LOS ANGELES — Even with five days off it made no difference for the Los Angeles Lakers, as they suffered their sixth straight loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in a 125-109 defeat led by a game-high 25 points from Tony Parker.
After a tightly contested first half that featured eight ties and four lead changes, the Spurs began to separate in the second half as Parker and Kawhi Leonard scored a combined 24 points.
As the Lakers fell behind by seven points at 87-80 late in the third quarter, they cut the deficit to as little as two points as Pau Gasol scored 9 out of their last 12 points for the quarter, but San Antonio headed in the final quarter with a 5-point advantage at 92-87.
The Spurs in the fourth quarter increased the margin to a game-high 17 points due in part to a 17-8 run midway through the quarter. San Antonio outscored Los Angeles 33-22 in the final quarter on 63 percent shooting from the field and 9 assists on 12 made field goals.
It was a well balanced attack for the Spurs in their 11th straight win as they had seven players in double-figures that included their starting lineup with double-double performances from Tim Duncan with 10 points and 16 rebounds, and Leonard with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought we were right there in the fourth quarter,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We had some shots that we missed to keep the game close. I thought the air went out of us a little bit and they just kept coming at us. We didn’t start the game off (right) and that probably compromised the whole thing.”
The first half of the game featured back-and-fourth action between the teams, and standout level of play from Xavier Henry who scored 19 of his team-high 24 points for the game. But for the four-year veteran, it was the Spurs’ execution in the second half that lead to their sixth loss in the last seven games.
“They just played hard and executed down the stretch,” Henry said, who went 1-of-5 shooting for just 5 points in the second half. “They made a lot of good plays in the third and fourth quarter. It was a tough way to go out but we fought hard.”
For Gasol, it was the team’s lack of defense in the game as they allowed San Antonio to shoot 53 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range.
“We usually shoot pretty early in the shot clock, so that means you have to be more sharper defensively because every breakdown against a team like (San Antonio) they are going to make you pay,” Gasol said, who had his second straight double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. “So that’s what we got to do. We got to bring the energy with a little more focus.”
In the second quarter, Los Angeles was led by Henry’s 11 points as they regained the lead midway through the quarter due to a 13-5 run. San Antonio once again responded with five out of their next six made field goals with layups that included 9 points from Tony Parker that gave his team as much as a 5-point lead.
However, the Lakers headed into the locker room down just one point at 58-57 as they scored 8 out of the last 11 points between each team going to halftime capped off by a dunk by Ryan Kelly with less than a second left in quarter.
The Lakers in the first quarter grabbed a 13-11 lead midway through the quarter, which was short-lived as the Spurs responded with a 14-2 run to take an 11-point lead. San Antonio shot 58 percent from the field that included five 3-pointers lead by Danny Green, whose 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting for quarter included 3 made shots from beyond the arc.
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports