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Lakers vs. Spurs game preview: Dancing with the defending champions

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The Spurs are on a road trip that sends them up and down California. Tonight's stop: Los Angeles.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers had a day to get back to sunny Southern California after a tough road trip that amounted to two losses. Things aren't getting any easier, with the San Antonio Spurs coming to town, who have been thumping California teams.

The Spurs are in the middle of a road trip that includes all four of the California NBA teams. They already beat the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors in a tough back-to-back, and seem to be shaking off some off-season rust after a slow start. We all know by now that the Spurs aren't a "regular season" team, and head coach Gregg Popovich makes it a point to sit his players when his bones tell him to do so.

The silver and black are always a challenge for the Lakers. Their offensive execution is something that picks apart the best defenses around the NBA, which means the Lakers are about to turn into mushy tomatoes in the middle of Figueroa street. The Spurs will most likely take advantage of the Lakers' inability to make decisions as a team, force the defense to collapse, then find an open man on the perimeter.

Kawhi Leonard is a player to watch for San Antonio. As their trio of stars dim out -- granted, Tony Parker is only 32 -- Leonard will have to be the player they increasingly lean on. His season hasn't gotten off to a great start, but he put up two big games against the Clippers and Warriors, and will have "Wild" Wesley Johnson guarding him.

The Lakers schedule is back to ramping up, with a game against the Warriors followed by a road trip that includes visits to the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. A quick glance at the schedule points to a home game against the Denver Nuggets, who have been very bad this season, could be the next win for the Lakers. Enjoy the game.

Time: 7 p.m. PT

Station: ESPN, TWCSN