SAN ANTONIO, TX—The Los Angeles Lakers (23-55) traveled to San Antonio on Wednesday, April 5 and did what few, if any, expected them to do, come away with a win against the mighty Spurs (60-18).
After notching this win, the Lakers are now on a two-game win streak! After a season full of disappointment, back-to-back wins for the Lakers is enough to be excited about. They have only accomplished that feat three times this season, and the last time they did Barack Obama was still president. Seriously.
What makes the win even more impressive is the Lakers, with the exception of a brief tie in the fourth quarter, led for the entire game. On top of that, the Lakers had a 58-38 advantage in the paint. It all started with a stalwart defensive effort early on that helped the Lakers reach a 40-14 lead during the second quarter. Given the Spurs normally potent and efficient offense, Lakers head coach Luke Walton was impressed with his defense.
“Our defense was awesome,” Walton said. “San Antonio was incredible. Just watching them move the ball — even when they weren’t making buckets — it’s really impressive. [Our] guys that were out there tonight really did a heck of a job of being the aggressors and talking and switching.”
Making his first start since injuring his knee, Brandon Ingram had a nice first quarter with eight points. He was benched after the first quarter though for precautionary reasons. Spurs head coach Gregg Poppovich decided to sit some of his players as well. All stars Kawhi Leonard, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Pau Gasol all sat during the second half. Still, they continued to bite into the lead. With the help of solid three point shooting from Johnathan Simmons and Davis Ertans, the Spurs were able to tie the game at 76-76 early in the fourth quarter. The Lakers promptly responded with a 9-2 run and the Spurs never got closer than five after that.
The loss may anger some Laker fans who are more concerned with tanking and retaining their first overall pick than with upsetting powerhouse teams. Mid-season pickup Tyler Ennis, who led the team in scoring with 19, in his first start of the season no less, didn’t seem to care.
“We’re all on social media, so we see it, but I only worry about things in here,” Ennis said. “Coach (Walton) wants us to go out there and win. I don’t think any coach is going to make you go out there and lose a game. I don’t really care what the fans say about winning or losing games. I’m going to go out there every night and try to win.”
With four games left to play in the 2016-17 season much is still left to be decided. Not so much for the Spurs though. After today’s loss, they are locked in at the second seed in the Western conference. Next up for them is a showdown with the Dallas Mavericks (32-46) on April 7. However, for the Lakers, the fate of their first overall pick very well could lie in the last four games. Their final quartet of games begins with a Friday night match-up at home versus the Sacramento Kings (31-47).
Written By John Broadway