SAN ANTONIO – Spurs All-NBA guard DeMar DeRozan tied his season high with 36 points and the team's bench came up big Friday night, paving the way for a 133-120 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at the AT&T Center.
DeRozan nearly had a triple double, finishing with eight rebounds and nine assists on a night when the Silver and Black trailed by double digits in the second half.
"We've been faced with a lot of adversity of late, and for us not to hang our heads down being down that much, that late in the game, it says a lot about what we are capable of," DeRozan said. "The way we played defense down the stretch was big."
The Lakers led by 10 after three quarters and by 12 in the first minute of the fourth before the Spurs made their move.
Led by Jakob Poeltl, Patty Mills, Davis Bertans and Marco Belinelli, the Spurs' backups outscored the Lakers' reserves 54-26. Poeltl and Mills each scored 14 points, Bertans had 13 and Belinelli added 11.
Bertans (13), Poeltl (10) and Mills (8) combined to score 31 of San Antonio's 44 points in the fourth quarter. Scoreless until the final period, Bertans nailed 4 of 6 three-pointers in the quarter.
Poeltl, a 7-foot center, hit 4 of 4 shots in the fourth period. He finished the game 5 of 6 from the field, and added eight rebounds and three blocks. All the blocks came in the final period, when he played all but one minute of the quarter. He logged 24 minutes for the game.
"It was one of those nights where we really clicked with our second unit," Poeltl said. "We had so much run out there playing. I sure found my spots."
San Antonio (12-14) snapped a two-game losing skid and avoided falling four games under .500 for the first time since Nov. 15, 1996. The Lakers, who had won four straight, including a 121-113 victory over the Silver and Black on Wednesday in Los Angeles, slipped to 15-10. San Antonio took the season series 3-1.
Dante Cunningham was the only starter on the floor when the Spurs began the fourth quarter down 99-89. Poeltl, Mills, Belinelli and Derrick White started the final period, when it appeared the Lakers were in control of the game. But the Silver and Black refused to go quietly into the night.
San Antonio tied the game at 112 with a free throw by Poeltl and never trailed again after DeRozan put the Spurs up by 113-112 with 5:42 left. DeRozan scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, making 4 of 5 shots.
"They were wonderful," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the lineup that finished the game and secured the victory.
Poeltl is in his first season with the Silver and Black after he and DeRozan were traded to San Antonio by Toronto last summer for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
"Jakob, you know, he is a quick learner," Popovich said. "He executed his role in an excellent manner for sure. He got into spots where he can get the ball. They probably let him go a little bit, not thinking he would do much, I guess. I don't know.
"Patty did a great job of finding him, and DeMar does a great job of scoring, while at the same time finding everyone else on the court when he gets doubled. It was mostly a great night for the tenacity. Going down 14 (actually, 15) and coming back and sticking with it. I'm proud of them."
LaMarcus Aldridge (14), Bryn Forbes (11) and Rudy Gay (10) were the other starters who scored in double figures.
LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers' scoring with 35 and 27 points, respectively. James, who had a game-high 11 assists, had only 11 points in the second half.
The Lakers scored 72 points in the first half and 48 in the second. L.A. shot 46 percent (46-100) and was 11 of 36 from beyond the arc. The Spurs were 50.5 percent (46-91) from the field, and made 13 of 31 three-pointers.
L.A. outscored the Spurs 27-21 in the third quarter to take a 10-point lead into the fourth. The Lakers were shooting 50 percent (38-76) after three quarters. James had 31 points heading into the final period.
The Silver and Black were shooting 44.3 percent (31-70) after three quarters. DeRozan led San Antonio with 25 points.
The Lakers appeared to be on the verge of busting the game open in the first half when they took a 15-point lead on a 26-foot three-pointer by James with 3:47 left in the second quarter. But the Spurs hung tough, outscoring L.A. 14-3 the remainder of the period to cut the deficit to 72-68 at intermission.
James had 24 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in the first half. He hit 9 of 16 shots and was 3 of 4 from the three-point line. He had ample help from Kuzma, who finished with 17 points and drained two three-pointers.
The Lakers shot 51 percent (26-51) in the first two quarters, and were 56.2 percent (9-16) from beyond the arc.
DeRozan led the Spurs' first-half scoring with 17 points. Forbes (11), Belinelli (11) and Gay (10) also scored in double figures.
The Silver and Black also shot well in the first half, hitting 23 of 45 attempts for 51.1 percent. They were 8 of 18 (44.4 percent) from the three-point line through two quarters.
The Silver and Black continue their six-game home stand Sunday against the Utah Jazz. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.