LOS ANGELES – A trip to Los Angeles proved to be just what the San Antonio Spurs needed to snap out of an early-season slump.
Two nights after beating the Clippers to snap a four-game losing streak, the Spurs picked up another win at Staples Center on Thursday, this time defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 118-109.
LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with a season-high 28 points and was one of five in double figures. Demar DeRozan added 19 points and eight assists.
“He scored for us and he worked hard on D,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about Aldridge. :You know, he’s guarding Anthony Davis out there. That’s a pretty tough job. So he played a really good all around game."
The Spurs were 16 of 35 on 3-pointers after making 20 from beyond the arc against the Clippers. Eight players made 3-pointers with Aldridge and Rudy Gay leading the way with three apiece.
Gay hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 9-2 run midway through the fourth quarter that broke the game open after Los Angeles had pulled within 96-93 on Montrezl Harrell's layup.
“We were sharing the ball. Once you get into a good rhythm shooting it is contagious. When guys share the ball we have nights like tonight,” DeRozan said.
LeBron James had 27 points and 12 assists while Davis added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
“We played a real poor defensive first half,” coach Frank Vogel said. “We didn't handle Aldridge well enough and as a result we got outplayed.”
The Lakers and Spurs have played each other three times in nine days with the road team winning each time. Los Angeles took a pair last week in San Antonio.
San Antonio scored the first nine points and led the entire way. Lonnie Walker IV's jumper gave the Spurs a 84-74 lead in the third quarter before the Lakers went on a 15-5 run to tie it. Harrell's putback off Talen Horton-Tucker's miss evened it at 89 with 1:04 remaining before the Spurs regained control.
The Spurs largest advantage was 15 points late in the first quarter and they were up 65-56 at halftime.
POPOVICH SOUNDS OFF
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who hasn't held back in expressing his views about President Donald Trump, said he believed Trump enjoyed Wednesday's insurrection, where a violent mob loyal to the President stormed the U.S. Capitol to delay Congress from certifying the results of November’s election.
“I believe with all my heart that Trump enjoyed it,” Popovich said 90 minutes before tipoff. “They talked about the police and how easy it was and the barriers were pulled and they just walked right in. That doesn’t happen unless there’s a wink and a nod somewhere. That just doesn’t happen. It’s never happened at any protest anybody’s ever been to.
“That’s why I don’t think it’s so far fetched for people to start talking about the 25th amendment. We know it probably won’t happen.”
Players and coaches from both teams locked arms in a circle at midcourt during the national anthem.
Spurs: Dejounte Murray added 18 points and eight rebounds. ... Drew Eubanks (health and safety protocols), Quinndary Weatherspoon (knee) and Derrick White (toe) were inactive.
Lakers: Kyle Kuzma had 13 points and 10 rebounds. ... Los Angeles was 43 of 86 from the floor, marking the first time in 36 games it has lost when shooting at least 50%. ... The Lakers scored 66 points in the paint, marking the second time this season they have scored at least 60 points inside. ... Alex Caruso returned after being held out five games due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols and scored eight points in 20 minutes. ... Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed his third consecutive game due to an ankle injury.
Spurs: Travel to Minnesota on Saturday for the first of two straight games against the Timberwolves.
Lakers: Host the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Los Angeles is 0-1 during the second game of back-to-back games.
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