Especially if Lonzo Ball figures out how to shoot.
"Luke has been schooled in this game from the time he was a little kid", Popovich said. LaMarcus Aldridge led the team with 31 points on 13 of 20 shooting, Davis Bertans drained six treys to finish with 28 points off the bench while Patty Mills chipped in with 14 points and five assists.
The Lakers are 4-3 ATS in the past seven meetings, and the Spurs are dealing with injuries to Leonard, Gay, Tony Parker (ankle) and Danny Green (groin). Bryn Forbes added 18 points for San Antonio. Nance stole the ball and gave a pass to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to launch a two-on-one fast break.
Such flippancy with the rock won't fly against San Antonio, a disciplined team that ranks around the middle of the pack in opponent turnover percentage but that doesn't make many mistakes itself.
But when it comes to their playoff chances, the Lakers might not be doomed after all.
Los Angeles used a 25-3 spurt to turn a three-point deficit with 3:01 left in the first quarter into a 37-18 lead with 7:16 left in the half. "They were very physical, much more physical than we were".
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"He's a grown man", the Lakers point guard said of his father's comments. He set up forward LeMarcus Aldridge for an alley-oop, edging up their score while earning three assists.
"Um, yeah, his dad was talking s- so I took him out early", Walton deadpanned.
Whoever suits up for the Spurs, it's incumbent upon L.A.to take better care of the ball.
LA Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. was called the "Most Valuable Player" of the game by his coach after Thursday's win over the San Antonio Spurs, and Nance spoke about the game and his highlight dunk in the Lakers' locker room.
This is a lot of dots to connect, especially since we're just four days removed from Windhorst's ESPN colleague Ramona Shelburne reporting that Walton losing his job is "not even a real conversation". "... From the first time he checked in to leaving him in for the entire rest of the second half, he was putting out fires on defense". LA recorded 15 steals on the night, with Ball and Caldwell-Pope combining for nine of those swipes.
The Lakers go on a three-game road trip, starting with the Dallas Mavericks on January 13 at 11:00 A.M. PST.
Talks eventually broke down, but they could pick back up if the Lakers can't find a suitable partner to attach Luol Deng's bad contract or another player to offload.