Lakers escape San Antonio with narrow win, 122-119

© Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
A 37 point performance by Anthony Davis lifts Lakers to close win over struggling Spurs.

SAN ANTONIO — Without Lebron James out of the lineup due to rest on a back-to-back, the Lakers were short-handed against a Spurs team that had lost 17 in a row. Even though the Lakers had control through the first three quarters, things got dicey. In the fourth quarter, the Spurs went on a 41-23 run to cut the deficit down to one with under a minute remaining, but the Lakers ultimately got a few stops and closed this one out. 

After Anthony Davis rolled his ankle in the first 30 seconds of the game, it looked like the Lakers were going to be without their two best players the rest of the way, but the team responded big. Davis miraculously came back into the game shortly after going down and absolutely dominated the Spurs in the first half, scoring 24 points on his own in that timeframe. 

Even though he was hobbled, Davis ended the game with 37 points and 10 rebounds, while Taurean Prince was the secondary scorer with 17 points. The whole starting five was in double digits, and Rui Hachimura had the highest +/- on the team at +15. 

The Lakers are now 15-10 and 5th in the Western Conference.

Here are my three takeaways:

A lot of the talk about Davis has been his inconsistent play from one game to the next, or his injury history clouding people’s judgment of how talented he is. In his last five games, Davis is averaging 31.6 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He had looked every bit like the two-way superstar the Lakers gave a lucrative extension to in the offseason lately. 

It is also a good sign that he can carry the team to a victory both without LeBron and on an injured ankle. Although it was against the Spurs, Davis’ stats have come against some of the best teams in the league. If he can continue to stay healthy, this Laker team will easily be a top 4 seed.

There is no reason why this should’ve been a 3 point victory. The Lakers held control of the game throughout the first three quarters, but then took their foot off the pedal and lost focus on both sides of the ball. This has happened on multiple occasions this year, which has led to some losses that should’ve been wins.

 Even though this Spurs team had lost 17 in a row coming in, there is no reason to take them lightly down the stretch, especially with the talent that is Victor Wembanyama (who had a monstrous 30 points and 13 rebounds Wednesday night. With how talented the league is now, there is no room to take nights off or coast through any quarter, or we can see a repeat of last year’s first half of the season. 

Since the In-Season Tournament championship win, the Lakers have put together two average performances and got lucky to escape with a win in the latter of the two. However, that does not change my tune on how this team will finish. I have always believed that the Lakers have one of the best rosters in all of basketball, and they showed it in the tournament. 

This team can reach those kinds of heights more often than not, but it is up to the coaching staff to motivate and the players to execute in order to reach that level on more nights than we are seeing now. The Lakers have won 13 of 18 games overall, but I still believe there is another gear for them to reach, and I have full confidence in them to solidify a top four seed when the season is over. 

The Lakers will play the Spurs again on Friday in San Antonio. Tip-off is set for 4:30 PM PST.