NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 28th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (21-9) at San Antonio Spurs (26-4), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Bouncing back from an ugly Christmas Day loss doesn't figure to be easy for the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, as they invade the Alamo City tonight to take on fellow Western Conference heavyweight San Antonio in the opener of a brief two-game road trip.
The Lakers laid an egg on Christmas at Staples Center against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, falling 96-80. "The King" posted his 31st career triple-double in that one with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
James, the two-time reigning MVP, outdueled two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant, by making 8-of-14 shots from the floor, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. James also sank all six of his foul shots and added four steals for good measure for the Heat, who have won 14 of their last 15 games.
Bryant connected on 6-of-16 shots en route to 17 points and Pau Gasol chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who have dropped two straight overall. Lamar Odom totaled 14 points and nine boards in defeat.
"I'm disappointed with the finish to a game that was hyped so much," said Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson. "We're not surprised on how poorly we played. Offensively, I was not pleased with our ball movement and shot selection. Give the Heat credit, they helped manufacture this."
LA, which has won five straight away from Hollywood and is 11-5 as the visitor on the year, will finish its quick trek in New Orleans on Wednesday.
The Spurs, meanwhile, rebounded from a rare loss on Sunday by downing woeful Washington, 94-80. Tony Parker had a stellar all-around game in that one, finishing with 20 points, 14 assists and six rebounds.
Manu Ginobili contributed 21 points, while George Hill added 11 for the Spurs, who won for the 11th time in 12 games overall and are an NBA-best 26-4 on the season. San Antonio also beat Washington for a 10th consecutive time and kept the Wizards winless on the road (0-14) this season.
"Tony ran the show. He was the guy," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He and Manu were fantastic; not just scoring, but keeping everyone together, moving the basketball. Manu came in and made those two steals in the end to ice it. They were both very, very good."
These two teams have split their last eight meetings in San Antonio, where the Spurs are an impressive 17-2 in the 2010-11 campaign.
12/28 10:46:06 ET