The Los Angeles Lakers reached the end of a four-game road trip without three players who had been with them. Corey Brewer agreed to a buyout and Josh Hart suffered a fracture in his left hand within hours of each other, and Brandon Ingram was out because of a hip injury.
Combine that with the Lakers shooting just over 22 percent in the first quarter, and the reasonable expectation was they were in for a long night against the San Antonio Spurs. But the short-handed group kept in contact with San Antonio, who themselves were without key players.
While each Lakers run was answered with one from the Spurs, that changed down the stretch of the fourth quarter. Los Angeles began to chip away at their deficit and slowly took control of the game.
The end result was a thrilling 116-112 victory that extended the Lakers’ winning streak to a season-best five games. It was the first time the Lakers went at least 4-0 on a road trip since going 6-0 on a trip during the 2008-09 season.
Aside from finishing undefeated on their road trip, Lakers head coach Luke Walton was pleased with his team’s effort and the circumstances by which they earned the win, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Our guys kept fighting. I told them we played hard all game. We didn’t play smart, but we stuck around. In the NBA, it’s a good learning experience for them to see you’re never really out of a game. … There hasn’t been a ton of games like that for us. It was a great experience for the guys. … It wasn’t a pretty game by the standards we want to play at,
but obviously we’re thrilled about being able to pull that one out.
The Lakers at one point trailed by as many as 17 points, and they were down 12 midway through the fourth quarter. From that point on they finished the game on a 25-9. Their first lead didn’t come until Julius Randle made a pair of free throws to put them ahead 106-105.
Randle finished the night with a game-high 25 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists. Lonzo Ball played a key role in the Lakers completing their comeback, making three 3-pointers in the final minutes.
All of Ball’s 18 points came from behind the arc, where he made a career-high six attempts. Ball also had seven assists and 11 rebounds.