The Los Angeles Lakers are nearing the end of their eight-game road trip as they travel to Texas to play the San Antonio Spurs. This is not Kobe Bryant’s last trip to San Antonio, so they will not pay tribute to the 20-year veteran this time around.
Head Coach of the Spurs, Gregg Popovich, elected to rest Tony Parker tonight, so Ray McCallum will get the start tonight against the Lakers. Jordan Clarkson will also take the night off after spraining his ankle in Wednesday night’s game in Minnesota, but his status is day-to-day. The Lakers will look to snap their current four-game winning streak against the Western Conference’s second-best team.
D’Angelo Russell picked up where he left off on Wednesday night with his aggressive play, as he drove past McCallum down the lane for a layup to tie the game up at 4-4. The Lakers struggled to stop the Spurs on defense, but they were able to score efficiently with back-to-back threes from Lou Williams and Russell to give the Lakers their first lead 12-10. Kobe Bryant and Russell took control of the game, each of them with seven points, and the Lakers lead 19-15 midway through the first quarter. Kobe missed his first shot of the game, but Roy Hibbert cleaned the glass and dunked it home, and the Lakers lead 25-17 with 2:55 remaining in the first. The Spurs finished the quarter with a 12-0 run, and the Lakers trailed 27-31 after one.
Marcelo Huertas came out in the second quarter and scored four points with one assist and the Lakers tied the game at 36 three minutes into the second quarter. Russell checked back into the game and continued to play with confidence, making another three-pointer to give him 12 points on the evening. After Russell’s three the Spurs went on a 5-0 run and the Lakers trailed 39-41 with 5:30 left in the half. Kobe turned the ball over out of the timeout, and Kawhi Leonard made an acrobatic reverse layup with his left hand plus the foul, increasing the Spurs run to 8-0. After nearly four scoreless minutes, Hibbert made a hook shot to cut the Lakers deficit to five points with 3:46 remaining in the half. Russell nailed a three-pointer on the last possession of the half, and the Lakers trailed the Spurs 49-51 at the half.
On the Lakers opening possession, Kobe went up for a three but got slapped on the arm by Leonard, but did not get the call call and Kobe picked up the technical foul after making his frustration known to the referee. The Spurs outscored the Lakers in the first few minutes of the third quarter and extended their lead to seven points with 7:49 left in the quarter. LaMarcus Aldridge proved to be too much for Larry Nance to handle down low, as he grabbed his own miss and laid it in to give the Spurs an 11 point lead midway through the third. The Lakers hot shooting from the first half cooled off significantly and the Spurs continued rolling to the tune of a 17 point lead. Russell finally ended the Lakers drought with back-to-back three pointers, and he cut the Lakers deficit to 13 points with 3:36 remaining. After Nick Young hit a three to bring the Lakers within single digits, Popovich was called for a technical foul and Young converted the free throw. After three the Lakers trailed 71-79.
The Spurs began the fourth quarter with a quick 9-2 run, and the Lakers were desperate for some offensive efficiency without Russell or Bryant on the floor. Kobe checked in and immediately scored, but the Lakers could not stop the Spurs on the defensive end and trailed 75-91 with 9:00 remaining in the game. With 6:55 left in the game Russell made a hook shot in the post to give him a new career-high 24 points, but the Lakers still trailed by 14. The Spurs put the game away and took a 23 point lead with 5:03 remaining in the game. During garbage time No. 34 overall pick, Anthony Brown made his NBA debut for the Lakers. This was not Kobe’s final game in San Antonio, but the “Kobe” chants reigned down from the crowd as the game came to an end.
Final Score: Lakers 87, Spurs 109