In the midst of a four-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers continued to impress as they came away with a 114-104 win over a struggling but frisky San Antonio Spurs team.
LeBron James carried the team offensively as he finished the night with another double-double, scoring 33 points and dishing out 14 assists while also hitting 4-of-7 three-point attempts. Anthony Davis chipped in with a double-double of his own (19 points and 12 rebounds).
The game script for the Lakers during the 2019-20 NBA season has been a slow start followed by a second-half surge and that is exactly what happened in this game as the two teams jostled for momentum before Los Angeles got it going late and sealed the win thanks to some timely shots and defense.
Despite the wins, Kyle Kuzma believes the team has yet to hit their ceiling, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We’re still not playing our best basketball. Obviously we’re 15-2, but we just gotta keep it rolling and keep every single day harping on the little things that are our weaknesses. Just be able to convert on those.”
The fact the team is winning has masked some of the issues they have, notably on the offensive end where they struggle to score when James heads to the bench. Even with a talent like Davis who can prop up the Lakers on that end, opposing defenses have not been shy about simply doubling and forcing him to make plays.
Los Angeles has also been a bit leaky on the defensive side of the ball as they have often struggled to defend at the point of attack which has in turn opened up more driving lanes for teams to either get to the basket or kick out to open shooters. Not coincidentally, their defense has regressed a bit since Avery Bradley suffered a hairline fracture that has kept him out of the lineup and his presence has been sorely missed so far.
One thing to note is this version of the Lakers has done a good job of responding to adversity when it hits and manufacturing wins when they need to. Injuries have made it difficult for them to play their regular rotation, but it has not mattered so far as players have stepped up and produced when called upon.
It is those kinds of traits that should provide some optimism when projecting their season-long outlook and hopefully an indicator that an NBA championship is within their reach.