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'They're tough' | Lakers' Westbrook impressed with young Spurs team

The young Spurs tested the mighty Lakers.

SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs sit at 1-3 to start the 2021-22 season and through four games, there's one thing that is apparent: This team will fight for four quarters.

The young Spurs have not laid down against some of the NBA's best early this season.

They were competitive against the Nuggets, the defending champs Bucks, and recently took the Lakers to overtime before recording a loss, 125-121.

"They’re tough. They’re going to be a tough program for a lot of years," said Lakers' Russell Westbrook.

This is a rebuilding season but at the rate San Antonio is playing through four games, the learning curve may be shorter as the season moves along. 

They are competitive, tough, and have not been intimidated by the league's best.

"They played hard tonight, as you could see. It was a good game," Westbrook said.

Utilizing the Spurs' player's athleticism is key.

The early returns on the young team are that they are athletic, fast and the stats show it.

RELATED: Lakers 125, Spurs 121: What they said after the game

They are 11th in the league in PACE at 101.9. They are first in average speed on offense at 4.98 and in overall average speed at 4.42.

They are also among the youngest NBA teams at 25.2 years old.

Put that youth and athleticism together with head coach Gregg Popovich guiding them and the Spurs might be a surprise as the season unfolds. 

“These guys are young, fast, athletic," Westbrook said. "I still see Pop, so they’re still well-coached and they know how to play the game." 

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Lakers' DeAndre Jordan (10) blocks a shot attempt by San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas. Los Angeles won 125-121 in overtime. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

The young squad will continue to be tested early in the season.

Up next they have dates with the Mavericks (twice), the defending champions Bucks, and the Pacers before their schedule eases up.

These early lessons playing against the best the NBA has to offer could pay off, in the long run, this season and in the franchise's long-term plans to rebuild it back to glory. 

It's on-the-job training this season for the youngsters and they show they will punch their time card and compete on the court no matter which team is in front of them.

"They’ve orchestrated their team very well- a lot of young guys that want to compete," said Westbrook. 

Stay here at KENS 5 for complete Spurs coverage. 

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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