet. It’s clear that Coach Pop is still figuring out how the new pieces fit together. Between all the turnover and injuries, it’s unreasonable to expect the team to get off to a running start.

After Wednesday night’s lineup experimentation in Indiana, it’s possible they’ve learned enough to switch some things up. Free Chimezie, anyone? But it’s more likely this particular matchup will dictate some changes. Dante Cunningham will likely make his way back into the starting lineup after his solid work against the Lakers on Monday.

The Spurs may choose to go small for much of the game again when the Lakers have JaVale McGee on the bench. That should mean more minutes for Rudy Gay and Davis Bertans, and less minutes for Pau Gasol and Jakob Poeltl. That may sound like a good thing, but the Spurs lack of depth at guard makes it difficult for them to sustain small ball against a team like the Lakers with so many talented ball handlers and wings.

The Lakers, on the other hand, will have Rajon Rondo back from his 3-game suspension, but will still be without Brandon Ingram. That probably means even more small lineups from L.A., and it will be interesting to see how the Spurs respond.

Defense?

It’s gonna be another high scoring affair. Neither the Spurs nor the Lakers have held an opponent under 108 points in a game yet this season and both have very good offenses. There will be fireworks.


Vegas odds: Spurs by 2

Game Prediction: Spurs by 7

For the Lakers fans’ perspective, visit Silver Screen and Roll.

PtR’s Gamethread will be up this afternoon for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.