LOS ANGELES, CA – Having already won the first two games of the season series, the San Antonio Spurs hoped to seal the series lead over the Los Angeles Lakers before their final meeting on Friday.
LeBron James wasn’t having it.
“The Chosen One” scored 42 points (20 of them in the fourth quarter) to lead the Lakers (15-9) to a 121-113 victory over the Spurs (11-14) on Wednesday. The win was not only the team’s fourth straight but their first in the season series.
This game was a back-and-forth battle from the jump. The Spurs got on board first, courtesy of a Dante Cunningham jumper. Kyle Kuzma shot back with a piercing three-pointer to put the Lakers ahead. The teams essentially played a competitive game of H-O-R-S-E the entire quarter, with the Lakers usually staying a step ahead.
The highlight of the quarter came from Los Angeles guard Lonzo Ball, who dunked the ball into oblivion at the 5:25 mark:
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 6, 2018
At the end of the first quarter, Los Angeles was ahead 31-23.
The Spurs played their cards a little closer to the vest in the second period, outscoring the Lakers 22-19. Center LaMarcus Aldridge scored eight of his 21 points in the frame, but it wasn’t enough to pull San Antonio into the driver’s seat. Going into the half, Los Angeles still held a 50-45 lead.
After halftime, the Spurs decided it was time to start playing like they meant it. Rudy Gay made a quick jumper, then got to the free-throw line, making both free throws to give the Spurs a three-point lead, their biggest of the game up to that point. At one point, San Antonio led by nine before settling for an 82-78 lead to end the third.
Then came the fourth quarter.
Kuzma scored five points in the first minute of the fourth, then James took over, imposing his will on the helpless San Antonio defense. The Spurs offense kept it close all the way to the final three minutes when Lakers guard Josh Hart made a pair of key three-pointers to make up for his horrendous first quarter performance (three fouls in two minutes). James then added a three-pointer and a lay-up to seal the deal for the Lakers.
James was one of four Lakers who scored in double figures (Kuzma – 22, Ball – 14, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – 12), while the Spurs had three (DeMar DeRozan – 31, Rudy Gay – 31 and Aldridge). The Lakers did suffer a small setback, however, as Brandon Ingram left the game early due to a sprained left ankle. The MRI results came back negative, which means he could be available for the team on Friday.
The Lakers will travel to San Antonio on Friday for their final regular season match-up with the Spurs.