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Spurs young trio shines in hard fought loss to Lakers

Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell put on star performances, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a big night from Anthony Davis and the Lakers

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

In a game where the San Antonio Spurs found themselves down double-digits multiple times, they do themselves proud by fighting back time after time, but eventually drop to the Los Angeles Lakers; 114-106. This loss puts the Spurs at 9 L’s this season, one shy of 10 already.

The Spurs were still without Jakob Poeltl, but are expecting him back any game now. LeBron James was still out with an Abdominal Strain for the home team.

The tone for the game was set early, as Anthony Davis had 6 quick easy points for LA. Derrick White who had been struggling on offense as of late, had a nice start with two buckets, but unfortunately he didn’t get much more to go in after this. AD was dominating off the pick-and-roll as the Spurs couldn’t stop him on the inside. Then after a late 3-pointer from the former Kentucky prodigy, he was up to 19 first quarter points, as the Lakers held a slight lead; 34-29.

The Lakers got a quick start in the 2nd as their margin increased to 10 after a Russell Westbrook three point shot. For the Spurs, Keldon Johnson was red-hot from three and after back to back makes from the outside he had 4 for the game early in the second quarter. The away team found themselves frustrated for much of the quarter, as the Lakers didn’t allow much transition opportunities and were bottling up the Spurs in the half-court. LA did unravel a bit towards the end of the half as they got a bit turnover happy and the Spurs did a nice job of capitalizing on it. Spurs were down 5 at the half.

The 3rd quarter showed the heart of this young San Antonio team. They were hit with runs by LA on multiple occasions, but each time the young Spurs countered with a run of their own to stop the bleeding and keep the game from getting away from them.

This allowed the Spurs to have a chance in the 4th, and they were certainly going to use the most of their chance, as their first 15 4th quarter points were all from three-point land. This included 3 straight threes from Devin Vassell, as he got going early in the term. The Spurs stayed close enough this quarter that after a few possessions of forcing Lakers into tough shots, Dejounte was able to force a turnover which led to a Doug McDermott 3-pointer to make it a 2-point game with under 3 to play. This would end up being the closest the Spurs got, as after a timeout the Lakers went on a 7-0 run to close the show and run out winners, 114-106.

Game Notes

  • Anthony Davis. One game after the Spurs let Dallas big man Kristaps Porzingis run ragged on them, they allowed AD to do the same. AD had a 34-15-6-2-1 line as he dominated the Spurs in all areas of the game. The Spurs are having a lot of trouble against skilled big men recently, so the return of Jakob Poeltl will be a welcome sight.
  • 16 threes! The Spurs are really starting to shoot the ball from the outside more, and are being rewarded because of it. They went 16/36 from three which is a very respectable 44.4%. The more the Spurs trust their outside shot the more likely they are to be in games against better opposition.
  • Closing Woes. The Spurs have been incredibly inconsistent at finishing off close games. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering the age of the team but tonight was a showcase in what they still have to learn. They did a great job of getting the score back to a one possession game, but when they came out of the timeout they didn’t execute well enough. They took tough shots against Anthony Davis while allowing the Lakers on the other end to have easy looks, including an open 3 from Carmelo Anthony

Play of the Game

The Cut, The Pass, The Score !

Spurs Valuable Player (SVP)

4 guys had a legitimate shout at getting SVP points for this game, but I can only pick three. Thaddeus Young is the one that misses out. He had been on a nice streak of getting SVP points but he just misses out for this game. He still had a very productive outing in which his final stat line looked like this; 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 26 minutes. That trade value is skyrocketing at the moment.

3rd place (1 point): Keldon Johnson | 39 minutes, 24 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 6 threes

Keldon had a career high night in three point scoring as he hit 6 of 9 three pointers. He had come into this game as a 24% three-point shooter, but has gone 3/6 against Dallas and then 6/9 against LA, hopefully this is a trend and not just a two game hot streak.

2nd place (2 points): Dejounte Murray | 38 minutes, 22 points, 10 rbs, 10 asts, 3 stls, 1 blk

DJ had his 6 career triple double, and his 2nd on the season — his first came against the Lakers as well. He once again was all over the court for the Spurs and was involved in nearly everything good they did. His PnR chemistry with Thad Young is clicking and they seem to get a good opportunity to score every time they go to it.

1st place (3 points): Devin Vassell | 30 minutes, 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6/11 fgs, 4 threes

It was going to be hard to top a DJ triple-double but Devin put on a superb all-round game. He had 11 4th quarter points, and was the main reason the Spurs had a chance down the stretch. Vassell did a great job at getting the ball when he knew he was red-hot and it seemed like he was hitting every shot when the Spurs needed it most. Defensively he contested everything, was scrambling on rotations and rebounded strongly. A deserving 1st place SVP for the second year pro. (For the second game in a row as well !)

Overall Leaderboard

1st - Dejounte Murray - 22pts

2nd - Devin Vassell - 14pts

3rd - Keldon Johnson - 11pts

4th - Jakob Poeltl & Thaddeus Young - 8pts each

5th - Derrick White & Doug McDermott - 5pts each

6th - Drew Eubanks - 2pts

7th - Lonnie Walker IV, Bryn Forbes & Jock Landale- 1pt each

Next Game: @ Clippers on Tuesday

The Spurs stay in LA as they play the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time this season. The Clippers are on a roll at the moment as they have won 7 straight games, so the Spurs will have to be at their best to stand a chance in this one.