Jordan Clarkson vs. San Antonio
Jordan Clarkson attempts a layup while contested by San Antonio's Pau Gasol on Nov. 18, 2016.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Sans Russell, Lakers Can't Reel In Spurs

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

With their leading scorer sidelined, the Lakers managed to scrap with one of the league’s best teams, but San Antonio’s machine-like style of play was too much for the shorthanded side to overcome.

D’Angelo Russell sat out due to a sore left knee, and the Spurs used that to their advantage in a 116-107 victory.

Despite losing Russell, the Lakers (7-6) continued to find success by receiving contributions from several players.

Lou Williams scored 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Nick Young hit four 3-pointers en route to 22 points. However, while those two both reached their season-highs and Jordan Clarkson added 20 points, the Spurs’ offense just kept churning.

San Antonio (10-3) shot a season-best 56.4 percent from the field, while seven different Spurs scored in double figures.

Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge led with 23 points apiece, while the former added 12 rebounds and seven assists, and the latter shot 10-of-14.

“They made really tough shots,” Clarkson said. “And then at the same time, they made us pay for mistakes. It might’ve been a little mistake where somebody didn’t close out … (but) they’re a tough team to play against.”

With Russell on the mend, power forward Julius Randle assumed some of the distributing duties, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

But he, too, felt the absence of their starting point guard.

“It makes it really hard,” Randle said. “(Russell) gets us in our stuff, obviously can really score the ball. He’s a great leader for us.”

The Lakers used a 36-26 second quarter to work their way back to a 52-point tie at halftime, but the Spurs came out of the locker room ready.

Los Angeles chipped its deficit down to 68-66 before Tony Parker took over, scoring seven points in his team’s ensuing 12-0 run.

By the end of the period, the Spurs had shot 14-of-19 in the third while watching their lead balloon back up to 15.

“That’s as good as it gets in the other locker room,” head coach Luke Walton said. “They make you pay for your mistakes. They make you pay when you drive into traffic and try to make it happen on your own.”

However, the Lakers weren’t done. They began the fourth with a 17-7 burst and eventually worked San Antonio’s lead down to four with 1:23 left in the game.

Yet even Clarkson’s 14 fourth-quarter points weren’t enough, as the Spurs stabilized from there to push their record on the road to 7-0.

Despite the final outcome, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich — who passed Larry Brown for the seventh-most wins by a head coach in league history — came away impressed by Walton’s effect on the Lakers.

“Luke’s done a great job of making them believe and play aggressively and you can really see it,” Popovich said. “They came back and stuck it to us. … We got after it an executed better, but I am just so impressed of what he has done with this group.”

#Swaggy4

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Notes
Jose Calderon started for Russell and had five points and three assists in 13 minutes. … L.A. had a 15-3 advantage in offensive rebounds. … Young missed his first free throw of the season and is now 28-of-29 at the line. … Brandon Ingram shot just 1-of-9. … Parker scored 16 points, as did former Laker Pau Gasol. … An audience of 18,997 sold out Staples Center.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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