Preview: San Antonio At L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Friday, February 19, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The San Antonio Spurs attempt to complete a four-game season sweep of Los Angeles when they visit the Lakers on Friday. The Spurs won the first three meetings by an average of 13 points but had to hold off the Lakers to post a 106-102 home victory Feb. 6.
San Antonio won its last six games before the All-Star break but was outrebounded 45-33 and allowed 12 3-pointers while being routed 105-86 by the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. “Guys have to play better,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said afterward. “David West had a pretty good game. Kyle Anderson had a pretty good game. Everybody else was pretty poor. That’s not going to get it done in the NBA. More guys have to play well – that’s the bottom line.” The Lakers have lost 13 of their last 15 games as their dismal season revolves around Kobe Bryant’s presence and second-year forward Julius Randle is having trouble handling the repeated defeats. “It’s just growing pains,” Randle told reporters. “It’s tough on us all. Nobody likes losing. We’re all super hungry and want to get better, but it’s just a learning process that takes time.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (San Antonio), TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE SPURS (45-9): The poor defensive effort against the Clippers was partly attributable to the absence of All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard, who missed the game with left calf tightness. The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year was reportedly kicked in the calf recently and has been experiencing lingering soreness over the past 10 days. Leonard is a game-time decision and Anderson (eight points in 28 minutes versus the Clippers) will again draw the start if Leonard can’t go.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (11-44): Bryant is hoping to feel fresh after the All-Star break but coach Byron Scott plans to decrease his minutes a little over the rest of the season to get some of the younger players a few extra minutes. That would likely mean an increase for second-year shooting guard Jordan Clarkson and rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell and the latter said he received a big lesson while competing in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend in Toronto. “You just see where you want to be,” Russell told reporters. “All those guys have really made it to the top. You can’t name the top guys in the league and not name those guys. We see all the superstars walking in and out of the hotel. You’re just like, ‘Man, I want to get back to this stage and participate in this game.'”
1. The Lakers have lost eight of their last 10 home games against San Antonio.
2. Bryant is averaging 14 points and shooting a woeful 32.7 percent from the field in the three previous games against the Spurs.
3. San Antonio All-Star PF LaMarcus Aldridge had 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting against the Clippers after averaging 24.1 points over his previous eight games.
PREDICTION: Spurs 107, Lakers 88