The Los Angeles Lakers fought a valiant battle without D’Angelo Russell but couldn’t keep up with the San Antonio Spurs in a 116-107 loss. The purple and gold survived a 39-point third quarter from San Antonio and had the deficit down four points in the final two minutes, but couldn’t put together enough stops to complete the comeback. Tony Parker hit the dagger with 33.6 seconds left, and the Lakers finally fell.
LaMarcus Aldridge was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of his 23 points in the final frame as he put the finishing touches on the Lakers. Kawhi Leonard dished a career-high seven assists to go with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Pau Gasol scored 16 points, clearly paying homage to his old number with the Lakers.
Russell was a surprising late scratch, sitting out to rest what’s only been called a sore left knee at this point. He still sat on the bench with his teammates, was walking without a limp before the game according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, and was getting up and cheering on his teammates throughout the game.
Jose Calderon got the starting nod, but Lou Williams handled the scoring load off the bench. Williams scored a game-high 24 points. Nick Young was on fire from deep, going four-of-seven from three-point range for 22 points. Julius Randle flirted with another triple-double, filling up 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
It was another very impressive performance from a group of Lakers that continues to show serious fight, even in losses. The late push after the Spurs went supernova coming out of halftime was nearly enough to knock off one of the top teams in the NBA, sans D’Angelo Russell. They can hold their heads high while they move on to the visiting Chicago Bulls on Sunday.