If there’s been one constant in the last 20 years for the NBA, it’s been the consistency and stability of the San Antonio Spurs. That may have changed at the turn of the decade, with the Spurs nursing a 6-11 record and looking likely to miss the playoffs for the first time in 23 years.
The Spurs had lost eight straight games before winning their last game against the New York Knicks. Nevertheless, in their home arena, they pose a risk to the Lakers’ seven-game win streak despite the purple and gold having already notched one win there.
For the Lakers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been on a tear since entering the starting lineup for an injured Avery Bradley, shooting 60 percent from the field and 62 percent from three over the last five games. Going against the Spurs’ defensive backcourt of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White could give the Lakers’ nominal starting point guard some issues, however.
Offensively, the Spurs will rely on DeMar DeRozan who has had plenty of success against the Lakers and could repeat that against the Lakers rotation of small guards if Frank Vogel continues to limit Danny Green’s minutes rather than having him shadow the former All-Star. Alex Caruso’s healthiness will also go a long way in defending the LA native; Caruso did not play in the Lakers win over the Grizzlies due to a sore calf.
These aren’t your older brother’s Spurs but they still boast an efficient offense despite not taking a lot of 3-pointers; DeRozan has taken four all year and hasn’t made one since December 26, 2018. But they are well-coached, take good shots, and can kill in transition if the Lakers are sloppy with the ball. Murray and White, in particular, will be a handful all game. If the Spurs keep it close at home, they have tough shot makers in DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge who can spoil the Lakers’ second seven-game win streak.
The Spurs host the Lakers at 5:30 PM PST on Monday.