The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the San Antonio Spurs Sunday afternoon in their second game after the All-Star break.
The Lakers were coming off a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night in which head coach Luke Walton played his young players extended minutes, as he no longer has the luxury of relying on Lou Williams in the fourth quarter.
Former Laker Pau Gasol was playing in his second game after returning from a broken hand. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in his first game back in action against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Walton stayed with the same starting lineup he has been using lately of D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Tarik Black, while recently acquired Tyler Ennis was set to make his Lakers debut.
The Spurs got the scoring started with an alley-oop from Tony Parker to center Dewayne Dedmon. Ingram responded by knocking down a midrange baseline jumper though, tying the game at two.
Back-to-back layups by LaMarcus Aldridge gave the Spurs an 8-5 lead. He then made a third layup in a row a couple possessions later to expand the lead to 11-5.
The Spurs boast one of the most efficient offenses in the league, and they were scoring with ease early as Kawhi Leonard knocked down back-to-back jumpers to give him nine early points.
Russell responded with back-to-back jumpers of his own though to cut the deficit to 17-12 midway through the first quarter.
Leading 22-12, San Antonio had assists on all 10 of their made field goals to begin the game, demonstrating team basketball and efficiency at its finest.
Led by two threes by Gasol, the Spurs continued to score with ease to close out the first quarter and led 36-20 after one. Leonard led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Back-to-back easy buckets by Jordan Clarkson, including a dunk on a nice cut, to start the second quarter caused Gregg Popovich to use a quick timeout.
Manu Ginobili drained a quick three out of the timeout the to extend the Spurs lead back to 15. A putback dunk by Dedmon and 19-foot jumper by Parker expanded the lead up to 19 (47-28), causing Walton to burn a timeout of his own.
A nice take and finish at the basket by Ingram put the Lakers within 17 with five minutes left in the first half.
Thomas Robinson, who was seeing his first action in almost a month, had a nice put back dunk on the next possession, but Danny Green knocked down a quick three on the other end to bring the lead back to 18.
The Lakers had just two points off the turnover in the first half, compared to 19 for San Antonio which made it tough to make any sort of run.
Corey Brewer, one of the new Lakers, drained a three late in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 18, but Aldridge drained a jumper to beat the halftime buzzer to give the Spurs a 61-41 going into the halftime locker room.
Leonard had a quiet second quarter but still led all scorers with 19 first half points. Russell led the Lakers with nine points, while Clarkson was not far behind with eight.
Popovich once again did not waste any time calling a timeout as the Lakers scored four quick points to open up the third quarter. A vintage fadeaway jumper by Aldridge out of the timeout brought the Spurs lead back to 20.
Young did what he does best on the next possession, draining a long jumper while being fouled. His foot was on the line though, so when he made the free throw it was a three-point play.
A turnover by Russell led to an easy dunk by Danny Green with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, giving San Antonio its largest lead of the game at 23.
The rookie Ingram had a nice driving dunk on Gasol, which brought some life back into Staples Center as the deficit was down to 19. Leonard answered with four straight points coming of Laker turnovers, though.
The theme of turnovers continued for the Lakers to close out the third quarter, as they trailed 96-70 through three-quarters.
Ingram was the only real bright spot for the Lakers Sunday afternoon, as he had perhaps his most efficient game of his young career.
In a game that was already out of reach, Ingram made his first two shots of the fourth quarter to give him 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
Ennis, who was a 2014 first-round pick out of Syracuse, made his Lakers debut entering the game in the fourth quarter. Although he is a point guard, he played alongside Russell to close out the game. He had a nice drive and finish for his first points as a Laker.
Ingram set a new career high when he hit a layup to give him 19 points. He finished with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting, but the Lakers fell 119-98.
Leonard, who only needed to play 26 minutes in the victory, led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Aldridge also had a solid outing with 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Lakers, who had 19 turnovers Sunday, next take the court Tuesday evening when the host the Charlotte Hornets at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time.