The last time these teams met, the LA Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-103 to start the new year with a win. That game was the second of a back-to-back set played on the Spurs’ home floor. This time, their Western Conference rivalry resumes in Los Angeles at Staples Center.
Fixture - San Antonio Spurs vs LA Lakers | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Thursday, January 7th, 10:00 PM ET (Friday, January 8th, 8:30 AM IST)
Location - Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
The San Antonio Spurs halted a four-game slide with a 116-113 win against the LA Clippers on Tuesday. It took a career-high eight three-pointers from Patty Mills as well as the return of LaMarcus Aldridge to end the Spurs’ recent string of losses.
The story is exactly the opposite for the LA Lakers, who started a four-game winning streak with a 121-107 victory over the Spurs. The two wins in San Antonio propelled the Lakers to two more wins against the Memphis Grizzlies, which were also on the road.
San Antonio Spurs Preview
It has been quite a challenging year for the San Antonio Spurs, a team that is used to being at or near the top of the Western Conference.
As good a coach as Greg Popovich is, he has his work cut out for him when his team goes for the payback against the LA Lakers on Thursday.
The matchups don’t work particularly well for the Spurs, especially considering the speed and athleticism of Anthony Davis over LaMarcus Aldridge as well as the talent disparity between LeBron James and whoever guards him from the Spurs.
Rudy Gay and Patty Mills will have to bring their A-game for San Antonio to make it 2-0 against the LA teams in Los Angeles.
Key Player - LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge’s return was a welcome sight for the San Antonio Spurs when they faced the LA Clippers.
Aldridge was sidelined for three games with a knee injury but he was able to play 25 minutes on Tuesday, contributing 14 points and six rebounds.
When he faces Anthony Davis tonight, Aldridge has to minimize the damage that his LA Lakers counterpart will do.
The Spurs forward should make Davis work on defense by bodying him up. Aldridge’s role will be crucial to the Spurs’ cause tonight.
San Antonio Spurs Predicted Lineup
G Dejounte Murray G Lonnie Walker IV F DeMar DeRozan F LaMarcus Aldridge C Jakob Poeltl
LA Lakers Preview
Since their heartbreaking loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in December, the LA Lakers appear to have found their rhythm and are streaking at the right time.
Even when they didn’t take the Memphis Grizzlies seriously in their last outing, the Lakers had enough talent to escape with a 94-92 snoozer.
LeBron James has to set the tone with an aggressive mindset for the LA Lakers to win. They can’t continue to move in slow motion as they did against the Grizzlies because the Spurs will be looking for revenge.
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Key Player - Kyle Kuzma
Kyle Kuzma started off strong from the preseason to the first few games of the campaign.
However, the last five games for the LA Lakers have been a struggle for him. He has been averaging only 7.8 points per game during that span compared to 16.0 points an outing in the first three games.
Kuzma needs to get out of his slump, and going back to play at Staples Center should give him the confidence-booster that he needs.
If Kentavious Caldwell-Pope misses his third straight game, Kuzma should finally take advantage of the added minutes.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder G Kyle Kuzma F LeBron James F Anthony Davis C Marc Gasol
Spurs vs Lakers Match Prediction
With a four-game winning streak, the LA Lakers have the momentum in their third battle with the San Antonio Spurs this season.
The reigning NBA champions are still learning how to maximize the talent on their roster but they appear to be making progress with every game.
As the LA Lakers look for their fifth straight win to pull away from their Western Conference rivals in the standings, they will want to come out with all guns blazing to put this game away early.
However, going back home could make them complacent, giving the Spurs an opportunity that they cannot waste. Unlike the Lakers, the Spurs have been in LA since their game against the Clippers and are more rested.
Despite this, expect the LA Lakers to win, especially if both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso come back from the injury list.
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Published 07 Jan 2021, 13:29 IST