The San Antonio Spurs (19-5) stayed perfect at home as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (3-20) 109-87 behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s 24 points.
Going into the game all the talk was about Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour. His next stop was the AT&T Center in a place where he always felt that it was home, as he told the media after the Lakers loss.
The Lakers came out with a lot of energy and was matching San Antonio basket for basket, until that was no longer the case. Spurs took the advantage that they had down in the post with Aldridge. Every offensive trip down the floor, the players were looking to get the power forward involved early. It worked.
He came out and dominated early and from that point, the Lakers bigs new it was going to be a long night. Aldridge scored the Spurs first six points before Tim Duncan scored with a reverse layup.
Lakers Rookie D’Angelo Russell had another good outing. With Tony Parker out (rest), Russell looked to score early and often. He finished with a career-high 24 points and added six assists and six rebounds. For Bryant, he finished with 12 points on the night in front of a contingent of Lakers fans.
Dec 11, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) uses some “body english” during a free throw against San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Antonio won 109-87. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
At the start, it looked as if Bryant was going to have one of those nights as the fans erupted as he hit his first four shots in a row.
Bryant though always is amazed by the Spurs and how they are doing through-out the year. He also mentioned that the Spurs are that team that always brings the best out of others.
“They force us to be our absolute best whenever we’ve played against them,” Bryant said. “We are constantly thinking about them throughout the course of the year and always looking at what they’re doing and how they’re playing. We’ve had some epic battles.”
With the Lakers feeding from the energy they kept the game close, until the Spurs made one of their runs. The second unit came in and helped sparked a 14-2 run to end the first quarter. Patty Mills led that charge as he nailed back-to-back three’s.
Mills would finish with 22 points off the bench and three 3-pointers on the night.
Back-To-Back Games Not A ProblemsThis season in back-to-back games. the Spurs are now 8-1. Their next game is Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks.
Patty ThrillsMills came off the bench to provide the energy he has done through-out his career. Mills sparked a run at the end of the first quarter to carry the momentum into the second. He finished with a season-high 22 points.
Contained Kobe BryantLeonard did mention that when he faces Bryant he always tries to play at the top of his game. Between he and Johnathan Simmons, they did a good job on Bryant. He finished the game with 12 points going 5-of-12 from the floor.
Johnathan Simmons ElectrifiesIf you missed the game, then you probably did not see the dunk that Simmons had on an airball, I mean pass from Aldridge (video below). Oh how nice it is to have young legs. Simmons came into the game and played some productive minutes. He finished with nine points.Ray McCallum Gets Start, Does Well
McCallum stepped into the starting lineup for Tony Parker (rest) and played decent. Though I would of liked to see him shoot the ball more he did well controlling the tempo and getting his teammates involved. He finished with five points, three rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots.
Star PerformerThe first choice would be Aldridge. But, I am going to give some love to the second unit, preferably Patty Mills. In 21-minutes of play, Mills went 9-of-11 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from 3-point land. He finished with 22 points.