It wasn’t great early but in the end, the Lakers were successful in their season sweep of the San Antonio Spurs, 113-104.
The Lakers were turning the ball over early and I had mentioned in the preview that they couldn’t get too cute against San Antonio. The Spurs also crashed the offensive glass and I had also mentioned they were pretty good at that.
San Antonio did their best to pull away. But every time they had a cushion, L.A. would make a run. The Spurs were carrying an 8-point lead with three minutes left in the half but the Lakers ran 7 straight points to close the half. The Lakers would finally take the lead in the third and we would have a back-and-forth affair. San Antonio had a four-point lead as the third quarter closed but Davis got a tough call to go his way on a halfcourt heave when Zach Collins got called for a flagrant. Zach’s foot was on Davis’s landing spot. Anthony Davis would sink all three foul shots to cut the lead to one going into the fourth.
The Spurs had an 89-88 lead. That lead and game was gone in a flash. The Lakers sank three straight threes and then Thomas Bryant cut in for a dunk. L.A. scored 11 straight points in just a minute. From there, the Lakers (especially Davis) played solid defense and held the Spurs to 22 points in the fourth. Again, it was shaky early but the Lakers took care of business in the fourth quarter. All they needed was a timely stretch in the fourth to win it.
Obviously, the two things to talk about are the return of Anthony Davis and the Laker debut of Rui Hachimura. It took some time for Davis to get his sea legs going but after a few minutes in, we saw Davis in his MVP self. He was on a minutes restriction as it was his first game back. He played just over 26 minutes but he still went for 21 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks. Davis also altered a lot of shots, which was what the Lakers sorely missed.
As for Rui Hachimura, you could see his nerves early, too. But he settled down and played his game. He scored 12 points and 6 boards in 21 minutes. He even made a three-pointer from the right wing. Hachimura had a game-high +17.
LeBron James nearly had a triple-double with 20-9-11. And Patrick Beverley deserves huge credit for keeping the Lakers afloat before the fourth quarter. He scored a season-high 18 points.
San Antonio was led by Keldon Johnson with 25 points. Zach Collins scored 16 points and Jeremy Sochan had 14. Sochan had a couple of plays that make us excited for his upside. And he’s only 19 years old.
I mentioned the Spurs crashing the offensive glass. They had the 17-11 advantage but the overall rebounding was won by the Lakers, 56-48. Lakers also had 19 turnovers and I’ve harped about that all season. Good thing that the Lakers are older and more experienced.
The Lakers go to Boston to start another 5-game road trip. L.A. is now 23-26 and with Anthony Davis and Rui Hachimura on the team (plus the upcoming trading deadline and the eventual returns of Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV), the Lakers might be looking for a run in the second half of the season.
But we’ll see what this road trip brings. Like I said, every game is important from here on out.