Lakers back at home to face San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs upset the Lakers the last time they played against each other.

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers are playing at home for the first time since the All-Star break.

Their game on Thursday night against the Warriors is one the Lakers should forget quickly. Fans might say that it’s fortunate that they’re going to play an 11-45 team in the San Antonio Spurs at home.

But oh, how fast we forget. One of those 11 wins by the Spurs happens to be against our beloved Lakers. And it wasn’t a particularly close game, either. Sure, the Lakers didn’t have Anthony Davis for that game but up and down, L.A. was still more talented than San Antonio. And they gave up 42 points in the first quarter against Victor Wembanyama and company.

Few other things? They had actually also played the Spurs a couple of days beforehand. In that first game, LeBron James sat out that one and it was Anthony Davis that powered the Lakers to a win that shouldn’t have been close (Lakers only won by three). That Spurs loss was their 18th straight at the time and it was the next game that the Spurs snapped their long losing slide.

You’ve heard everything about Victor Wembanyama at this point. He scored 30 points in that first game while getting 13 boards and 6 blocks. The second game had Victor go for 13 points and 15 rebounds. So yes, he’s dangerous and it goes without saying that the Lakers have to watch out for him.

He’s not the only one, though. Keldon Johnson had 28 points in the first game while Devin Vassell put in a career-high 36 points in the second game that the Spurs won.

You wouldn’t know it in those two games they played against the Lakers but the Spurs are actually last in three-point percentage at the moment. Still, .340 isn’t terrible and the Spurs made 16 and 18 threes, respectively, in those two games. So the Lakers can’t let the percentage fool them; the Spurs are capable of getting hot from three. The Spurs also emphasize passing the ball around; they’re second in the league in assists. The Lakers also have to get off to a better start and not play down to their competition, which is what they’ve tended to do these last couple of seasons. As mentioned earlier, the Spurs may be 11-45 but they have also beaten the Lakers this season. And when they have a terrifying player in Wembanyama, anything is possible. Once Wemby gets a few seasons under his belt, that superstar potential could be realized.

LeBron James is “in all likelihood” back for the game against the Spurs. It was good to see Max Christie back as well as he played on Thursday. Anthony Davis has done well to try and play as many games as he could. As for performances, it’d be great to see D’Angelo Russell shoot better. I feel Austin Reaves needs to be more aggressive when LeBron is out and Rui Hachimura definitely needs to be. He scored a career-best 36 points against Utah last week before following it with an 8-point dud against the Warriors on Thursday.

This should be a game for the Lakers to get back on track. And they can’t mess around with this one, especially since the Western Conference is hotly contested. Every game is important, even if they’re going against the bottom teams in the league.