The San Antonio Spurs (22-27) play another game in L.A. tonight, this time against the Los Angeles Lakers (37-11). The Lakers are the first seed in the Western Conference, three games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs, meanwhile, are the tenth seed, a half game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for ninth and two and a half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for eighth.
Anthony Davis Injury Update
Anthony Davis is listed as probable with shoulder soreness. Davis’ shoulder has bothered him much of the season so it’s more likely than not that he’ll go ahead and give it a go against the Spurs.
The Spurs would obviously prefer that Davis takes a rest. The superstar power forward is averaging 26.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 34.6 minutes per game.
If Davis does miss tonight’s game, expect Kyle Kuzma to replace him in the starting lineup for the Lakers.
NBA Trade Deadline Looming for Spurs
This is the last game for the Spurs before the NBA trade deadline. By the deadline, which is on Thursday at 2 pm CT, San Antonio will need to decide whether they are staying put, adding pieces in hopes of making the playoffs or selling off assets to the highest bidder.
A loss tonight might further convince San Antonio’s front office that they should be sellers at the deadline. As it stands, catching both the streaking Blazers and the up-and-coming Grizzlies appears to be a difficult task, especially with a daunting Rodeo Road Trip at hand.
Emotions to Run High for Spurs and Lakers
This is the first game against the Lakers since Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. Head coach Gregg Popovich will probably be emotional, as he had great respect for Bryant and was part of some legendary battles. This will also be a tough game for DeMar DeRozan, who grow up idolizing and patterning his game after the Lakers superstar.
For Los Angeles, this is only their second home game since Bryant’s death.
Spurs at Lakers – Key Matchup
Who will defend LeBron James? Most likely DeRozan will start off on him. Dejounte Murray usually defends the stud perimeter players on the other team but James is likely too big for him to slow down.
Off the bench, expect Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV and maybe even Rudy Gay to get a crack at him.
Prediction: Spurs at Lakers
The Lakers are massive favorites tonight. Oddsmakers believe Los Angeles will win 118-107 and have the Lakers favored by 11.5 points. Even though the Spurs are on a back-to-back and don’t have nearly as much talent as the Lakers, I expect San Antonio to remain competitive.
Los Angeles Lakers – 115
San Antonio Spurs – 113