The Lakers gave the San Antonio Spurs a challenge on Wednesday night at Staples Center, fading in the fourth quarter as the best team in the Western Conference took out one of the worst, 123-109.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker scored 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting while forward Kawhi Leonard chipped in with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, as did Tim Duncan, who had 12 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.
The Lakers kept close with a 19-point effort in the first half from forward Xavier Henry, who finished with 24. Pau Gasolalso scored 24, to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists.
The Lakers shot 42.9% from the field and 34.6% from three-point range while turning the ball over a reasonable 12 times, despite playing with just one true point guard in Kendall Marshall.
With Jordan Farmar (groin) and Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) sidelined, Kent Bazemore, Jodie Meeks and Henry shared ball-handling responsibilities with Marshall.
Marshall finished with 10 points but only three assists. The Lakers had just 19 assists on 39 baskets.
Robert Sacre led the Lakers with 11 rebounds. Ryan Kelly scored 14, while Bazemore had 13 and Meeks 11.
The Spurs finished with an efficient night, making 52.6% of their shots from the field and 44.4% from three-point range while also committing 12 turnovers.
The Lakers are 22-45 after losing their third in a row. They'll host the Washington Wizards (35-32) on Friday night.
San Antonio (51-16) will travel to Sacramento to play the Kings (24-44), also on Friday.
Spurs 92, Lakers 87 (end of third quarter)
The Spurs gained control in the third quarter, but were not able to put away the Lakers.
The Spurs are shooting 50% from the field and 45% from three-point range through three quarters. Point guard Tony Parker leads San Antonio with 21 points.
The Lakers have made 48.6% of their shots from the field and 36.8% from long range to stay within five. Pau Gasol leads the Lakers with 21 points. He has eight rebounds and five assists.
Xavier Henry had 19 points in the first half but didn't score in the third.
Jodie Meeks (11) and Kendall Marshall (10) were the only other Lakers in double figures.
Spurs 58, Lakers 57 (halftime)
The Lakers outscored the Spurs, 13-5, early in the second quarter, to take a 42-40 lead.
Swingman Xavier Henry scored 11 points in the quarter and leads all scorers with 19 at halftime.
Point guard Tony Parker, who has 13 points, pushed the Spurs back on top by nine in the second quarter. Forward Ryan Kelly's dunk with less than a second on the clock got the Lakers back to within a single point at the half.
The Lakers are shooting only 35.7% from the field but have held the Spurs to the same percentage (35.7%) in the second quarter. San Antonio is shooting 46.2% for the game after converting 58.3% of their shots in the first quarter.
Guard Danny Green leads the Spurs with 14 points.
Lakers power forward Pau Gasol has eight points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Spurs 35, Lakers 29 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers took a two-point lead on a Jodie Meeks three-pointer about 5 1/2 minutes into the their Wednesday night battle against the Spurs.
San Antonio responded with 11 consecutive points.
The Lakers managed to fight their way back from a double-digit deficit, led by eight points from Xavier Henry.
The Spurs shot 58.3% from the field and 62.5% from three-point range, led by Danny Green with 11 points on four attempts, including a trio of three-pointers.
The Lakers shot 46.4% from the field. Pau Gasol and Wesley Johnson both had six points. The Lakers turned the ball over just once while matching the Spurs with 12 rebounds.
Tim Duncan had four points, four rebounds and four assists in nine minutes for San Antonio.
The Lakers (22-44) were handled easily by the Spurs (50-16) on Friday in San Antonio. On Wednesday, the teams will play again at Staples Center.
The Spurs still have the best record in the NBA.
The Lakers are playing without Nick Young (knee), Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), Jordan Farmar (groin) and Jordan Hill (knee).
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Spurs.