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Final Score: Spurs battle, come up short against Lakers 109-103

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The star power of Los Angeles was the difference in San Antonio’s 3rd straight loss.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs and Lakers kicked off 2021 with the 2nd of 3 matchups in a 9 day period, the first a 121-107 Spurs’ loss in the final Spurs game of 2020. In what was originally supposed to be the return of fans to the AT&T Center, San Antonio debuted their Fiesta-themed court and threads for the first time ever. Tonight also marked the season debut for newly extended guard Derrick White, who missed the first four games recovering from offseason toe surgery.

The Spurs were able to keep it close all night long, ultimately succumbing to the star-studded duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the end of the 4th quarter. The loss drops San Antonio to 2-3 on the season and 0-2 in both match-ups with the Lakers. They’re back in action Sunday evening against the Utah Jazz for the last home game before a 5-game road trip.

Observations

  • Derrick White looked pretty good physically in his first game action since the Bubble. White hit his very first shot of the season, a 3-pointer from the right wing late in the first quarter, and pushed the pace whenever he had the ball, all while playing with his usual intensity on the defensive side of the ball. He finished with 9 points in 22 minutes of action and had an impressive block in the early moments of the 2nd quarter.
  • Keldon Johnson once again had an impressive game, scoring his season average (12) in the first half alone and playing with his usual fearlessness on both ends of the court. He finished with a double-double, including a career high 26 points on just 11 shots and spent time guarding almost everyone on the Lakers. The 2nd year guard has been a bright spot during this 5-game stretch to start the season and tonight reinforced just how good the young wing player could be for San Antonio in the future.
  • It became apparent early on that the Spurs, once again missing LaMarcus Aldridge with knee soreness, were going to struggle to keep up on the glass for a full 60 minutes with a Lakers team that’s big at so many positions. The Lakers surpassed their offensive rebounding total from the first game (7) in the first half alone, finishing the game with 16 compared to 8 for the Spurs. San Antonio was actually able to compete on the boards through 3 quarters, but the size and physicality of the Lakers ultimately ended up being too much to handle, and they finished the game -13 on the boards (58-45).
  • Lebron James and Anthony Davis had monstrous games, combining for 59 points, 22 rebounds, and 15 assists. They were also responsible for key plays down the stretch that ultimately sealed the win for Los Angeles. James pulled in yet another triple double in a career full of them, while Davis was responsible for nearly half of the Lakers’ offensive rebounds (7).
  • It seems as though 3-point DeMar is here to stay. DeRozan went 3 for 4 beyond the arc tonight. He continues to look confident when he does pull the trigger on the long ball, a huge development for a player who has had great success playing a certain way for much of his career. DeRozan has made almost as many 3s through 5 games (7) as he made through 68 games last season (9)

For the Lakers fan’s perspective, please visit Silver Screen and Roll