Rapid Reaction: Spurs come up short against Lakers

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to rebound against the San Antonio Spurs. (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to rebound against the San Antonio Spurs. (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers rode a LeBron James triple-double to victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

The last week of games has been difficult for the San Antonio Spurs. Easy games against the Portland Trail Blazers and injury-depleted Golden State Warriors were bracketed by two difficult contests against the two teams from Los Angeles.

San Antonio just can’t seem to get ahead of LA. They came up short against the Clippers earlier in the week and played well below what they are capable of tonight. It looks like what we thought about the San Antonio Spurs might be true. This team is good enough to win in the regular season, but when they go up against squads with top-five players they just can’t compete.

There are positive takeaways from this game but the thing that really stood out was the Spurs’ complete inability to put the ball in the basket in the first half. San Antonio connected on 14 of their 42 shots in the first half. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the Washington Admirals or the Monstars, if you’re shooting 33 percent from the field you’re probably not going to win.

As he will be most nights, Dejounte Murray was a bright spot for the Spurs tonight. He had a mini-run in the third quarter that helped San Antonio bring themselves back into the game a little bit. During that stretch, he showed off how destructive he can be on both ends of the floor.

It’s getting to the point where it’s not outlandish to call Murray the Spurs best player. He has the greatest impact on both ends of the floor and he pushes the team as no one else can. His 18 point, 11 rebound effort tonight is just another affirmation of that fact. And he did that in just 24 minutes of play. When that minute’s restriction finally gets removed, look out.

LeBron James followed up his triple-double effort in Dallas on Saturday with another one tonight. His 21 point, 13 assists, 11 rebound performance against the Spurs looked almost effortless. There really wasn’t a single San Antonio Spur that could force him into a spot that he didn’t want to be. When James has absolute control of the game like that it’s hard to beat the Lakers.

The player of the game for the Lakers has to be Dwight Howard. It’s baffling that it’s 2019 and Dwight Howard is still beating the Spurs up on the boards. This guy went from being basically sold off the Atlanta Hawks for a bag of Skittles to grabbing 14 points and 13 rebounds off the bench for the Lakers.

The highlight of the night

just go ahead and break that replay button ?#GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/uquO3n0yuG

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 4, 2019

The play of the night has to go to Dejounte. Watching this young man disrupt the game on both ends of the floor is going to be a constant joy for years to come. There are very few players who can impact the game to the degree that Murray can both ends. That 4-year extension is looking like more and more of a bargain with every game Murray plays.

Quick Notes

  • Where was Bryn Forbes this game? He hasn’t been able to connect from deep at the rate he did last year and it’s really hurting the Spurs. He did have 12 points tonight but only connected on one of eight three-point attempts. He’s a much better player than he has been playing like. The sooner he can get back to playing as he’s capable of, the better.
  • San Antonio insisted on switching on screens late in the game, repeatedly isolating DeMar DeRozan on Anthony Davis. Not to knock DeRozan’s defensive ability but simply from a size perspective that’s not a matchup you should be repeatedly forcing yourself into if you’re the Spurs.
  • The Spurs two All-Stars were almost no existant tonight. LaMarcus Aldridge went two for nine for eight points. DeRozan connected on just one-third of his attempts. These are supposed to be San Antonio’s best players, the Spurs will have a hard time knocking off top Western Conference teams if these two don’t play like the stars they are.

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San Antonio gets a day off to get right before their next contest. They get an easier matchup with the Atlanta Hawks minus Trae Young in their next game on Tuesday night.