Preview: Spurs at Lakers
The fightin’ Los Angeles Lakers are ready to scuffle in LeBron James’ first season with the team, but that isn’t translating to many wins. The Lakers will be missing two key players due to suspension when they go for their first win against the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
James made his home debut on Saturday against the Houston Rockets but the game was marred by an ugly incident in the fourth quarter, began when Los Angeles small forward Brandon Ingram shoved Rockets star James Harden. The scuffle escalated to punches, with Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo and Houston point guard Chris Paul trading shots, and Ingram was hit with a four-game suspension while Rondo will sit three games. The Spurs aren’t getting into any on-court melees but are also not off to the best start on the two-game west coast trip, which began with a 121-108 loss at Portland on Saturday. “We’re not disciplined defensively yet,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. “It’s going to take a while with a new group, basically. They run a really nice offense. It’s geared for their players and it’s hard to guard. We’re just not ready for that.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Southwest (San Antonio), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE SPURS (1-1): San Antonio allowed the Trail Blazers to shoot 53.6 percent from the field and is getting used to new teammates and new defensive responsibilities. “It’s all about communication,” star forward LaMarcus Aldridge told reporters. “We were a little late on some rotations and some schemes. We have to keep drilling it and get more familiar with each other.” All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan is not having any trouble adjusting offensively and scored 28 points in each of the first two contests.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (0-2): James knew it was going to be a process to mold the Los Angeles roster into a championship contender, and he was not upset about letting a one-point game get out of hand due to the late skirmish. “I’m not disappointed at all,” James told reporters after the 124-115 setback. “I understand that we’re going to have some early struggles. Nobody said it’s going to be easy. I’m not disappointed in nothing we did tonight.” James is averaging 25 points through two games but is still searching for his touch from long range while going 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.
1. The Lakers are shooting an NBA-worst 24.2 percent from 3-point range.
2. DeRozan is averaging 6.5 assists – more than twice his career mark (3.1).
3. Los Angeles took all three meetings last season and four straight in the series.