Well, it wasn’t exactly pretty, but the Los Angeles Lakers got a much-needed victory over the San Antonio Spurs, 113-104.
Los Angeles shot just 44.4 percent overall and 30.3 percent from 3-point range while committing 19 turnovers. It also allowed the Spurs to grab 17 offensive rebounds, which led to 18 second-chance points.
But some components of the Lakers’ defense did well, holding San Antonio to 37.7 percent shooting, and they did manage to capitalize by scoring 29 fast-break points. After looking sluggish through the first three quarters, they outscored the Spurs by 10 in the final frame to ensure victory.
It was Anthony Davis’ first game back in over a month from a stress injury in his right foot. This was also the Lakers debut of forward Rui Hachimura, whom they acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards on Monday.
LeBron James: C/C+
Was James taking it a bit easy tonight? One night after dropping 46 points and nine 3-pointers on the Los Angeles Clippers, he looked like he didn’t bring his A game.
He shot just 8-of-20 from the field and 1-of-6 from 3-point range while committing six turnovers. James finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists in 35 minutes.
Troy Brown Jr.: B/B+
Brown was hitting tonight, as he went 2-of-3 from downtown and 2-of-4 overall. In addition to scoring six points, he grabbed seven rebounds and had one assist and one steal in 21 minutes.
Thomas Bryant: B+
Bryant played “just” 21 minutes because of Davis’ return, but he did fine off the bench, grabbing five rebounds, scoring eight points and adding one steal and one blocked shot. The Lakers’ bench suddenly looks much better with Bryant anchoring things, as opposed to the way it was when Davis was out.
After a horrible game on Tuesday versus the Clippers, Beverley returned to the high level of play he has shown for the last several weeks. He shot 6-of-12 overall and 3-of-7 from 3-point land, giving him 18 points, plus two rebounds, two steals, one assist and one blocked shot in 24 minutes.
Dennis Schroder: B-
Schroder had another poor offensive game, going just 3-of-12 and missing all but one of his six 3-point attempts. But he helped the Lakers’ cause in other ways by getting eight rebounds, dishing off five assists and coming up with four steals and two blocks.
One of those blocked shots was on Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, who is nearly a full foot taller than him.
Davis looked a bit tentative when he first checked into the game in the first quarter off the bench, and understandably so. But he worked his way into rhythm, and once he did so, he looked very much like the dominant version of himself everyone saw for about a month prior to his injury.
He not only scored 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds in 26 minutes, but he also blocked four shots. That doesn’t even tell the whole story, as he altered some additional shots. The Lakers’ defense is much more effective with him on the court.
There was a scare at the end of the third quarter when Davis attempted a mid-court heave to beat the horn, only to land awkwardly on the Spurs’ Zach Collins and twist his ankle. The Crypto.com Arena crowd groaned in frustration as Davis grabbed his right ankle while on the ground.
But he was fine, and a flagrant 1 foul was called on Collins for invading his landing space. Davis made all three free throws to help give LA a bit of momentum heading into the final frame.
Rui Hachimura: B+
In his first game as a Laker, Hachimura played 22 minutes off the bench and scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting while grabbing six rebounds. He ran the floor well and made the effort to get out on the fast break, which led to a foul and two made free throws on one possession and a layup moments later, as well as a 3-pointer on a pass from Schroder in the fourth quarter.
In the halfcourt, the Lakers went to him a few times for some mid-range area isolations, and he delivered. He also did a good job of contesting shots defensively, something he can help them with thanks to his strong frame and 7-foot-2 wingspan.
It appeared head coach Darvin Ham wanted Hachimura to be in the game when James was resting, especially in the second half. An encouraging sign was the fact that Hachimura spent time at both the 3 and 4, which speaks to his versatility.
Russell Westbrook: B/B+
Westbrook only had four assists and two rebounds, but he was very effective offensively, going 7-of-15 from the field to score 14 points in 28 minutes. He scored three baskets in the paint off dribble penetration in the final four minutes to help seal the victory.
Max Christie B
It looks like the Lakers can count on Christie to bring plenty of defensive effort and energy, as well as activity on the boards and dependable 3-point shooting. He had five points on 1-of-2 shooting (both shot attempts were 3-pointers), four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 24 minutes.
Wenyen Gabriel, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones: Incomplete
Gabriel, Toscano-Anderson and Jones all came in toward the end of the game in garbage time. All three went scoreless.