The Spurs played the Lakers pretty close in their previous two meetings, but the Lakers always seemed like they were going to be able to kick in another gear when they needed it to win. It felt like that was going to happen again when the Lakers closed the deficit with a dominant third quarter, but just like on Tuesday against the Clippers, the Silver and Black rose to the occasion in the final quarter. But this time without the last-minute drama as the Spurs maintained a solid lead until LeBron James surprisingly checked himself out with more than two minutes remaining in the game, leaving the Spurs to claim their forward wire-to-wire win of the season and bring their record to 4-4.
- This is the second consecutive game the Spurs started on a 9-0 run.
- D3Mar D3Rozan! He’s been a very effective three-point shooter through the first eight games.
- The rims at Staples Center seem to be very friendly to shooters. If there was only some way to put those into the AT&T Center.
- It’s kind of unfair that LeBron is stronger than anyone on the court and can hook whenever he wants to and never get called for it. That said, he was called for hooking early in the first when he never really made contact with Rudy Gay. Oh well.
- Devin Vassell’s shot looks effortless. He’s smooth as silk.
- A good amount of the Spurs improved offense this year doesn’t seem to be from running the offense much better than last year, it’s players creating their own opportunities. Like Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV creating their own offense and finishing at the basket.
- Whatever Gregg Popovich is doing to get his team prepared for the second half, he could probably change it, because they’ve been terrible in third quarters this year.
- Jakob Poeltl CAN dunk the ball.
- Keldon had probably his worst game this year scoring but he still gave a lot to the team with his energy and effort on both ends of the court.
Neither team seemed to want to score to start out the game, but DeMar Derozan finally sank a mid-range jumper after two minutes followed by a Dejounte Murray triple and the Spurs led 5-0. The Spurs kept pouring it on on both ends of the court streaking out to a 15-4 early lead. LaMarcus Aldridge found his range while Alex Caruso took advantage of wide open looks, and the Spurs led 34-26 after one quarter.
The second quarter was pretty even, but the Silver and Black kept hitting long range shots and led 65-56 at the half, with Aldridge the leading scorer with 16. Talen Horton-Tucker came in and did a great job for the Lakers.
Keldon Johnson, who had been pretty much invisible in the first half, scored his first points on a three-point shot as the second half started. LeBron James and Anthony Davis took ove the game for the Purple and Gold and they reduced the Spurs lead to 5 halfway though the third at 84-79. The Lakers tied it up at 89 on a Montrezl Harris layup, and a DeRozan midrange made it 91-89 at the end of three in favor the the Spurs.
Both teams played great defense to start the final quarter, but Jakob got free in the lane for a furious dunk, followed by a trick shot banker free throw for the three point shot to start off the fourth quarter scoring for the good guys. The Spurs got their lead back to double digits with a Rudy Gay triple and led 105-95 one third of the way into the fourth. The Lakers continued to dominate on the board, and second chance points kept them in it, but DeMar DeRozan answered with elite one on one midrange play, bumping their lead to a dozen with 4 minutes left. LeBron dribbled the ball off his foot, but wasted a coach’s challenge, and he then fouled Murray to take himself out of the game, in an inexplicable white flag move with over 2 minutes left. Both teams emptied their benches in the last couple of minutes and Spurs won 118-109.
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, This ain’t no fooling around …
What’s Next . . .
For the Lakers fans’ perspective, visit Silver Screen and Roll.
The Spurs will be playing a back to back in Minnesota this weekend against the Timberwolves, Saturday and Sunday night at 7:00 pm. The Spurs are now 4-4 on the season and have a better record on the road than at home.