The San Antonio Spurs dropped their seventh consecutive game in a competitive loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first game of a back-to-back mini-series. After a poor showing in the first-half the Spurs showed some fight in the second to push the Lakers to the end but would ultimately fall by eleven points; 105-94.
The game began with another slow start as the worse net first quarter team in the league the Spurs had another lackluster opening frame. On offense they struggled to find a flow with their all-too-famous ball movement not a factor, while on defense they allowed the Lakers open shots and easy baskets off turnovers. One Laker that benefited greatly was ex-Spur Lonnie Walker who hit his first two threes in his return to the AT&T Center. Zach Collins made his return from a 10-game injury absence for San Antonio in the first quarter, and made an impact straight away, blocking Anthony Davis’s shot at the rim. Devin Vassell who has been the Spurs clear best player through a 1⁄4 of the season was trying to kick-start the offense with a few nifty plays, but his teammates weren’t making their shots which led to the Silver & Black being down 33-21 after twelve minutes.
The second wasn’t much better for the home team with some pretty ugly basketball being played, but at least Spurs viewers got to listen to the Hall of Famer George Gervin guest star on the Spurs broadcast to take their attention off what was transpiring on the court. The Spurs offense was just so clunky, especially when Vassell was resting on the bench. Keldon Johnson who had a difficult road trip was still finding himself out-of-sorts in this one, with bad misses and poor decision-making leading to turnovers. The Lakers did eventually extend their lead by the half for a 59-41 advantage.
The third period was a lot more positive for the Silver & Black as they started to find their way into the game. Including finding their offensive flow which started with Keldon gaining some confidence after a few made shots. The Spurs went on a 12-5 run in which KJ scored 8 of those 12 points. San Antonio continued that momentum to end the quarter on top cutting the deficit to 4 heading into the final frame; 79-75.
The fourth quarter was an all-too-familiar sight for the Spurs with the more veteran team taking control while the young Spurs struggled to execute down the stretch. The Spurs did at times create decent looks but they just couldn’t knock them down when they needed it most. The Lakers ended up holding on to the win defeating San Antonio 105-94.
- Shooting Woes. With Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson both out with sprained ankles it was no surprise that the Spurs struggled with their shot - shooting 38% from the floor and a horrendous 18% from three. Hopefully those two can return soon as they will help the Spurs space the floor and hit a few more jumpers.
- Lonnie Walker. The former Spur returned to San Antonio for the first time since he departed in July and put on a solid display against his former coaches and teammates, as he had 18 points, 3 steals, and 4 triples. The four-year Spur has put together a nice season for Los Angeles since signing and he will look to continue that once again against the Spurs in their second game of the back-to-back mini-series.
- Losing Streak. San Antonio had their losing streak extend to a season worse 7 in the loss against Los Angeles. As the losses pile up the confidence in the youngsters will start to drop which is not ideal for their development. Even in a rebuilding season you want to see wins here and there in order to keep the players engaged and confident.
Play of the game
A tremendous finish by Devin who is putting together a really great season. Finishes like this are becoming commonplace for the third-year Spur.
Next game: Vs. Lakers on Saturday
The Spurs and Lakers will do it all over again Saturday where the Silver & Black will try to extract revenge on the second night of the back-to-back series.