LeBron James was the best player on the floor Wednesday night in Los Angeles, and he pushed the Lakers past the Spurs with 20 points in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs got a season-high 31 points from Rudy Gay and 32 points from DeMar DeRozan. For DeRozan, it's his 18th game of the season with at least 20 points. He's one of just 6 players in the league who can make that claim.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 and 9 rebounds. The Silver & Black were perfect from the free throw line as a team, making all 20 attempts. San Antonio also corralled 7 more rebounds and forced 2 more turnovers, but it wasn't quite enough.
LeBron finished with 42 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists on 15-of-24 shooting.
The loss drops the Spurs to 11-14 in the 2018-19 campaign. They're 2-1 against the Lakers. The teams will meet for the fourth and final time of the season on Friday in San Antonio.
The Spurs' 9-5 run to start pushed the lead to 8 points and forced a Lakers timeout after less than 2 minutes of the fourth. Rudy Gay got up to 29 points, the most he's ever scored as a Spur.
But LeBron James is still LeBron James, and he doesn't let his teams go down without a fight. This move, coupled with a three, then an and-one after a San Antonio turnover, put the Lakers back ahead.
He scored 17 straight for the Lakers, and was looking like he might single-handedly win the game for Los Angeles.
LaMarcus Aldridge put the Spurs ahead with a three-point play, but things got ugly for the Spurs after that. Several turnovers led to an 8-0 Lakers run and 5-point lead.
I mean, what do you do against this? The 42 points LeBron scored were the most scored by any Spurs opponent this season.
After three, the Spurs lead 82-78.
Although the top highlight of the night might be Lonzo Ball's first quarter dunk, Spurs fans can make a case for this play, where DeMar DeRozan took on half the Lakers' defense, including LeBron. The Spurs' lead got up to 9 points in the middle of the third quarter. The shooting touch of the Lakers abandoned them for long stretches in the third frame, and their reliance on LeBron James was apparent.
More importantly, Rudy Gay took over for the Spurs in the third quarter. For a stretch, it looked like he might outscore the combined output of Aldridge and DeRozan, his higher-profile teammates.
The Spurs pulled ahead by 3 points early in the third. It was their largest lead of the game at the time.
At halftime, the Lakers lead, 50-45.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay lead the Spurs with 10 points each. Davis Bertans has 9 and DeMar DeRozan has 8, but the Spurs are shooting just 42 percent from the floor.
LeBron James has 13 points, but his 11 shots are the most of any player. The Lakers have committed two more turnovers and collected one fewer rebound, but their 44 percent shooting is a bit better.
The Spurs started with a bit of a run in the second quarter with LeBron James on the bench for the Lakers.
Davis Bertans shook off an elbow to the face on a first-quarter play to knock down a deep shot as the Spurs played catch-up.
After 1 quarter, The Lakers lead 31-23.
The end of the first quarter was mostly Lakers, with LeBron James leading all scorers with 9 points in the opening stanza.
The highlight of the quarter belonged to the Lakers' second year point gaurd.
DeMar DeRozan got going early, but the flow of the game in the first few minutes was interrupted when Lakers forward Brandon Ingram rolled his ankle on the landing after a jump shot. Ingram missed both prior games against the Spurs due to suspension.
The Spurs are looking for another versatile defender to help stop the Lakers' wing trio of Kuzma, Ingram and LeBron, so Dante Cunningham is in the starting lineup.
The Spurs haven't had much time to stew over a blowout loss in Utah on Tuesday, facing a quick turnaround with a game in Los Angeles Wednesday.
The Silver & Black lost by more than 30 points for the third time in seven days, after blowout losses last Wednesday and Friday to the Timberwolves and Rockets, respectively. Sprinkled in there was Sunday's win at home against the Blazers.
PREVIOUSLY: Spurs falter on defense, lose 139-105 to Jazz
After Wednesday's game, the Spurs return to the AT&T Center for another game against the Lakers, the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this regular season. The Spurs won both prior meetings in October.
Follow along here for live analysis of the game, beginning at 9:30 Central Time.