Lakers, Spurs still rounding into form ahead of matchup
The San Antonio Spurs will look to bounce back from two losses in two nights to a pair of the best teams in the NBA when they square off against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday in the Alamo City.
The Spurs (1-2) suffered setbacks at Denver and then at home to defending league champion Milwaukee in a brutal road-home back-to-back. San Antonio was worse for the wear in the final quarter of the loss to the Bucks, running out of steam after leading for large portions of that game.
“It’s tough start to a season with this schedule,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the loss to Milwaukee. “This particular back-to-back, not just because of the teams, but the travel involved. But it is early in the season so that’s not an excuse, but it makes it a little bit more difficult for a young group.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way they played toe-to-toe. The Bucks are the NBA champs and they’re talented. Our guys played with great passion, great character.”
Doug McDermott paced the Spurs with 25 points in the loss to Milwaukee while Keldon Johnson scored 20, Lonnie Walker IV added 17, Derrick White hit for 14, and Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl added 10 points each for San Antonio.
The Spurs racked up 29 assists in defeat, showing that they will share the ball and that opponents should expect San Antonio to come at them with a varied and balanced attack.
The Lakers head to south Texas after a 121-118 win at home against Memphis on Sunday, in the process winning their first game of the year after starting the season with home losses to Golden State and Phoenix.
“We have a lot of work to do, and we’re willing to put in the work,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We feel good about our group. We wanted to start 2-0; we didn’t. But the mindset is to get the next game and still understand there will be some patience required.”
Carmelo Anthony led Los Angeles with 28 points off the bench, with Anthony Davis scoring 22, LeBron James adding 19, Russell Westbrook racking up 13 points and 13 assists, Malik Monk hitting for 12 points and Kent Bazemore tallying 11 for the Lakers.
Anthony’s points moved him into ninth place on the NBA’s career scoring list with 27,423 career points, surpassing Moses Malone’s 27,409. Shaquille O’Neal is next on the list with 28,596 points.
James is expected to play on Tuesday despite suffering a leg injury midway through the win over Memphis. “Guy falls into my leg, and there’s nothing you can do about it and I couldn’t get my leg out of there in time,” James explained about the injury.
James ended up playing 40 minutes. He said afterward that his leg was “sore” and that he would receive continual treatment on it heading up to the dustup with the Spurs.
Tuesday’s game is the first of four between the two teams this season. The Spurs hold a 90-87 overall edge with Los Angeles, including a 53-37 advantage in games played in the Alamo City.
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