James' season-high 39 points lead Lakers by Spurs, 143-138

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LeBron James scored a season-high 39 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers escaped with a 143-138 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.


San Antonio has lost eight straight, tied for the fourth-longest skid in franchise history.

James matched a career high with seven 3-pointers. He finished 11 for 21 from the field, including a booming one-handed dunk on a lob from Russell Westbrook with a minute remaining in the first half.

While James was playing in his second game following a five-game absence, Los Angeles center Anthony Davis sat out with a bruised left calf he sustained in Friday’s victory over San Antonio.

The Lakers (7-12) have defeated the Spurs three times in a seven-game span.

Dennis Schroder had 21 points and six assists for Los Angeles. Former Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV had 19 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to help seal the Lakers’ fifth victory in six games.

Keldon Johnson had 26 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio. Tre Jones added 23 points and 13 assists, and Devin Vassell had 19 points.

After trailing the entirety of Friday’s loss, San Antonio scored the game’s first points on a short jumper by Jakob Poeltl. It was the Spurs’ first lead since Nov. 20 against the Lakers.

After shooting 6 for 33 on 3-pointers in Friday’s loss, the Spurs had a season-high 18 3-pointers. San Antonio was 8 for 15 on 3s in the first half and 18 for 37 overall.

The momentum stalled when the Spurs lost two starters to right quadriceps injuries in the second quarter.

Poeltl had 12 points and nine rebounds in 10 minutes before exiting the game with 7:59 left in the first half. Poeltl felt soreness after landing awkwardly on a dunk.

San Antonio then lost rookie forward Jeremy Sochan with 4:54 remaining in the first half. Sochan took a knee to his right thigh when his layup attempt was blocked by Thomas Bryant.

The Spurs also lost reserve center Zach Collins to an ejection for a flagrant foul on Westbrook with two minutes left in the third quarter.

TIP-INS

Lakers: Westbrook suffered a deep cut at his hairline after taking a right elbow from Collins. After rebounding his own missed layup, Westbrook faked a follow and Collins leapt and came crashing down on him. Westbrook began bleeding profusely immediately but quickly rose from the court to confront Collins. Westbrook was issued a technical foul but Collins was ejected after video review. … G Patrick Beverley served the second game of a three-game suspension for forcefully shoving Phoenix center Deandre Ayton from behind in Tuesday’s loss. … Bryant made his first start this season and 109th in 174 career games. … The Lakers’ 70 points in the first half tied the highest output for a Spurs opponent this season. Denver had 70 points in the first half Nov. 15.

Spurs: San Antonio’s longest losing streak is 13 straight in 1989 followed by 10 straight in 1987 and nine straight in 1989. The Spurs have lost eight straight in five other seasons, including 2020 and 1989. San Antonio finished 21-61 in 1989, the final season of David Robinson’s two-year commitment to the Navy before joining the Spurs. … San Antonio is 2-8 in back-to-back games this season, including no wins in three home games. The Spurs have nine back-to-back sets remaining. … G Josh Richardson missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Host Indiana on Monday.

Spurs: At Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

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