LOS ANGELES /January 11, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) — Brandon Ingram scored 26 points, Lonzo Ball added 18 and the Los Angeles Lakers held off the short-handed San Antonio Spurs 93-81 Thursday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew an early 19-point lead before running away in the fourth quarter. Ball contributed 10 rebounds and six assists as Los Angeles snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Spurs at Staples Center since April 2013, the last time the Lakers made the playoffs.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half for the Spurs, who committed 21 turnovers while playing without injured starters Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green.
Bryn Forbes scored 18 points and Dejounte Murray added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Ingram had an aggressive offensive game, and Ball hit four 3-pointers as the Lakers (14-27) hit the halfway point of what’s looking like their fifth consecutive non-playoff season.
That would extend the longest postseason drought in franchise history for the 16-time NBA champions, but the Lakers’ young roster has showed signs of life with three wins after a nine-game losing streak.
Leonard missed his third straight game with a left shoulder strain, and Parker sat after spraining his right ankle in Sacramento on Monday. Green missed his fifth consecutive game with a groin strain.
Veteran Rudy Gay also sat out his seventh straight game with right heel bursitis, leaving the Spurs short-handed in the last stop on a three-game trip down the West Coast.
The Lakers made an early 25-3 run on the way to a 37-18 lead. Ball hit three 3-pointers and didn’t miss a shot in the first half.
Spurs: Pau Gasol had nine points and 12 rebounds in the 37-year-old Spaniard’s latest return to the city where he won two championships alongside Kobe Bryant, whose two retired jersey numbers now hang in the Staples Center rafters.
Lakers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played a solid defensive game and contributed down the stretch with 10 points and four rebounds.
Before the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn’t mince words when asked about the recent criticism of Lakers coach Luke Walton from Lithuanian basketball power broker LaVar Ball: “I think the first thing to look at is the substance and gravitas of the source that speaks, and just stopping at that point would tell you that you don’t need to listen or go any further. It’s just another fan in the peanut gallery with an opinion, which is meaningless.”
TRADE ME NOT
Popovich also revealed that Aldridge requested a trade last summer after a rough season. The coach talked the star big man out of his feelings after a few dinners and meetings. “I was very candid with him,” Popovich said. “I told him, ‘I’d be happy to trade you. You get me a talent like Kevin Durant, and I’ll drive you to the airport. I’ll pack your bags. And I will drive you there, get you on the plane and get you seated.’ He laughed, (and) I said, ‘But short of that, I’m your best buddy, because you’re here for another year, and you ain’t going nowhere. Because we’re not going to get for you talent-wise what we would want, so let’s figure this thing out.’ And we did.”
Spurs: Return home to face the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
Lakers: Open a three-game road trip at the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.