SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE: The Spurs have lost to the Lakers at home. LeBron James had a big game for LA and the Lakers defense clamped down on San Antonio in the second half.
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When the Spurs faced the Lakers in the AT&T Center back on Nov. 3, both teams were undefeated and looked like prime contenders in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles won that game 103-96, and since that night, both teams have been heading in opposite directions.
The Lakers have won 15 of their last 16 games and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak. The Spurs just snapped an eight-game losing skid -- the longest in the Gregg Popovich coaching era -- with a 111-104 win over the Knicks in New York.
Despite San Antonio’s recent struggles, Lakers forward LeBron James is not taking the team lightly.
“It’s the same Spurs team that I’ve played throughout by whole career,” James said at Monday morning’s shootaround. “They’re extremely well-coached, and if you don’t go in with the mental side, they can beat the hell out of you, especially in this building. Regardless of their record, my mindset is the same that it’s always been my whole career versus the organization.”
Monday night’s showdown with Los Angeles kicks off a very difficult holiday homestand for the Spurs. San Antonio will face three teams that have winning records, including two of the top three teams in the Western Conference. A win against any of those teams would be important, but the Silver and Black know that taking down the Lakers on their home court would be a special achievement.
“It would be great,” forward DeMarre Carroll said. “It would definitely be great coming back home from the road trip. It’s definitely going to be a tough game, them being the best team in the league."
In his first year with the Spurs, Carroll had seen limited playing time early in the season, but during San Antonio’s most recent four-game road trip, his playing time has increased dramatically. In the Spurs’ victory over the Knicks, Carroll led the Spurs bench with seven rebounds in 13 minutes of game action. It will be up to role players like Carroll to help the Spurs find a way to win tonight’s contest.
“At the end of the day it’s a great opportunity," Carroll said. "These are the opportunities you live for, and you want to go out and perform, especially for your home fans. It will be an exciting game tonight.”
Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at the AT&T Center.