After a tough loss against the Dallas Mavericks to kick off their road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the court on Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs.
Being the second game of a back-to-back, the Lakers were without LeBron James due to a calf issue. That meant that other guys needed to step up for the Lakers, and they did exactly that resulting in a 122-119 victory.
The game didn’t get off to the best start for the Lakers as Anthony Davis rolled his ankle 30 seconds in, although he was able to walk it off and stay in the game. The Lakers got a quick look at rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama as he hit as early triple for the Spurs, although Rui Hachimura responded with seven quick points including a 3-pointer of his own. Hachimura got the start in place of James.
Davis then went to work on the rookie to the tune of six straight points, forcing Gregg Popovich to take an early timeout with the Lakers leading 13-8.
After the Lakers built their lead to eight, Popovich pulled all five of his starters to inject some life in his team. While that led to a 5-0 run, Davis (15 points), Hachimura (nine points) and the Lakers were too much for the young Spurs in the first quarter as they led 34-26.
Austin Reaves closed the first quarter with a buzzer-beater and then kept it going early in the second with a triple. Taurean Prince also got in on the action to put L.A. up 16.
Davis continued his dominance with a pair of rare triples and a dunk on Wembanyama, although the rookie responded with a dunk of his own and a block to end the half so the Lakers’ lead was cut to 63-50.
Prince and Cam Reddish were locking up defensively for the Lakers early in the third quarter, creating fastbreak opportunities with Hachimura capitalizing with a dunk. Prince also got going offensively with five straight to stretch the lead to 19.
To the Spurs’ credit, they didn’t just fold and kept fighting to get back in the game with Keldon Johnson attacking the basket offensively. Reaves and Max Christie connected from deep to end the third quarter though so the Lakers maintained a comfortable 92-74 lead going into the fourth.
With Davis on the bench, the Spurs got their deficit back down to 13 before Prince buried another triple.
The Spurs got it back to single digits behind some buckets and fouls down low for Wembanyama. He then connected on back-to-back 3-pointers before the Lakers committed a silly turnover, making it just a two-point game.
Wembanyama was on a mission from there, taking the ball to the hole and getting fouled. He would make only one of two though, which proved to be crucial with Davis making two of his own at the line. That left the Spurs trailing by three, and Wembanyama wasn’t able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and the Lakers would hang on for the win.
Davis led the way with 37 points, 10 rebounds, one assist and four steals while Wembanyama had 30 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and six blocks.
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