The Lakers will travel straight to San Antonio after dropping a game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday as they take on the Spurs the following day. This will the first of two straight matchups between both teams, who will see each other twice in the same arena in the next three days.
Start time and TV schedule
Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs
When: 5 p.m. PT, Dec. 13
Where: Frost Bank Center
Watch: NBA TV/Spectrum Sportsnet
The Lakers will play against this year’s No. 1 draft pick in Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs for the first time this season on Wednesday. The Spurs, who haven’t won a game since Nov. 3, have now lost a franchise-worst 17 straight games and are desperate to snap their losing streak against a Laker team that will play on the second night of a back-to-back.
The only team that’s currently playing worse than the Spurs, at least based on the standings, is the Detroit Pistons, who have their own issues and have dropped 20 straight games. As our friends over at Pounding The Rock mentioned, this Spurs team is currently participating in a “No Wins, Just Vibes” contest along with the Pistons and Washington Wizards.
From the outside looking in, it seems like the only bright spot that’s going well for San Antonio is Wembanyama, who is currently averaging 18.8 points and 10.6 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game. His undeniable talent, though, hasn’t been enough to help them win more than three games so far this season as the Spurs have struggled to get production outside of their lottery pick. They have a clear lack of talent surrounding their franchise player.
That said, Wednesday’s match may seem like a cakewalk for the Lakers, but hopefully, they don’t approach it like it is. Teams that are in the midst of a franchise record-breaking losing streak are always desperate to stop further embarrassing themselves.
This Spurs team is still capable of shooting the three-point ball well, which is perhaps the only thing they do better than the Lakers right now. But the Lakers should be able to expose their lack of talent and the fact that they take too many inefficient shots.
Since the Spurs don’t drive to the rim like they used to over the years, it really boils down to making sure they don’t have an above-average night from the field.
But if the Lakers play like they did against the Mavericks, who they allowed to shoot 48% from the three-point line, then this might just be another close one — which is unfortunate considering that LeBron James and Anthony Davis played heavy minutes on Tuesday. Dallas’ role players, specifically Grant Williams, Dante Exum and Tim Hardaway Jr., combined to go 14-21 from downtown. This can’t be the case for the Spurs’ role players as well.
Maybe the Lakers can get some inspiration from the Mavericks, who deserve a lot of praise for taking care of business on the second night of a back-to-back. Let’s see if this helps the purple and gold shake off the in-season tournament championship hangover as they aim to get back on track against the Spurs on Wednesday.
Notes and Updates:
- The Lakers haven’t released an injury report yet for Wednesday’s game but note that Jarred Vanderbilt (back spasm) was ruled out before Tuesday’s game. But expect Gabe Vincent (left knee effusion) to be out while the status of Anthony Davis (left adductor/hip spasm), LeBron James (left calf contusion) remains uncertain.
Darvin Ham said the team will “play it by ear” when it comes to the availability of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jarred Vanderbilt for the second night of the back-to-back tomorrow in San Antonio. Davis will be evaluated by the medical staff after appearing to tweak his hip.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 13, 2023
- As for Spurs, Charles Bassey (ACL injury), Charles Bediako (G-League), Sidy Cissoko (G-League) and Sir’Jabari Rice (G-League) won’t suit up.
- This will be the Lakers’ fifth time playing on the second night of a back-to-back, which they’re 1-4 in this season. This is the perfect time to improve their performance in this regard and their record as they continue to stay afloat in the competitive Western Conference standings.
You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani