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.
"We played really poor defense in the first half," said Lakers' head coach Frank Vogel. "LaMarcus Aldridge in particular had a spectacular game. As a result, we got outplayed and they got the W."
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. The Spurs were 16 of 35 on 3-pointers after making 20 from beyond the arc against the Clippers.
"They're definitely a different team with him in the there," Vogel said of Aldridge, who missed the two games against the Lakers in San Antonio with left knee soreness.
LeBron James scored 27 points and Anthony Davis added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
"We didn't play any defense," said Davis on why they lost. "Our defense was s--- tonight."
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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. Montrezl Harrell's putback off a Talen Horton-Tucker 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: Drew Eubanks (health and safety protocols), Quinndary Weatherspoon (knee) and Derrick White (toe) were inactive.
Lakers: Alex Caruso returned after being held out five games due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols and scored xxx points in xx 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.