GAMEDAY AT A GLANCE
Los Angeles Lakers (27-34) vs. Spurs (36-26)
When, where: Saturday, 8 p.m., AT&T Center
Season series: Lakers lead 1-0
Last meeting: Lakers 93, Spurs 81, Jan. 11, Los Angeles
Lakers’ last game: Beat Heat 131-113, Thursday, Miami
Spurs’ last game: Lost to Pelicans 121-116, Wednesday, AT&T Center
Lakers’ last 10 games, streak: 7-3, won four
Spurs’ last 10 games, streak: 3-7, lost one
Spurs’ injury report: Pau Gasol (bone bruise, left knee) is probable and LaMarcus Aldridge (sprained right ankle) is doubtful for Saturday’s game. Kawhi Leonard (rehabbing quad injury) is out.
Notable: Manu Ginobili had his highest-scoring first half of the season with 13 points against New Orleans on Wednesday. His highest scoring half was 16 in the second at Portland.
No rest for the weary.
Beaten down by injuries this season, the Spurs get back at it Saturday night with a game against the dangerous Los Angeles Lakers, who have won four straight.
And the Silver and Black most likely will face the Lakers without leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge, who sprained his right ankle in Wednesday night's home loss to New Orleans. Aldridge did not practice Friday and he wasn't seen at Saturday morning's shootaround.
The Spurs (36-26) host the Lakers (27-34) at 8 p.m. San Antonio lost on the road to L.A. 93-81 on Jan. 11 in their only meeting this season. The Lakers are coming off a 131-113 rout of the Heat in Miami on Thursday night.
"They're very good, a fast-paced, up-and-down, high-potential team," veteran Spurs guard Danny Green said. "We know what they're capable of. We've got to play good basketball if we want to beat them.
"We know they're going to give us their best shot. Every team does night in and night out. It's another chance for us to get better, and for our younger guys to improve and show that they belong and take advantage of the opportunities."
The Spurs received some good news Saturday when starting center Pau Gasol, who missed the game against the Pelicans with a bone bruise in his left knee, was upgraded to probable for Saturday night.
“A little sore but I think I can push through it,” Gasol said after the shootaround. “That’s my intent.”
All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, who has played in only nine of the Spurs’ 62 games, remains out with tendinopathy in his right quadriceps. He was seen at the Spurs’ practice facility briefly during the shootaround, walking from the locker room to the weight room. Leonard, who was not dressed in practice gear, walked back to the locker room in a matter of minutes.
While the injuries have mounted this season, the Silver and Black have focused on adopting a positive mindset and pressing forward.
“That’s all we can do at this point,” Green said.
The Spurs have started only two games this season with their entire roster available, and Rudy Gay sustained a heel injury in the third quarter of the second one. Gay, who was signed last summer to back up Leonard, wound up missing 23 consecutive games before returning against Denver on Feb. 23.
“One comes in, one goes down,” Green said, referring to the Spurs’ series of injuries. “Two go down. Some come back. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’ve got to play with who we have and make the best of it. Regardless of who’s out there, we’ve got to play our type of basketball and execute better.
“We’re still in games. We’re still able to win games, very winnable games. Just comes down to us not making mistakes down the stretch. Be more mature and more experienced.”
Hampered by the injuries, the Spurs have struggled to develop consistency on both ends of the court and uncharacteristically blown games at crunch time.
“We’re still grooming some of our young guys,” Green said. “Can’t expect those young guys to come in and be like Tim, Tony and Manu, with the experience and close quarters with clutch plays down the stretch every single time. Night in and night out, we could count on Tony to get a layup or Manu, or Timmy to execute a play without even having to call it."
Although Ginobili and Tony Parker are still playing, the Silver and Black no longer have the overall experience, or "corporate knowledge," as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich calls it, that's given them a decided edge at crunch time for so many years.
"Now we have to draw plays up during a timeout, and explain it to them," Green said. "See how well they can execute it with fatigue, and play a lot of minutes and the body's down. Certain guys are not on the floor. It's very different. The old Spurs that we used to be down the stretch it's very new. It's not here anymore, so we have to do it ourselves. We can't just expect it to happen. We have to make it happen."