Back at Staples Center after a successful road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers never led and had their four-game winning streak snapped in a 118-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Thursday was the a third meeting between the two teams in nine days, and the Spurs’ avoided being swept in the season series.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel raised concern about the challenge of facing the same opponent so frequently in a short span, particularly one without a win. “This team is really going to be gunning for us,” he said prior to tipoff.
“It’s hard to beat a team consecutive times, let alone three times in a row. They’re going to keep adjusting and bringing more urgency to try to get that victory against us. I always feel in a playoff series the team that lost the most recent game has the psychological advantage.”
The Lakers then went out and were sloppy with the basketball, which coupled with the Spurs’ hot shooting, led to an early deficit. San Antonio opened the game on a 9-0 run and led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter.
A flurry of 3-pointers from Alex Caruso and LeBron James helped the Lakers gain some traction, but they still went into the second quarter trailing 34-26. For Caruso, it was his first time playing since Dec. 27 because of the league’s health and safety protocols.
“He’s just been an invaluable member of our team and we missed him on the trip.” Vogel said.
Talen Horton-Tucker contributed to an inspired effort by the Lakers bench, but each run was met by an answer from the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan each had a game-high 24 points at halftime.
James continued to will the Lakers into the game during the second half and along with strong defense, eventually led to the Lakers pulling even late in the third quarter.
James missing free throws and Rudy Gay adding to the Spurs’ hot shooting resulted in the Lakers again falling behind by double-digits a few minutes into the fourth. That’s how the score remained the rest of the way and the Lakers fell to 2-3 at home this season.
Lakers play third game without Caldwell-Pope
Although Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was optimistic he would not miss any time after rolling his left ankle last week, Thursday marked a third consecutive game sitting. Caldwell-Pope tested his ankle with a pregame workout prior to being ruled out.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!