The Spurs may have missed their shot at getting one over the Lakers during this 2-game stretch the teams are playing this week. Los Angeles, who were without Year 21 phenom LeBron James in the first match-up, nearly blew a 20-point lead late in the 4th quarter after keeping the Spurs at arm’s length for most of the first game. The Lakers gave up 45 points in that 4th quarter to what has been an offensively challenged San Antonio squad this year.
With James potentially back in the line-up tonight, the margin for error may only narrow further for the Spurs. With the real possibility that Loss #19 is staring them in the face, perhaps the young Silver and Black can bottle the best parts of that 4th quarter up and find a way to bring it over the course of these next 48 minutes against the Purple and Gold.
San Antonio Spurs (3-20) vs Los Angeles Lakers (15-10)
December 15 2023 | 6:30 PM CT
Watch: ESPN, CW35 | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Charles Bassey, knee (out)
Lakers Injuries: LeBron James, calf (questionable), Anthony Davis, groin (questionable), Taurean Prince, knee (questionable), Jarred Vanderbilt, back (probable), Gabe Vincent, knee (out), Jalen Hood-Schifino, back (out)
What to watch for
- In a season full of tests and firsts, Victor Wembanyama had his first chance to go toe to toe against Anthony Davis. Considering it was his first time going up against someone he said he looked up to after the game, Wemby didn’t seem in the least bit starstruck, leading San Antonio with a 30 point/ 13 rebound/ 6 block night and matching up with AD throughout the evening. Davis, who has been criticized through much of his career for a lack of consistency and aggression, was more than up to the task, finishing with a game-high 37 points. Round 2 tonight will hopefully be just as exciting and is undoubtedly the key viewing focus.
- Devin Vassell’s shooting slump hasn’t been nearly as long as the Spurs’ losing streak, but San Antonio really needed for him to snap it during Loss #18. Vassell, who was 5/15 on the night and just 1/9 from beyond the arc, has really struggled with his shot the last 3 games. He’s shot just 3/25 from 3 during that sample size, but the good news is that the shots still look good coming out of his hand. A reversion to the mean has to be in order and maybe it comes tonight for the 4th year forward.
- Malaki Branham had his highest scoring game of the season Wednesday night with 19 points. He had a couple nice drives in transition that seemed to get him going. Another game in double figures would extend his current streak to 4, another season-high.
- LeBron James is still basically averaging his career averages in year 21. If he’s healthy and ready to go tonight, expect to see 25-7-7 next to his name on the box score at some point. Last season, he averaged 27-9-6 in 3 games against San Antonio.
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