Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Spurs- Game 64

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (28-36) | San Antonio Spurs (25-40)

 

The Lakers couldn’t pull out the win after the sideline of Lebron James, losing 117-110 to the Spurs.

 

Lakers vs Spurs
Photo Credit: Kin Man-Hui

Lebron James was sidelined last night for the Lakers, with Talen-Horton Tucker getting a rare start. After the unreal performance by James on Saturday, they hoped to pick him up on the road. He’s dealt with knee soreness all year, with the NBA community often forgetting just how long he’s been on the grind. Anthony Davis is still sidelined as well, and last night proved just how much a lack of strength can hurt you. The win for Greg Popovich gave him a tie for an NBA record for the most career wins as a coach at 1,335.

The Spurs started things off with a 6-1 run to start the night before the Lakers responded with a 6-0 run. The game was back and forth in the early minutes, but the problem for the Lakers was only having size in Dwight Howard. They were a liability defensively in the first, forcing Westbrook to be more prominent on offense. He was only 1-4 from the line early on, however, with Dejounte Murray carrying the offense on the other side.

The Spurs were up 31-22 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to 60 percent shooting from the field by San AntonioCarmelo Anthony had splashed a three to tie things up, but 6 first quarter turnovers showed nothing but bad signs.

Both aspects of the game got worse in the second quarter for the Lakers. There was no real leader on offense last night. Westbrook got called for two offensive fouls in the first half which led to a loss of rhythm. The Spurs grabbed their largest lead of the night at 13, with little time left on the clock in the first half.

The Lakers cut the lead to within 6 before the break, thanks to Malik Monk and Anthony. Talen-Horton Tucker also stepped up on offense, finishing the night with 18 points on 7-14 shooting. The Lakers needed a different defensive approach in the second half if they wanted any chance of putting away a subpar Spurs team.

With a loss last night, the Lakers keep diving lower in the Western Conference Standings. The New Orleans Pelicans are just one game behind the Lakers concerning play-in seeding, and Greg Popovich’s Spurs are climbing in the standing as well. They are only 4 games out of play-in contention, a conversation the Lakers never imagined they would be in.

The Lakers cut the Spurs’ lead to just 7 before the break, down 62-56 at the half.

 

Lakers vs Spurs
Photo Credit: Eric Gay/AP

Malik Monk and Austin Reaves led a 7-0 run to start the second half, putting Los Angeles right back in it.  They appeared to initially let go of their first half woes, with Howard putting the Lakers back on top with a completed and-one. Westbrook helped add to that lead, but the Spurs‘ two threes from Josh Richardson had it back to square one.

San Antonio was back up by 7 before the end of the third quarter. Carmelo Anthony then put five on the board all by himself before the quarter ended, leading a 5-0 run with three from the line. That had the deficit trimmed to just three, but shaky defense had Frank Vogel concerned about how to play the final quarter.

Los Angeles decided to stick with their starters during the pressure, and Avery Bradley even tied things up out of the gate with a three. Murray and the Spurs didn’t let it phase them, though, going on an 11-2 run in response to take back a commanding lead. The Lakers unfortunately couldn’t get it back thanks to 26 from Murray, on 12-20 shooting. He has taken over the role from mid-range after the departure of Derozan, finding all kinds of ways to break through the defense in this one. Josh Richardson had 18 of his own, with his team finishing over 50 percent from the field.

Five Lakers were in double-digits last night, a notable accomplishment for them. Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk, and Carmelo Anthony all showed up offensively without James on the court. There were many positive notes to take away from the that side of it last night but ultimately, they fell short once again.

 

The Lakers head to Houston Wednesday as they take on the Rockets at 5 p.m. on Spectrum.          

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Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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