SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Spurs are still working to develop a comfort and chemistry with one another, but have already discovered they can count on DeMar DeRozan to come through late.
DeRozan had 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and the Spurs rallied in the fourth quarter, overcoming 35 points and 11 rebounds from LeBron James to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 110-106 on Saturday night.
DeRozan had 14 points in the second half, including eight in the fourth quarter, for his second double-double in five games after failing to get any last season with Toronto.
“Whenever we’re down, it’s kind of natural to me to just try to be more aggressive,” DeRozan said. “Go out there, whether it’s to score or try to find guys and just try to get us going.”
San Antonio fed off the energy, rebounding from a 20-point loss against Indiana as Gregg Popovich became the fifth coach to win 1,200 games and the first to do so with one team.
The Spurs’ first lead came at 93-91 with 10 minutes remaining when DeRozan laid in his own miss after beating three Lakers to the rebound.
“I just wanted to kind of get that bucket, kind of get the crowd into it, get your teammates into it, the bench gets into and we all kind of feed off the energy after that,” he said.
San Antonio would build the lead to eight points before James cut it to 106-105 with four straight points an assist to Josh Hart on a 3-pointer. DeRozan responded with a fadeaway jumper on Hart with 15.9 seconds remaining to help preserve the lead and the eventual win.
“When you have those games where your offense isn’t clicking like it is, you’ve got to be able to rely on your defense, and we did that tonight,” James said. “We were down one, they had the ball, and DeRozan hit a tough, tough two over Josh. We did our job, and that’s all you can ask for.”
The Spurs also tried to lock in defensively after struggling offensively for much of the game.
San Antonio entered the game allowing 121.8 points, but held Los Angeles to 46 points in the second and 18 in the final quarter.
“That sort of thing is what we’re used to and that’s really the first time this year that we’ve done that,” Popovich said. “If that can become a habit you have a good opportunity to win a lot of games We’re not there yet we’re not going to be consistent at that right nowbut we did do it tonight and that was great.”
The Lakers shot 53 percent in the first half and led by as many as 14 points.
Kyle Kuzma, who made his first two 3-pointers, finished with 15 points for Los Angeles. Lance Stephenson added 14 points, including a 3-pointer at the close of the first quarter that he punctuated by posing for the fans sitting courtside.
DeRozan scored eight points in the final four minutes of the first half, including an emphatic dunk between two defenders, to cut a 13-point lead into a more manageable 60-54 deficit entering the third quarter.
The Spurs tied it at 71 with 6:52 remaining in the third, but the Lakers went on a 17-6 run to reclaim a double-digit lead.
Rudy Gay added 16 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points as the Spurs beat the Lakers for the second time in a week.
Lakers: James grasped his lower back and tried to exit the game early in the second quarter, but the Lakers played on and so did he. James remained in the game and was fine after some initial discomfort. … Los Angeles entered the game second in the league in fastbreak points at 17.5 points per game and finished with 17 against the Spurs. … The Lakers had a large contingent of fans that drowned out the Spurs’ support for much of the game. … Los Angeles had won two straight games in San Antonio.
Spurs: Popovich joined Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry Sloan and Pat Riley as the only coaches with 1,200 career wins. . DeRozan has scored 136 points in his first five games with the Spurs, surpassing the franchise record of 115 points set by David Robinson in his rookie season. . Aldridge has 16,971 points to move past Celtics great Bob Cousy for 93rd in league history. … The Spurs made only three 3-pointers, a season low. Their previous season low was six against Indiana on Oct. 24.
Lakers: At Minnesota on Monday night.
Spurs: Host Dallas on Monday night.
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