Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 109-87 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
1. The Lakers played well the first half
On the seventh straight road game during an eight-game trip, the Lakers looked impressive in the first half against the Spurs, who are in second-place in the West with a record of 19-5. The Lakers, of course, have won only three games this season and are in the cellar of the Western Conference. At halftime, the Lakers trailed the Spurs by only two points, 51-49. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the Spurs looked more like the Spurs and the Lakers looked more like the Lakers in the second half. The Spurs went on to lead by as much as 25 points.
2. Oh, hi, D’Angelo
D’Angelo Russell, who started in place of an injured Jordan Clarkson (sprained right ankle), had a career-high 24 points, six rebounds and six assists. Russell made only nine of his 23 shot attempts, but it was his second straight night finishing with more than 20 points. Russell also made five of his 10 three-point attempts.
3. Kobe didn’t get cheered
Ever since announcing this will be his final season in the NBA, Kobe Bryant has been getting tributes and ovations on the road. Not this time. When Bryant’s name was announced during the pregame warmups, instead of being met by a thunderous applause, he received boos. Friday’s game, however, won’t be the last time that the Spurs crowd sees Bryant, as the Lakers play again in San Antonio on Feb. 6. Even Friday’s crowd eventually paid their respects to Bryant, chanting “Ko-be, Ko-be” in the final 30 seconds of the game.
4. LaMarcus didn’t make it any easier on the Lakers
LaMarcus Aldridge just had to rub it in the Lakers’ face. Against the team that missed out on getting him during free agency, Aldridge had a team-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. After the first quarter, he had 14 points on seven-for-10 shooting. The Lakers, of course, messed up their pitch to Aldridge over the summer when he was a free agent by trying to woo him with glitz and glam instead of basketball talk. Aldridge instead chose to sign with the Spurs, who delivered him a simple pitch that resonated with him.
5. A.L.M.O.S.T. H.O.M.E.
The Lakers play one more road game — against Houston on Saturday — before returning home to Los Angeles. They’ve played seven straight away games, winning only one of them. They left home at the end of November and will have been on the road for nearly two weeks before finally flying back to Los Angeles following Saturday’s game.