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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Spurs welcome what could be a depleted Lakers team to the AT&T Center tonight

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

By pretty much any metric, the 2021-2022 Los Angeles Lakers season has been disappointing. Injuries to key players (namely Anthony Davis) and questionable roster construction that has been highlighted by the initial acquisition and subsequent awkward fit of Russell Westbrook have all played major parts in getting Los Angeles to this point. At 28-35 and with just 19 games left to go, they appear destined to be headed for the play-in tournament bracket for the 2nd straight year and with that comes the possibility that LeBron James could miss the postseason entirely for just the 4th time in his storied 19-year career.

Lebron, naturally, will do what he can to have no part of that. Regardless of the drama surrounding the Lakers at the moment (some of which is his doing) and a slight step back due to age and the many years of mileage, James remains amongst the best players in the world and is more than capable of being THE best when the occasion calls for it. That was on display Saturday night with a 56-point performance against the Golden State Warriors that halted a 4-game skid and picked up the Laker’s first win since the All Star Break.

San Antonio may be able to avoid an encore performance from the King tonight, as James appeared on the injury report following Saturday’s game as questionable for the match-up against San Antonio with knee soreness. The door for a play-in spot for these Spurs is still open, albeit barely, and they can’t afford to keeping letting winnable games slip away at the end as they have done throughout the season.

San Antonio Spurs (24-40) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (28-35)

March 7, 2022 | 7:30 PM CT

Watch: BSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: None

Lakers Injuries: Lebron James (knee — questionable), Anthony Davis (ankle — OUT), Talen Horton-Tucker (day to day), Kendrick Nunn (OUT)

What to watch for

  • If Lebron doesn’t suit up tonight, expect a healthy dosage of Russell Westbrook for the Lakers on offense. The Westbrook fit has been the talk of national media throughout the season and the subject of much drama for the Lakers organization this season, but forgetting all that, the man is still more than capable of stuffing a stat sheet and has appeared in all but a single game this season for Los Angeles. The strategy though, as it has been, will be to limit easy opportunities for him in transition and playing him for the jumper in the halfcourt.
  • Lonnie Walker IV was on the injury report ahead of the Hornets game for a sore back, but ended up giving it a go anyway. Unsurprisingly, he had his worst game in nearly a month, failing to crack double digits and seeing just 17 minutes of game time. Hopefully another day of treatment at home will do wonders for the young guard, who seems to be finally hitting his stride after an up and down season. Walker scored 21 points in the win over Los Angeles back in December.
  • There’s a chance Carmelo Anthony starts in the place of Lebron James. Anthony has started just 3 games all season and is shooting 39% from beyond the arc.
  • Josh Primo has been seeing playing times in the 20s the last couple of weeks, including 25 minutes in the loss to the Hornets. That Primo, the youngest player in the league, is finding himself in the rotation more often at such a young age is a testament to his talent, as head coach Gregg Popovich infamously has held off on playing the youth at times over the years.

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

You can follow along with the game on our Game Thread or over on our twitter feed (@poundingtherock)!