After a disappointing loss on Monday evening, the Los Angeles Lakers travel to face the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. Now that the 2020-21 NBA season is in full swing, we can begin to gauge how teams will try to cope with what will be a challenging year. For the Spurs, this means keeping DeMar DeRozan fit after his below-par scoring performance against the Grizzlies led to the Spurs' first loss of the season.
Fixture - Los Angeles Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Wednesday, December 30th, 7:30 PM ET (Thursday, December 31st, 5:00 AM IST)
Location - AT&T Center San Antonio, TX
The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped two of their opening 4 home games this year and will be hoping that their first road trip will prove fruitful. With one of the strongest rosters in the league, the Lakers have contributors throughout the side. New point guard Dennis Schroder looks a shoe-in for an All-Star appearance and LeBron James has come out in praise of the Lakers new Center Marc Gasol.
Currently, the San Antonio Spurs sit just one place behind their opponents in terms of shots allowed and may have to rely on another solid defensive display if they are to keep out the Lakers' multiple points of attack.
Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers will be slightly worried at losing to two of their strong Western Conferences opponents thus far. The LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers were able to nullify the Lakers' threat, however LeBron and co. will know that they are still among the favorites for another championship ring.
Against the Timberwolves and Mavericks, the Lakers' superior squad led them to comfortable victories and they will be expected to do the same against the San Antonio Spurs.
Anthony Davis sat out the Timberwolves game which may have led to his disappointing performance against Portland. The power forward spoke after the game about his missed opportunities and poor shooting.
Unfortunately for the San Antonio Spurs, this could lead to a Davis onslaught and will likely prove too much for either young forward Keldon Johnson or even DeMar DeRozan should Popovich choose him to mark the All-Star.
Key Player - LeBron James
Turning 36 on the day, Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James leads his side to San Antonio off the back of a team-high 29 points and 9 rebounds in their Monday night loss to the Trail Blazers. James and the Lakers have already hit a couple of bumps in what will be a very long road to the playoffs. However, it is guaranteed that LeBron will be among the best in the league once again this season.
LeBron is currently averaging 4 minutes less per game than he did last season and the Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is likely to continue this pattern, eyeing up another Championship run in the postseason. James should be relied upon less throughout the regular season after the Lakers brought in several key pieces during the offseason. However, when called upon, James is unbeatable as one of the best all-rounded talents the league has ever seen.
Los Angeles Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F LeBron James, F Anthony Davis, C Marc Gasol
San Antonio Spurs Preview
The San Antonio Spurs are coming off the back of their first loss of the season after they fell narrowly to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Spurs were characteristically astute defensively but lacked the killer instinct required and missed DeMar DeRozan's usual points haul.
Against the Lakers, the Spurs will have to be even more switched on defensively and continue to receive help from their bench. Patty Mills and Rudy Gay are two guys in reserve who have scored more than 20 points in a game this season having not started. Several matchups, such as against LeBron James and Anthony Davis, will be essential for the Spurs but could they might come out weaker in all of them.
Key Player - DeMar DeRozan
A lot of the San Antonio Spurs' offense runs through DeMar DeRozan, therefore, when the small forward scored just 8 points on Sunday it was no surprise to see his side fall to the Pels. Though, the 4-time All-Star dished-out 10 assists in that game, he has only averaged 27.5 points in his opening two matches.
DeRozan shot 3-12 from the field and was 0-4 from down town. If the San Antonio Spurs are to have any hope of overturning a superior Los Angeles Lakers side, coach Popovich will be hoping DeRozan returns to form. Although rumored to be unhappy in San Antonio during the offseason, the 31-year-old remained with the franchise and has the firepower to lift a gritty Spurs unit up into the lower seeds of the West.
San Antonio Spurs Predicted Lineup
G DeJounte Murray, G Lonnie Walker IV, F DeMar DeRozan, F Keldon Johnson, C LaMarcus Aldridge
Lakers vs Spurs Match Prediction
The Spurs are yet to face any of the West's heavyweights and could be subject to a determined Lakers onslaught out to make amends for their Monday night loss to the Trail Blazers. Should the Spurs stifle the Los Angeles Lakers' flow and DeRozan gets hot quickly, they could have an outside chance of triumphing.
However, as solid and well-rounded as the San Antonio Spurs can be on their day, the Los Angeles Lakers will likely run away with this one.
Where to Watch Lakers vs Spurs?
The Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs matchup will be available on Fox Sports Southwest. For international audiences, an NBA League Pass subscription is the best way to watch the game.Published 30 Dec 2020, 01:09 IST