If you stayed up late to catch Tuesday night’s late tip, pat yourself on the back, wipe the sleep off your eyes, and prepare for another. This time, it’s the Big Ballin’ Los Angeles Lakers, who continue to play at a relatively high level given the youth up and down the roster.
Speaking of patting oneself on the back, you won’t find the Spurs doing much of that despite winning 8 of their last 11 and nearing a playoff berth that, mere weeks ago, seemed very unlikely. Here’s Kyle Anderson, on the team’s mindset approaching this two-game stint in LA.
“We can say all these good things about this game, but we’ve got to go and play well on the road now. It’s not time to pat ourselves on the back.”
The Lakers are also on a SEGABABA tonight, returning from Utah, where they fell to the Jazz, 117-110. They’ll continue to be short-handed for this one, but don’t expect that to fuel any sympathy from the guys in Silver and Black.
San Antonio Spurs (45-33) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (33-44)
April 4, 2018 | 9:30 pm CDT
Watch: ESPN, FSSW; Listen: 1200 AM WOAI
Spurs injuries: Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management)
Lakers injuries: Lonzo Ball (knee), Luol Deng (ankle), Brandon Ingram (concussion), Isaiah Thomas (hip)
Caruso stepping into a bigger role
The Lakers lost Isaiah Thomas to the season after he underwent surgery on his injured hip, while Lonzo Ball is dealing with a knee contusion. Considering both played a key role in the Lakers’ come-from-behind victory in San Antonio last month, their absences should make a big difference tonight.
Stepping into a starting role as of starting point guard has been rookie (and former Aggie) Alex Caruso. He doesn’t have to do too much when he shares the floor with shot creators like Julius Randle, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Kyle Kuzma, but the Lakers will still miss the impact that Ball can bring on both ends, as well as Thomas’ ability to get buckets.
Going against script
The Spurs have been a notably worse team on the road this season (14-24) than the Lakers have at home (19-18). They know they have to be better away from the AT&T Center – not only to strengthen their playoff seeding but to trend towards greater consistency as they approach the postseason.
What kind of affair will this be?
Missing Danny Green and Tony Parker, the Spurs mustered just 81 points in their first loss to LA. Last month, both teams went over 110. My guess is both teams both eclipse 100 in this one, with the Spurs coming away with the much-needed W.
Vegas prediction: Spurs by 1.
Prediction: Spurs by 7.
For the Lakers fans’ perspective, visit Silver Screen and Roll.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.