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Lakers expend just enough energy to beat Spurs

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LeBron James continued to shoot the lights out from behind the arc for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis led the charge when it counted on defense.

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Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Monday night appeared to be yet another evening where the Los Angeles Lakers were fully committed to exploring the concept of just how little effort they could expend while still winning a game. At least until the end of the game, as the Lakers still wouldn’t find that lowest baseline in their 114-104 win against the San Antonio Spurs, as it turns out LeBron James and Anthony Davis give a team a whole lot of room for error, even when they mostly explode in spurts.

James scored 13 straight points at one point in the second quarter to keep the Lakers in the game in the first half, threw down a couple of athletic dunks, racked up a couple of chasedown blocks and overall continued to demonstrate just how special he is when locked in — even at nearly 35 years old and in his 17th season.

In the 12-3 run at the start of the fourth quarter that broke open the game for the Lakers, James hit two triples, and finished the game going 4-7 from distance — opening up lobs for Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee down the stretch — and making the Spurs pay for leaving him open in ways he wasn’t able to at the beginning of the season. The self-proclaimed #WashedKing finished the game with 33 points while directing offense to the tune of 14 assists, but he wasn’t the only key to the win.

Davis had a ho-hum scoring night (finishing with 19 points), but was transcendent on the fourth quarter, scoring nine straight points for L.A. to push any thoughts of a comeback out of the Spurs’ collective mind. Davis also continued to make his case for Defensive Player of the Year, blocking two shots and swiping two steals while affecting countless other possessions to allow the Lakers to get just enough stops to survive.

This win extended the Lakers’ winning streak to eight games, and moved their league-best record to 15-2. The team will have a day off before finishing their road trip in New Orleans against the Pelicans in a game that will serve as Davis’ homecoming to the city he both started his career in and recently demanded out of.

The Pelicans aren’t great, but the energy and emotions of the city — combined with the young ex-Lakers wanting revenge games against their former team — might make it necessary for the Lakers to use up more effort than they put forth for the entirety of the game against the Spurs. That’s a concern for another day for now, though, as on Monday, the Lakers were just happy to rack up another win without having to fully flex their muscles.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.