The Los Angeles Lakers got some reinforcements on Wednesday as Anthony Davis returned to action and Rui Hachimura made his team debut against the San Antonio Spurs. LeBron James also played despite it being the second of a back-to-back.
As a result, the Lakers pulled ahead late and cruised to a 113-104 victory over the Spurs to improve to 23-26 on the year.
Patrick Beverley got off to a hot start with the Lakers’ first six points to give them an early lead. L.A. struggled defensively though, especially in the paint, so that lead was short-lived.
The Lakers fell down by eight before both Davis and Hachimura entered for the first time coming off the bench. Davis was on a minutes restriction so Darvin Ham wanted him available to close. Upon them entering the game, the Lakers immediately scored four straight points, prompting a timeout by Gregg Popovich.
Hachimura and Davis both scored their first points from the free-throw line and the latter had a pair of blocks at the end of the quarter, but the Lakers still went into the second trailing 30-25.
Davis started to get going offensively in the second with a 3-pointer and layup. The Lakers had some careless turnovers though and the Spurs made them pay with a pair of triples, extending their lead to double digits for the first time.
After a timeout though, the Lakers picked up their play as Hachimura and James each hit midrange jumpers. L.A. had a strong close to the half and went into the locker room with a slim 54-53 deficit.
It didn’t take long for the Lakers to regain the lead in the third as Troy Brown Jr. hit a 3 and then Thomas Bryant made some free throws. The Lakers momentarily went ahead by four after some Beverley buckets, although San Antonio responded with an 10-0 run to force a timeout by Ham.
The Lakers took some momentum back at the end of the third quarter when the Spurs committed a silly flagrant foul on Davis, jumping in his landing space on a halfcourt attempt at the buzzer. Davis made all three free throws to cut the Lakers’ deficit to 82-81.
Hachmiura and James each hit 3s early in the fourth, giving the Lakers the lead back. After a Spurs timeout, it was Dennis Schroder and Max Christie’s turn to drill back-to-back 3s as the Lakers finally began to gain some separation. Bryant followed with a transition dunk to give L.A. its first double-digit lead.
James and Westbrook sealed the victory with a couple of big buckets late, officially putting it out of reach.
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