The Lakers are on another winning streak. After two lackluster games against the Orlando Magic and Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets, the Lakers responded with three straight wins at home against the Pacers, the Mavericks and the Suns.
Extending the winning streak to keep pace in an already frantic western conference will be easier said than done as they will be facing a San Antonio Spurs team that is currently 2-0 against the purple and gold.
The Lakers faced San Antonio on October 22, which saw the Lakers lose in a high scoring 143-142 overtime affair, and October 27, where the second half effort led to a victory to the team in the monochromatic jerseys. After October 27, the Lakers were 2-4 and the Spurs were 4-2.
The San Antonio Spurs look poor while the Lakers seem to be finding their stride. The Spurs actually made history with their loss on December 4th. In a calendar week, they are just the 5th team to lose 3 games by at least 30 points in the same week. Under Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs have made the playoffs over 20 straight times. Even though we are a long way until the end of the season, they currently have the second-worst record in the West.
This feels like a trap game.
After the Spurs were absolutely embarrassed by the Utah Jazz on December 4, surrendering 20 made 3’s in a game, the Lakers can’t make the mistake of taking it easy, as they were torched in both of their losses to the black and silver by DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Patty Mills. Plus, if San Antonio gets it together and are able to play their way back into the playoff picture and the Lakers are there, tie-breakers might have implications. Recall that last year, seeds three to eight were separated by two games. I say it in every preview but each win and each loss matters in the West.
But with plenty of positives to take from the past three games, the Lakers have to feel good as they look to keep the intensity up. After a lethargic start to the games against Dallas and Phoenix, the Lakers were able to close out the game strong, which is a far cry from their early season fourth-quarter collapses.
One player to note these past few games is Kyle Kuzma. Known just as a scorer his first year, he is starting to flip that narrative by defending better and finding that extra pass. In the game against the Mavericks, he finished the first half with a single point. Despite that, he was able to contribute by playing stellar defense on Luka Doncic and Wesley Mathews and assisting on a handful of plays.
Lonzo has been lauded as well, for his stellar defense and showing more aggressive play on the offensive end as well. He’s an absolute pest on the defensive end which his teammates have taken note of, and his activity on the court has been a ton of fun to watch.
Still, with the Spurs on the second game of a back-to-back, it is important for the Lakers to try to take advantage of a slumping team, one they haven’t been able to beat this season.
The game starts at 7:30 at Staples Center.