LeBron James Triple-Doubles, Anthony Davis Drops 34 in Lakers' Win over Spurs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) drives against San Antonio Spurs' Drew Eubanks during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Darren Abate/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers earned their fourth win in five games, beating the San Antonio Spurs 109-103 on Friday.

This was the second meeting between the teams in three days as the NBA adjusted the schedule to cut down on travel slightly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthony Davis finished with a double-double for Los Angeles, while LeBron James did him one better with a triple-double. Davis connected on a critical three-pointer that tied the game at 103 with 2:26 left in the fourth quarter.


AD FOR 👌.. he's got 32! @Lakers 107 @spurs 103 28.6 left on NBA TV. https://t.co/5t7i56XUlt

Buckets from Kyle Kuzma and James proved to be the difference as the Spurs went scoreless over the final 2:34.

The game was tightly contested from start to finish, with the lead changing hands on 21 occasions.


Notable Performers

Anthony Davis, PF, Lakers: 34 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals

LeBron James, SF, Lakers: 26 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs: 23 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, one block

Keldon Johnson, SG, Spurs: 26 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, one assist, one block


AD Rings in New Year Right

It turns out having Davis in 2021 is just as valuable as it was in 2020. James filled out the stat sheet, but Davis was the more important star down the stretch.

The seven-time All-Star hasn't had a great start. He was averaging 19.8 points and 8.3 rebounds, both of which would be his lowest since his rookie season. This was the kind of performance that justified the preseason MVP hype.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

6’10 with guard handles 🤯 (📺: @SpectrumSN) https://t.co/qxZ96ucVhW

Samuel H. Quinn @SamQuinnCBS

Welcome to the 2020-21 season, Anthony Davis. We've missed you.

Of course, it's a testament to LeBron's greatness that he can drop a 26-point triple-double and have it feel somewhat muted.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

The LeBron-AD connection never gets old. https://t.co/5vvFQrfS9J

Sabreena Merchant @sabreenajm

2021. LeBron James still that dude.

This was one of those nights when leaning on Davis and James comes in handy. Alex Caruso was out, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope logged 17 minutes. Dennis Schroder had 15 points but went 6-of-15 from the floor and had three assists to three turnovers. Montrezl Harrell grabbed 11 rebounds but scored only four points.

The supporting cast didn't fully deliver, and it didn't matter because the Lakers had the two best players.


Johnson, DeRozan's Combined Efforts Not Enough

Keldon Johnson was limited to 17 games as a rookie but reached the 20-point plateau on three occasions. He averaged 12.3 points through San Antonio's first four contests, and his output Friday was a career high.

Jordan Howenstine @AirlessJordan

Keldon Johnson now has 4 games with 20+ points. Most 20-point games by a Spur in the first 25 contests of his career since Tim Duncan’s 6 in 1997.

The Spurs missed the playoffs in 2019-20 and might struggle to crack the postseason field once again. This time is about developing younger players and seeing who's worth building around for the future. With that in mind, watching Johnson step up and deliver big shots in crunch time was a positive sign.

FOX Sports Southwest @FOXSportsSW

Step 1️⃣: Keep your eye on Keldon Johnson Step 2️⃣: Watch the magic happen #GoSpursGo | @spurs https://t.co/3FQtBb7Up6

FOX Sports Southwest @FOXSportsSW

Keldon Johnson... NOT A PROBLEM! 👌 The @spurs are 🔥 from beyond-the-arc and regain the lead! #GoSpursGo https://t.co/1ta3GpXuwC

DeMar DeRozan, on the other hand, may not be long for San Antonio since he's hitting free agency after the season. As long as he's on the roster, his contributions will be instrumental in charting a path back to the playoffs.

Friday was a reminder of what he can bring on his best night.


DeRozan is heating up from downtown ♨️ https://t.co/f6xluItOKU

Pounding the Rock @poundingtherock

DeMar's jumper is good. Classic. 85-81 Spurs!

Getting outscored 28-18 in the fourth quarter will sting, but Johnson's performance is reason enough to maintain some optimism.


What's Next?

The Lakers stay on the road for a pair of games against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday and Tuesday. The Spurs host the Utah Jazz on Sunday before embarking on a five-game road trip.


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