Basketball / NBA

Spurs show grit in triumph over Lakers


Jakob Poeltl and Davis Bertans walked off the court to huge cheers and the embrace of San Antonio Spurs veterans Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge.

In a game filled with All-Stars like Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and LeBron James, the Spurs relied on a gritty effort from Poeltl, Bertans and their bench to salvage a victory.

DeRozan finished with 36 points and nine assists and the Spurs had eight players score in double figures in a 133-120 come-from-behind victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

James finished with 35 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for Los Angeles, but was held to four points and no rebounds in the fourth quarter. James bristled when told Bertans and Poeltl were not players anyone expected would beat the Lakers.

“Why not,” James said. “Why wouldn’t you think they could beat you? They’re NBA players. They made big shots. Bertans made big shots. He made four 3s in the fourth quarter.”

The Spurs’ young posts combined to score 23 points in the final quarter, with Poeltl finishing with 14 and Bertans 13.

“We really clicked with our second unit,” Poeltl said. “We had so much fun together out there playing. I sure found my spots there.”

The Spurs’ bench outscored the Lakers’ 52-26, including 14 from Patty Mills, in winning the season series 3-1.

Los Angeles led by as many as 15 points, but was outscored 32-13 beginning early in the fourth quarter and fell behind 121-114.

“We can’t give our foot off the gas,” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said. “I think we did that a little bit in the fourth slowing down a little bit. Defensively, we obviously need to do better.”

Kuzma finished with 27 points and Lonzo Ball had 13 points and 11 assists for the Lakers.

DeRozan had 11 points in the fourth quarter and San Antonio was 4 for 7 from beyond the arc in its comeback.

The run turned Aldridge into a spectator as Poeltl played all but one minute in the fourth and Bertans played 10 minutes. Aldridge didn’t seem to mind, actively cheering from the bench and joining the injured Gasol in greeting Poeltl and Bertans with a smile and high-fives after they exited the game in the final minute.

“That group was playing well, so we left them out there and they were wonderful,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

San Antonio opened the fourth quarter on an 18-6 run and pulled within 108-107 with 7:43 remaining. Mills punctuated the run with a layup after drawing a foul on James near the Spurs’ bench that led to his teammates encircling and celebrating with him on the sidelines.

Warriors 105, Bucks 95

In Milwaukee, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry each scored 20 points and Golden State wrapped up a five-game trip with its third straight win, beating the Bucks.

Andre Iguodala added a season-high 15 points for the Warriors, who pulled away in the second half with another hot stretch from the 3-point line. Golden State went 6 of 9 from beyond the arc in a six-minute stretch that started with Curry’s 3 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter to build an 11-point lead.

Curry and Thompson were each 4 of 9 from 3-point range. The Warriors shot 41 percent (19 of 46) from long distance, putting on a clinic in crunch time against the Bucks, the league’s highest-scoring team.

Milwaukee couldn’t keep up with Golden State’s barrage, shooting just 7 of 39 (18 percent) from 3-point territory — too many misses in spite of scoring 26 points off 18 Golden State turnovers.

In related news, Matthew Dellavedova is coming back to the Cavaliers. Cleveland re-acquired the popular, scrappy guard on Friday in a three-team trade with the Bucks and Washington Wizards.

The Cavaliers also are getting forward John Henson and two draft picks in 2021 from the Bucks in exchange for George Hill. Also as part of the deal, Cleveland traded a 2021 second-round pick to the Washington Wizards, who sent forward Jason Smith and cash considerations to the Bucks and a 2022 second-round draft pick to the Cavaliers.

Cleveland is also receiving Milwaukee’s 2021 first- and second-round picks.

Bulls 114, Thunder 112

In Chicago, Lauri Markkanen scored 24 points and drove for the go-ahead layup in the closing seconds to lead the Bulls to their first victory under coach Jim Boylen.

Boylen took over Monday when Fred Hoiberg got fired following a 5-19 start, and Chicago lost the following night at Indiana in his debut.

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists in his 109th triple-double, though he also turned the ball over 10 times.

76ers 117, Pistons 111

In Detroit, Jimmy Butler scored 38 points and Philadelphia overcame Joel Embiid’s absence, rallying from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Pistons.

Blake Griffin had 31 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, but the Pistons squandered their big third-quarter lead. The 76ers rested Embiid, who missed his first game of the season, but Detroit couldn’t take advantage of the big man’s absence.

In Other Games

Nets 106, Raptors 105 (OT)

Hornets 113, Nuggets 107

Grizzlies 107, Pelicans 103

Heat 115, Suns 98

Pacers 112, Magic 90

Kings 129, Cavaliers 110