Spurs knock off winless Lakers, 92-81

By Joe Buettner

Apr 20, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace (15) drives against San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (left) during the second half at the AT


San Antonio’s Summer League dominance continued Tuesday night. From Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kawhi Leonard and Co. fended off the Lakers with a double-digit win.

It seemed like head coach Jacque Vaughn had a firm grasp on this one, and the Spurs outmatched the Lakers in terms of talent. Once again, it was a great night for Leonard who finished with 27 points and eight rebounds. But we already knew Kawhi was a stud. Cory Joseph, deemed as a likely draft bust from the onset, has broken out of his shell.

For the second straight game, Joseph played like a legitimate floor general. He put in 18 points for San Antonio and had five assists. When he keeps control of his dribble, Joseph is absolutely deadly.

The Lakers just didn’t have enough to match San Antonio. They’ve got some bigs down low that made it hard on Eric Dawson, who came up with just four points and three rebounds. A bit of a drop off from his great Sunday night performance against Atlanta. However, Tyler Wilkerson got quality minutes tonight, and tallied 12 points and eight rebounds.

Spurs Nation finally saw some Alexis Ajinca, and did get some more Ryan Richards, but the Lakers had some serious size that caused problems for the two Euro’s. Although, we saw a little of what Luke Zeller could do.

He didn’t have a great game Sunday, but he once again started, and hit a big three late to help the Spurs pull away from a last minute Lakers rally. What’s really holding Zeller back, though, is the shooters San Antonio already have. The Spurs need guys in the paint grabbing boards, but Zeller just can’t bang down low.

Though on that note, the Spurs were more physical Tuesday. They didn’t wait until the end of the quarter to play defense, and didn’t allow as many easy shots in the lane. Also, they continued to get the job done in transition. A lot of these guys spread the court on the break, giving them enough space to operate. San Antonio also manufactured eight steals which spurred their transition offense as well.

And as far as Marcus Denmon goes, the San Antonio’s lone 2012 draft pick showed more confidence shooting the ball. He’s a quality spot-up shooter, and he showed he can pass the ball. Hopefully San Antonio can see more of Denmon, as well as Dwight Buycks. And maybe James Anderson can continue to play well. Anderson had 13 points on 5-7 shooting which should help improve his value.

San Antonio will play their third Summer League contest tonight, but not until 9 pm. The Spurs take on the 0-1 Los Angeles Clippers and will look to extend their record to 3-0.