Spurs vs. Lakers: A Roller Coaster Competition

Spurs vs. Lakers third matchup. Jakob Poeltl putting up a jump hook on the lakers.
November 26, 2022, San Antonio, TX: during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas Saturday, November 26, 2022. (Photo by Reginald Thomas II/San Antonio Spurs) via: NBA.com/spurs/media

The Lakers will head back to Los Angeles with a 3-0 record in their Spurs vs. Lakers series. In many ways, the Spurs showed progression, but their efforts weren’t equipped to handle the removal of vital players mid-game.

The team continued to push through the series of unfortunate events, but could only get themselves to a 5-point deficit to the Lakers. Once the final buzzer rang 143-138 was the end result of Spurs’ tumultuous journey. 

It seems like once the Spurs solve one problem there is another around the corner. Is this just the fate of a young squad? Discovering that even when you manage to correct a fundamental bad habit you still must succumb to the challenges that already come with the NBA. The Spurs managed to up the aggression at the start of the game.

The style of the competition was more call and response rather than the Spurs trailing behind. After the half is when the results of losing valuable assets began to weigh on the squad. This would allow the Lakers to drive up a 16-point lead. Although they weren’t able to manage the lead it definitely stole the win on the horizon for San Antonio.

Losing Valuable Assets

Center Jakob Poeltl was only able to play 9:47 before having to leave the game due to right quad soreness. In the first half, he was able to contribute 12 points and nine rebounds while shooting 75% from the field. Jeremy Sochan, another key defender, did not return to the game after a right quad contusion.

If losing two starters wasn’t enough Zach Collins was ejected from the game after committing a flagrant foul on Russell Westbrook.

These losses left Isaiah Roby to put on a performance playing in a position he had not been accustomed to, center. You could tell it was a learning curve considering he fouled out, however, this is some of what coach Popovich had to say about the time he was involved. 

“He really is a skilled young player. For him, it’s a matter of confidence and understanding that he can use those skills, just be aggressive all the time, and I think he’s starting to do that on offense for sure.”

Keldon Johnson Back on Top

Keldon Johnson led the Spurs squad in the third game of the Spurs vs. Lakers series
November 26, 2022, San Antonio, TX: during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas Saturday, November 26, 2022. (Photo by Reginald Thomas II/San Antonio Spurs) NBA.com/spurs/media

Keldon Johnson broke out of his slump the last time he hit the floor against LA. He showed fans again that the roadblock he faced was normal for athletes, and that there was nothing to worry about. Johnson was the leading scorer of the night with 26 points and 10 rebounds. 

What could be assisting him in this return is his mindset when it comes to outside noise. This is what Johnson had to say about facing an opinionated fan base and the media.

“We started out good and everyone in the media was still saying ‘they’re going to be bad’ then we hit a rough patch and the media is saying we’re bad. So it doesn’t really matter. We go out there and play and compete and have fun, trust each other, move the ball and play how we know is our way of basketball.”

The Mantra For the Season

The team has been repeating their mantras, win or lose since the beginning. They are a young team who understands the struggles of the NBA and must overcome them because it’s their job. Trusting one another is important yet chemistry on the court is not cultivated overnight.

They are all putting in work to be a team worthy of the wins they pull out this season. The losses are unfortunate, but that doesn’t stop the hunger to succeed. Is it the team who needs the pep talk or is it Spurs Nation?

What were your takeaways from the Spurs vs. Lakers three-game series?


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