Ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers concluding a four-game homestand, head coach Luke Walton cautioned his team could not overlook the San Antonio Spurs despite the fact they’d suffered three losses by at least 20 points in their previous four games.
Sure enough, San Antonio made life difficult, as the Lakers needed 20 points from LeBron James in the fourth quarter and key contributions down the stretch by Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma to claw out a come-from-behind victory after squandering their own lead.
Friday night brought about a rematch and conclusion to the regular-season series. The Lakers again lost a double-digit lead, only this time were unable to mount a comeback.
Following the loss, Walton had a message similar to what he expressed after defeats earlier in the season, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Give San Antonio a lot of credit. They played well, they made shots, they made plays. I thought we played well enough to win that game for three quarters, then they just took over in that fourth. We did some nice things, I loved our pace that we played with until we got to the fourth, when we had zero fastbreak points. We played three good quarters. We’ve got to keep getting better.”
Making matters all the more frustrating for the Lakers was the Spurs erasing a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter largely behind their bench play. The unit got them back into it and DeMar DeRozan took over from there.
He entered the night averaging 31.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.3 assists in three games against the Lakers this season. DeRozan finished with a game-high 36 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 9 assists.
The Spurs outscored the Lakers 44-21 in fourth quarter.