Containing the Los Angeles Lakers forwards is critical for the Spurs

LeBron James, and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron James, and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs will need to find a way to contain all of the Los Angeles Lakers’ impressive forwards if they want to win on Sunday.

It’ll be a small Klutch Sports get together on Sunday with Dejounte Murray, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all in the building. Rest easy Spurs fans, we don’t have to worry about AD and LeBron whispering in Dejounte’s ear about how great LA is.

Murray’s recent extension solidified the Spurs backcourt for years to come. He’s been on a tear this year and is still playing on a minute restriction. Murray, along with Bryn Forbes, Derrick White, and DeMar DeRozan, helps give San Antonio one of the deepest guard groups in the league. But against LeBron, AD, and the Lakers, it will be the Spurs forwards who really have to step up.

The duo of Davis and James has been as impressive as we thought. Through 121 minutes of play, the two have a nice net rating of 13.4. Containing these two are keys 1A and 1B for beating the Lakers.

This two-man game ?

? ✖️ 〰️

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 2, 2019

LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles will have their hands full from the get-go. Lyles, in particular, will have to elevate his game to match up with Davis. Davis has more than a few steps on Lyles and is very comfortable putting the ball on the floor. Slowing Davis down or bumping him off his line is important but Lyles can’t get into foul trouble. Davis has already destroyed one team from the charity stripe, the Spurs don’t need to be his next victim.

Just earlier this week Davis dominated the Memphis Grizzlies to the tune of 40 points and 20 rebounds. In that game he also made 27 trips to the free-throw line, connecting on 26 of his attempts. Most NBA players don’t score 26 points in a game in their career, Davis did it in a night on free throws. His 26 made free throws were tied for the fourth-most in a game in league history. That can’t happen against San Antonio.

James and Davis aren’t the only star forwards that the Spurs will have to focus on containing. Kyle Kuzma just made his season debut against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday after recovering from an injury that he sustained over the summer. He didn’t look quite like the scoring threat he did last year but it was just his first game back.

Kuzma is able to score from all levels of the floor when he’s healthy. He compares fairly well to Rudy Gay in that regard. Gay was a bit more of a high flier when he was Kuzma’s age but his game has evolved and slowed down a bit since then. Seeing these two match up against one another will be a fun part of the game to take in.

In addition to Kuzma, Davis, and James, the Lakers also have two impressive centers they can use against San Antonio. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee aren’t the most dangerous scoring threats but their presence on boards can lock San Antonio out of the game if left unchecked.

The Spurs went small against the Clippers and Warriors but Los Angeles will have the ability to flood the floor with big men at any time and force San Antonio to adjust. We could end up seeing an interesting lineup like Murray, Gay, DeMarre Carroll, Aldridge, and Lyles sharing the floor together.

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Limiting the impact of Anthony Davis and LeBron James are the most important parts of the game but slowing down role players like Kuzma and Howard will also be crucial for the Spurs. The two teams go at it Sunday night at 6 pm.