DeRozan’s 36 points fu­els Spurs past Lak­ers 133-120

The Maui News - - SPORTS - By RAUL DOMINGUEZ The As­so­ci­ated Press

SAN ANTONIO — Jakob Poeltl and Davis Ber­tans walked off the court to huge cheers and the em­brace of San Antonio Spurs vet­er­ans Pau Ga­sol and La­Mar­cus Aldridge.

In a game filled with Al­lS­tars like Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and LeBron James, the Spurs re­lied on a gritty ef­fort from Poeltl, Ber­tans and their bench to sal­vage a vic­tory.

DeRozan fin­ished with 36 points and nine as­sists and the Spurs had eight play­ers score in dou­ble fig­ures in a 133-120 come-from-be­hind vic­tory over the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers on Fri­day night.

James fin­ished with 35 points, 11 as­sists and eight re­bounds for Los An­ge­les, but was held to four points and no re­bounds in the fourth quar­ter. James bris­tled when told Ber­tans and Poeltl were not play­ers any­one ex­pected would beat the Lak­ers.

“Why not,” James said. “Why wouldn’t you think they could beat you? They’re NBA play­ers. They made big shots. Ber­tans made big shots. He made four 3s in the fourth quar­ter.”

The Spurs’ young posts com­bined to score 23 points in the fi­nal quar­ter, with Poeltl fin­ish­ing with 14 and Ber­tans 13.

“We re­ally clicked with our sec­ond unit,” Poeltl said. “We had so much fun to­gether out there play­ing. I sure found my spots there.”

The Spurs’ bench outscored the Lak­ers’ 52-26, in­clud­ing 14 from Patty Mills, in win­ning the sea­son se­ries 3-1.

Los An­ge­les led by as many as 15 points, but was outscored 32-13 be­gin­ning early in the fourth quar­ter and fell be­hind 121-114.

“We can’t (take) our foot off the gas,” Lak­ers for­ward Kyle Kuzma said. “I think we did that a lit­tle bit in the fourth slow­ing down a lit­tle bit. De­fen­sively, we ob­vi­ously need to do bet­ter.”

Kuzma fin­ished with 27 points and Lonzo Ball had 13 points and 11 as­sists for the Lak­ers.

DeRozan had 11 points in the fourth quar­ter and San Antonio was 4-for-7 from be­yond the arc in its come­back.

The run turned Aldridge into a spec­ta­tor as Poeltl played all but one minute in the fourth and Ber­tans played 10 min­utes. Aldridge didn’t seem to mind, ac­tively cheer­ing from the bench and join­ing the in­jured Ga­sol in greet­ing Poeltl and Ber­tans with a smile and high-fives af­ter they ex­ited the game in the fi­nal minute.

“That group was play­ing well, so we left them out there and they were won­der­ful,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

The Spurs opened the fourth quar­ter on an 18-6 run and pulled within 108-107 with 7:43 re­main­ing. Mills punc­tu­ated the run with a layup af­ter draw­ing a foul on James near the Spurs’ bench that led to his team­mates en­cir­cling and cel­e­brat­ing with him on the side­lines.

“I think that was the key to tonight’s vic­tory,” Mills said of the team’s spir­its. “It’s prob­a­bly the first game and first win that ev­ery­one felt like it was fun, in­clud­ing the fans. Ev­ery­one was in­volved emo­tion­ally (more) than any game this sea­son.”

AP photo

San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl shoots next to Los An­ge­les’ JaVale McGee dur­ing the sec­ond half Fri­day.

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