GAMEDAY AT A GLANCE
Los Angeles Lakers (15-9) vs. Spurs (11-14)
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center
Last season: Lakers won series 3-0
All-time series record: Spurs lead 88-82
Last meeting: Lakers 121, Spurs 113, Wednesday, Los Angeles
Lakers' last game: Beat Spurs 121-113, Wednesday, Los Angeles
Spurs' last game: Lost to Lakers 121-113, Wednesday, Los Angeles
Lakers' last 10 games/streak: 7-3, won four
Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 3-7, lost two
Lakers' injury/inactive report: Point guard Alex Caruso (G League assignment), out; guard/forward Brandon Ingram (sprained left ankle), out; point guard Rajon Rondo (right hand surgery), out; center Johnathan Williams (G League assignment), out.
Spurs' injury/inactive report: Drew Eubanks (G League assignment), out; center Pau Gasol (left foot soreness), out; forward Ben Moore (G League assignment), out; guard Dejounte Murray (torn right anterior cruciate ligament), out; guard Lonnie Walker IV (G League assignment), out.
Notable: The Silver and Black haven't won back-to-back games since winning four in a row in an eight-day span (Oct. 27-Nov. 3). They are 5-12 since then . . . The Spurs are the only NBA team with an all-time winning record against every team in the league . . . San Antonio starts a six-game home stand Friday night against the Lakers. The Silver and Black will play a game every other night . . . Rudy Gay scored 31 points in Wednesday night's loss to the Lakers. That's his first 30-point game as a Spur.
SAN ANTONIO – No rest for the weary.
Call it a quirk in the NBA schedule or whatever, but two nights after getting torched for 42 points by LeBron James, the Spurs face the unenviable task of playing the Los Angeles Lakers again Friday.
James scored 20 points in the fourth quarter at the Staples Center on Wednesday night, lifting the Lakers to a 121-113 win over the reeling Spurs. Friday night’s game at the AT&T Center will be the last of the teams’ season series, which San Antonio leads 2-1.
The Silver and Black (11-14) have lost two in a row and are three games under .500 for the first time since November 2008. The clash against the Lakers (15-9) starts a six-game home stand for the Spurs, who haven’t won back-to-back games since winning four straight during an eight-day period that started Oct. 27 and ended Nov. 3. They are 5-12 since then.
L.A., which also didn't play Thursday night, has won 11 of its last 14 games. The Lakers are only two games out of first place in the Western Conference.
DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points and Rudy Gay had 31 in the loss to L.A., but the Lakers had James and that made all the difference. James was 7 of 8 from the field in the fourth quarter and nailed three three-pointers in the period. Kyle Kuzma helped James with the scoring load, finishing with 22 points and burying three three-pointers.
“They made a lot of shots down the stretch,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Give them credit. LeBron was the generator and he made some great threes. Zo (Lonzo Ball) went to the bucket and hit a lot of open people on the drive. He did a little bit of everything and got it done. It was a good game.”
LaMarcus Aldridge also had a good game for the Spurs, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds.
Although San Antonio played hard defensively, it couldn’t make enough stops to keep James from taking over at crunch time.
“We definitely competed defensively,” DeRozan said. “We kind of made everything tough for them. Got away from us in the fourth quarter. (The Lakers) hit seven threes, I think, in the fourth quarter. They got on a roll. Even though we were scoring, going back and forth, back and forth, we couldn’t get those critical stops when we needed them and that kind of killed us in the last couple minutes of the game.”
Three of the Spurs’ last four losses have been by 39, 31 and 34 points.
Asked if the single-digit margin of defeat against the Lakers is an indication that the Spurs’ defense is improving, DeRozan said: “I mean, yeah, but it just sucks to lose, especially when everybody is fighting so hard. We just have to keep telling ourselves that it’s going to give. Something is going to give. Luck is going to go our way."
“Everything is going to go our way. Even though we’re fighting hard, nothing much is really going our way. We just have to stay positive and understand that as long as we keep at it, the basketball gods are going to turn in our favor," DeRozan said.
The Spurs continue their home stand Sunday against the Jazz.