Some of the Lakers play tonight against the San Antonio Spurs in the second of a back-to-back game for both teams. The Lakers lost last night in Utah 110 – 117 in a game the NBA mandated be played. For their part, the Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 110 – 113 and now sit 5th in the Western Conference with four games to go.
The Western Conference playoff race has tightened up and the Spurs (45-33) are two losses away from the 8th seed. Tonight’s matchup against the Lakers is a game they are going to want as two of their remaining four games are against playoff teams.
Without Kawhi Leonard, who is sidelined with quad injury and contract concerns, the Spurs have unsurprisingly pushed on with a playoff run that stretches back to the fall of the Roman Empire. The Lakers have actually beaten the Spurs twice this year and stranger things have happened than a team losing in Los Angeles on the second night of a back-to-back.
While the Spurs may be featuring a cast of international all-stars and nba castaways their roster is Hall of Fame worthy in comparison to the Lakers, who are limping into the final stretch of the season. Expect Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to be out until further notice. Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance will also not play in this one as they are now on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Additionally, Corey Brewer is now on the Thunder acting as a sweet siren for the charms of life in the Purple and Gold.
Essentially what we are getting at here is Tyler Ennis is going to play real minutes here with Alex Caruso and Jim Halpert enthusiast Josh Hart. On the upside, Kyle Kuzma has knocked down the Rookie Wall and is currently fashioning it into a fort from which to lob threes at our opponents.
This game is not about the outcome. Not this late in the season with this active roster. Have fun with the last few minutes of the 2018 season. Julius Randle is playing amazing basketball and may well get a triple double tonight if the Lakers pull out this win.
The Spurs (2nd in Defensive Efficiency) are going to get back on defense, look for the Lakers to struggle pushing the ball in transition. It is trite by now to say it, but this one is going to come down to defense and our ability to grab offensive rebounds. What we lack on offensive, half-court, Tyler Ennis run offense we need to make up with Randle putbacks and Kuzma threes.
If we can avoid a Tyler Ennis heat check three off the dribble we have a punchers chance of pulling this one out against the Spurs. Look for a low scoring affair with solid numbers from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, some Julius Randle body blows, and the sneaky Alex Caruso driving dunk in what can only be described as a cosplay of White Men Can’t Jump at Staples.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm PST start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.