Marc Gasol block vs the Spurs

Lakers vs Spurs: Three Things to Know (1/7/21)

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

The Lakers (6-2) are back in Los Angeles after their first road trip of the season, during which they swept Memphis and San Antonio. It’s the Spurs (3-4) they’ll face yet again, at 7 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet.

Below are three things to know about the matchup:

NOTES FROM LAST WEEK’S GAMES
Playing the same team three times in nine days rarely if ever happens in the NBA outside of a playoff series, and Thursday’s game will likely feel like a Game 3, albeit without typical stakes. Since the previous matchups were so recent, we can take a lot out of them. A few notes:

  • The Lakers won 121-107 on Dec. 30 in a game they led by double digits for almost the entirety on a night when LeBron hit double digit points for the 1,000th straight time. Wesley Matthews went 6 for 6 from three.
  • L.A. then won a much closer rematch on Jan. 1, in a back-and-forth contest that saw LAL pull away in the fourth quarter thanks to a 28-18 margin.
  • Anthony Davis went off for four triples towards 34 points in the second meeting, while LeBron James had a 26-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple-double as the stars carried the day.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sprained his left ankle in the second half of the second matchup, and missed the two ensuing games at Memphis. The Lakers were without Alex Caruso for both games, but are hopeful to get him back for Thursday’s meeting. KCP is a possibility as well, though he still had soreness in the ankle on Tuesday. The team was off on Wednesday, so we’ll see how he feels before the game.

SPURS GET ONE PIECE BACK, LOSE ANOTHER
San Antonio will have LaMarcus Aldridge back in their lineup after he’d missed the two prior games against L.A. due to a sore knee, but they lost Derrick White to a toe injury after he’d made his season debut against L.A. in the second meeting. Aldridge, in his age 35 season, is averaging 12.5 points on 40.7 percent shooting with 4.8 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game, all lows since his rookie year (2006-07). He scored 14 points with six boards in 25 minutes but was a -6 as the Spurs defeated the Clippers on Tuesday.

White played 23 minutes against the Lakers on Jan. 1, his only game this season before getting hurt. He hit 3 of 9 shots towards nine points, with two blocks, one assist and one board, and was on the floor during important fourth quarter moments.

In his absence, expect more minutes from Dejounte Murray (career-high 27 points in the Dec. 30 game without White) and Lonnie Walker, plus Patty Mills and rookie Devin Vassell off the bench. Meanwhile, expect fewer minutes from Drew Eubanks, who played 23.5 minutes per game off the bench in the first two matchups, but was a DNP against the Clippers when Aldridge returned.

TOO-EARLY LEAGUE RANKINGS
The Lakers are looking quite strong statistically through eight games, as expected. Here’s a comparison with the Spurs:

OFF RTG (rank)
Lakers 5; Spurs 16

DEF RTG
Lakers 2; Spurs 19

NET RTG
Lakers 2, Spurs 19

EFG%
Lakers 6, Spurs 20

PACE
Spurs 7, Lakers 20

TOV%
Spurs 2, Lakers 22

REB%
Lakers 2, Spurs 20

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