The Spurs and the Lakers meet for the second of four games this season. San Antonio and Los Angeles have each won two games to start out the season. Both of these teams had some pretty big identity changes in the offseason. That means that both teams are still trying to manage their lineup and build up chemistry.
San Antonio has started out the season 2-2. The Spurs finished last season with a 47-35 record, which put them in seventh place of the Western Conference. San Antonio drew a first round matchup against the Golden State Warriors and lost in five games. The Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard in the offseason and got DeMar DeRozan back in exchange. San Antonio hopes that this keeps them competitive in the West.
Los Angeles have gone 2-3 to begin the season. After losing their first three games, the Lakers won back to back. Their game against the Spurs will be their third game in four nights. This could exhaust the lineup a bit. Los Angeles missed the playoffs entirely last season with a 35-47 record. The Lakers picked up Lebron James and a bunch of role players around him in hopes of making it back to the playoffs this season.
Both of these teams have been trying to get a feel early of how their lineups will work. Both the Spurs and the Lakers underwent a big change in their lineup and it will take some time for the lineup to mold right. I believe that the strong back to back performances put up by Los Angeles could help give them the edge.
Last season, Los Angeles and San Antonio met up three times. Even though the Spurs were the better team record wise, the Lakers were able to sweep the season series. The first matchup was held in Los Angeles. Brandon Ingram dropped 26 points as the Lakers won 93-81.
In the second matchup of the season, San Antonio hosted the game. Pau Gasol led the Spurs in points with 19, which was not enough. Julius Randle had 25 points and Isaiah Thomas scored 21 off the bench. The Lakers pulled off the 116-112 win on the road.
The final matchup of the season needed an extra period to settle. LaMarcus Aldridge dropped 28 and Dejounte Murray scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds. It was not quite enough though. Kyle Kuzma put up 30 as the Lakers won 122-112 in overtime.
The first matchup between these two teams this season was an exciting game that went back and forth with plenty of drama. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 59 points, while Kyle Kuzma and Lebron James combined for the same total. It was a Patty Mills jump shot with seven seconds in overtime though, that would secure the Spurs 143-142 win.
The Spurs were able to take the first game of the season in a comeback effort, which I imagine is not yet forgotten by Los Angeles. The Lakers will look to get back to an even record with a win on Saturday night. Los Angeles has caught on fire in their last two games and they will look to bring that momentum into San Antonio on Saturday night.
Laker Offense vs Spurs Defense
A big mismatch in this game could be Los Angeles’ hot offense versus the Spurs struggling defense. In their first five games, the Lakers have averaged 126 points per game. Los Angeles will also be getting Rajon Rondo back in their lineup after he served a three-game suspension. With all the firepower the Lakers have to offer, I believe it will be a struggle to slow them down.
San Antonio’s defense has struggled to slow people down, which is odd. The Spurs have always prided themselves on their solid defensive effort. San Antonio has allowed an average of 122 points per game to begin the season. The Spurs had to put up big numbers to beat Los Angeles the first time, but I am not sure if they can keep up with them two games in a row.
The Spurs are missing a key piece in their lineup in Dejounte Murray. Murray tore his ACL before the season began, which means he is out for the season. San Antonio is also without Lonnie Walker and Derrick White, who are both depth role players.
The only injury for the Lakers is rookie Moritz Wagner, will likely miss Saturday night’s game. Los Angeles will also be without Brandon Ingram though as he has one more game to serve on his suspension. Ingram’s absence hurts as he was averaging 14 points per game in his first two games.
The Spurs had to put up their best offensive performance to beat Los Angeles earlier in the season. I am not sure if they can do it again. The Lakers will be a little tired from their third game in four nights, but I believe that their momentum will carry them past San Antonio. Los Angeles is also getting Rajon Rondo back, which allows either him or Lonzo Ball to come and do some damage off the bench.
BetOnline has San Antonio listed as 1 ½ point favorites. I believe that at home this is reasonable. I believe that the Lakers will pull off the upset though. Both teams are listed at -110 against the spread, which gives equal value to each pick. I am going for the Lakers with the points.