The Los Angeles Lakers came off of a thrilling win against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. LeBron James and the Lakers were able to overcome a slow start to eventually beat the Mavs in overtime. Check out the recap on LeBron and Luka’s duel here. On Sunday, they continue their road trip against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs are one of the biggest rivals for the Lakers. Keeping the momentum going will be important as they can take advantage of an easier schedule to start the year.
Frank Vogel has stated that he did not want to change the line-ups too much, opting to wait for five games to make a change. Could the game against the Spurs be the first of a change? JaVale McGee has faced criticism for his poor play and can be somewhat attributed to the Lakers’ play during the first half of games. The starting unit has played 57 minutes with a net rating of -4.8. The next three lineups feature James, Dwight Howard, and Anthony Davis and all three have net ratings of over 16 points per 100 possessions.
McGee has a -2.1 net rating on the season. Through five games, all of his counting stats have dropped significantly when compared to last year: points (12.0 last year to 5.2 this year), blocks (2.0 to 0.8) and rebounding (7.5 to 4.2). Dwight leads the team in net rating (the Lakers outscore opponents by 29.4 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court), which is 15th in the league. He is not the offensive threat he once was in Orlando. But, he still is contributing elsewhere, averaging 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
San Antonio is also 4-1 to start the season, with the lone loss coming against the Clippers. A year after the Kawhi Leonard departure, the Spurs still are impressive. They have a deep guard rotation in Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, Brynn Forbes, and Derrick White. DeMar DeRozan is still an All-Star caliber player; he’s 26th in the league in scoring (21.6 points per game on 52.6% shooting).
As a team, the Spurs are shooting 34.6% from beyond the arc and 47.4% overall. At the basket, however, the Spurs are shooting 64.6% on the season so rim protection will be vital.
The Lakers are a second-half team with a net rating of 23.2 (first in the league). But starting slow may not yield positive results as the Spurs are seventh in second-half net rating at 9.4. A bad first half could lead to a loss for the Lakers, who are looking for their fifth win in a row.
Lakers and Spurs tip-off at AT&T Center at 4 PM PST.