The Los Angeles Lakers responded well to yet another embarrassing loss, beating the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday thanks to a monster day from Anthony Davis and a dazzling season debut from Talen Horton-Tucker.
Davis showed off swagger from the earliest moments of the clash. Not only did he score L.A.’s first six points but accomplished it in a true Showtime style — using the glass to set himself up for a mouth-watering dunk.
That came after the 28-year-old All-Star had already thrown down the hammer following his own missed shot.
Davis also shot the ball well from beyond the arc, ending the night 2-of-3 from behind the 3-point line. Davis led L.A. in scoring with a game-high 34 points to go along with 15 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.
Horton-Tucker added 17 points in his first game of the 2021-22 campaign. The 20-year-old guard hardly played as if he just returned from a thumb injury, shooting 50% from the field and converting one of his five 3-point attempts.
The Iowa State alum ended the game a game-high +14, successfully taking away some of the ballhandling responsibilities from his backcourt partner, Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook still committed half of the Lakers’ 14 turnovers but impressed with precision when shooting the ball from behind the 3-point line. The 32-year-old went 3-for-5 from deep (60%), scoring 14 points in total while adding 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Carmelo Anthony rediscovered his fine shooting form in the forward’s first start of the season, scoring 15 points in addition to five rebounds. After connecting on just 15% of his 3-point attempts over the last two games, the 37-year-old veteran went 2-for-3 (66.7%) from downtown against the Spurs and 5-for-7 (71.4%) from the field.
The Lakers truly embraced the “next man up” mentality on Sunday, registering a victory characterized by team effort. To prove that, Wayne Ellington and Malik Monk had strong cameos off the bench, scoring 15 and 16 points respectively.
Ellington was L.A.’s hottest shooter against San Antonio, going 5-for-7 from downtown.
Notably, the Lakers avoided their usual third-quarter slump this time around, outscoring their rivals 30-24 in the third period.
San Antonio threatened the Lakers with a late push. The Spurs launched a barrage of threes to bring the game back within two points with 2:41 left on the clock. Devin Vassell led the charge, making three of his four threes in the final period to end the night with 17 points off the bench.
Keldon Johnson also erupted against the Lakers, going 6-of-9 (66.7%) from beyond the arc and scoring a team-high 24 points. Johnson put up his best shooting performance of the year as ahead of the game, he had been shooting just 24.1% for three this season.
Dejounte Murray chipped in 22 points for San Antonio while Thaddeus Young added 17 off the bench.
Next up for the Lakers…
The Lakers have one more game left before they end the current homestand: Alex Caruso’s return to Staples Center together with his Chicago Bulls on Monday.
After the second of the back-to-back games, the Lakers will embark on a five-game road trip across the Eastern Conference.
The trip will start with a blockbuster clash against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. Two days later, the Lakers will face the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
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