Lakers beat Spurs despite LeBron James stagnating the offense

Nov 25, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Isaiah Roby (18) in the first half at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Isaiah Roby (18) in the first half at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Lakers stepped away from their Thanksgiving table in time to bounce back from their loss to the Phoenix Suns this week. LeBron James made his much-anticipated return to the court against the San Antonio Spurs after missing the last five games due to a left groin strain.

The ever-so-intelligent readers of Lake Show Life left comments over the last few reports wondering how LeBron James would fit in after the progress and evident production from multiple players in his absence.

Despite LeBron’s 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 35.7 minutes per game, the Lakers went 3-2 without him, including a three-game winning streak. To take things further, Lakers Nation really got to see Darvin Ham’s offensive philosophy in full effect, which has gotten a lot of players untracked.

  • AD averaged 33.2 points and 17.4 rebounds without LeBron James, including a season-high 38 points in a home victory over Detroit on Nov. 18.
  • Russell Westbrook has turned himself into an assist machine with well over 50 assists in James’ absence.
  • Austin Reaves has had multiple double-digit games…
  • Lonnie Walker IV probably has cemented his $50 million dollar deal at the minimum for the offseason barring the biggest slump in NBA history. 

If there was a game for LeBron James to make a seamless transition back into the lineup, this back-to-back section of the schedule against the San Antonio Spurs is perfection. The staff of Lake Show Life would like to give a shout-out to our friends at Air Alamo, who cover the Spurs. To say they are tough to watch is saying a lot.

The Lakers were without Patrick Beverley, who is now serving a three-game suspension for this incident against Phoenix. Okay, this writer is being petty and wants to see it again…

Coming into this game, the Lakers still were without a win on the road in the Darvin Ham era. Well, the players can douse their coach with water in the locker room after a 105-94 win on Friday night. Don’t get too comfortable Lakers fans, because these two teams run it back again on Saturday night.

The good from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

Anthony Davis played a very efficient game…

The everyday readers of Lake Show Life understand where this is going. AD finished with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. No one on the Spurs frontcourt had an answer for this guy. Sure, fouls made him a little timid in the third quarter, but when we get down to the story of this game, you will understand why this is not it.

Lonnie Walker IV is playing some good basketball!  

The Los Angeles Lakers do get a lot of heat for letting quality young players go and deservedly so. But what about the San Antonio Spurs? What were they thinking allowing Lonnie Walker IV to walk for basically nothing? At any rate, Lonnie will be making the Spurs cry every time they go into scoring droughts and watch Keldon Johnson fire up bricks from 27 feet.

Well, Lonnie doesn’t have those types of problems…

Walker IV came out on fire in the first quarter with 10 points before the National Anthem was finished. Despite a missed dunk when he jumped too high and got cute, he still finished with a stat line of 18 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and 3 steals.

Troy Brown Jr. bounced back with his shooting stroke!

Checking notes…10 points on 4-5 shooting, knocked down both 3-point shots with 4 rebounds. Nice.

This was a trap game for the Los Angeles Lakers and they didn’t fall in!

Last year, this game would have been a loss. The Lakers didn’t play particularly great but they have more talent with a bona fide system to get that talent to keep the Spurs at bay. After a collapse in the third quarter (More on that later!), the Lake Show got back to business and did what they had to do to pull away in the final 12 minutes.

The bad from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

Oh my goodness…this third-quarter thing!

This post-game report should have been done at halftime. The Lakers were up 20 points and this assignment should have been some light-hearted notes and filling in the score and stats from important players.

Then there’s the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers absolutely stink in third quarters this season!!!! 

The Lakers got rolled 34-20 in the third quarter. They scored their last point at the 3:46 mark thanks to Anthony Davis. This is against a San Antonio team that has the worst defensive rating in the NBA. Guess that Thanksgiving turkey kicked in and gave everyone the “Itis”.

They allowed Keldon Johnson to wake up!

Keldon Johnson is probably in the worst slump of his career. He shot 4-20 against the Lakers earlier this week and was benched in the second half of the last Spurs game. He was awful in the first half as well before he scored five quick points that allowed the huge Spurs run in the third quarter.

The Los Angeles Lakers turn the ball over too much!

The Lakers really would have beaten down the Spurs the last game had they not turned the ball over so much which led to easy points for San Antonio. Guess what made the game close in this one? Yes, LeBron James, this means you!

The story from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

LeBron James did not play well and the offense (Also read: ANTHONY DAVIS!) got stagnated…

Let’s get the stats out of the way for the LeBron James stans out there. 21 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Yippee! Now that’s over, let’s talk basketball, shall we?

When the staff of Lake Show Life asked the question of how LeBron James would fit into an offensive system that was humming right along, well film don’t lie…

LeBron James will be a black hole in the post folks. One pass to LeBron and the ball stopped moving. Get used to it. Just look at what happened…

  • AD had a slow start and his points came late in the 4th quarter.
  • Lonnie Walker IV vanished in the second half.
  • Russell Westbrook struggled with his offense with no lanes to drive. But thanks to his evolution, he still led the team in assists.
  • Austin Reaves went back to scoring single digits thanks to having one eye on LeBron at all times to pass to him and he lost his starting spot.
  • Thomas Bryant did not play a second. 

Not to mention the NINE TURNOVERS LeBron James committed in this game. He was terrible and lacked energy. Remember, the Spurs are one of the worst teams in the NBA. Bottom line, his teammates carried him. Forget those highlight dunks in the game.

Bottom line…if the Los Angeles Lakers want to slide into the play-in tournament, this will be on LeBron James to adjust like Russell Westbrook did. The offensive system works, the players can implement it.

However, LeBron James can blow the whole thing up with his habits.