Davis' 37 lead Lakers past Spurs without LeBron
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Anthony Davis had 37 points and 10 rebound and the Los Angeles Lakers held off Victor Wembanyama and San Antonio 122-119 on Wednesday night, extending the Spurs’ franchise-record losing streak to 18.
Wembanyama had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks for San Antonio, which has not won since Nov. 2. Wembanyama is the first rookie with 30 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in a game since Spurs superstar Tim Duncan in 1998.
“I think it’s going to look better when we win,” Wembanyama said.
The Lakers were without LeBron James, with the four-time MVP sitting out the first of two straight games in San Antonio because of left calf injury. The teams will meet again Friday night.
The Lakers almost lost Davis, too, in the opening seconds when he rolled his left ankle following a spin move against Wembanyama. Davis refused to exit, even on the second night of a back-to-back for Los Angeles.
“Giving my team a chance to win,” Davis said. “I know when I’m on the floor playing, my team has a higher chance of winning than me being out because of my presence defensively and my presence offensively. We’re trying to win basketball games.”
The Spurs nearly took one away from the NBA In-Season Tournament champion Lakers. San Antonio outscored Los Angeles 45-30 in the final quarter.
After the Spurs trailed by 20 points early in the fourth quarter, Wembanyama’s 3-pointer over Davis cut the Lakers’ lead to 115-110 with 1:29 remaining. Wembanyama made one of two free throws to cut it to 117-116 with 22 seconds remaining.
“(Wembanyama) doesn’t stop competing,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “When the game was hanging in the balance, he made some big plays for them.”
Wembanyama fouled out for the first time in his career after sticking his leg out on a missed 3-pointer with 8.8 seconds remaining and the Lakers up 119-116.
“I don’t think it comes down to set play or tactics or nothing,” Wembanyama said. “I think it’s like playing hard and playing smart. In the first half, we had neither of those. At least if we’re not making shots or if we can’t get to the basket on offense, we need to get stops.”
“Once the momentum got on their side, it seemed like they rolled it to the very end,” Ham said. “But we hung in there. We gutted it out. Obviously, we are comfortable with the result, with the ‘W,’ but we’ve definitely got to get better at some things, and we will.”
Davis rolled his left ankle on the Lakers’ opening possession, writhing in pain on the baseline after missing an attempted layup against Wembanyama. The Lakers quickly called a timeout to check on Davis, who used the break to stretch and run to loosen up the injury.
Davis shot 10 for 15 from the field in scoring 24 points in the first half. His points included bullying Wembanyama out of position under the rim to clear space for a monstrous, one-handed dunk on the rookie with 3:57 remaining in the first half.
“We were sloppy and tried to do things quickly,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “We did nothing the basketball gods would be happy about (in the first half). In the second half, they competed and executed to win. I’m glad about that. I want to see how it carries over to Friday.”
Wembanyama would get some payback in the final minute, spinning away from Davis under the rim for a one-handed slam. The No. 1 pick out of France had two blocks and two dunks in the final 45 seconds of the first half.
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