LeBron James sat out the Los Angeles Lakers’ 122-119 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday because of soreness in his left calf.
L.A. was playing the second night of a back-to-back, and James had logged 40 minutes in Monday’s 127-125 loss at the Dallas Mavericks. Anthony Davis stepped up with 37 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals — his third straight game with 37 points or more — to extend San Antonio’s losing streak to 18 games.
It was the first leg of a back-to-back that James had missed this season — having completed all four of them up to this point — and just the second missed game overall for the 21-year veteran.
Rui Hachimura started in James’ place. Davis (left hip) and Jarred Vanderbilt (back spasms) were listed as questionable but were cleared to play shortly before tipoff.
The Lakers led by as many as 20 points before the Spurs, sparked by rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama, outscored L.A. 45-30 in the fourth quarter to tighten things up. In just more than a minute late in the contest, Wembanyama hit back-to-back 3s and two free throws to draw San Antonio within a point of the Lakers, down 117-116, with 21.2 seconds left.
Davis made four straight free throws after that to help L.A. hold on for the win, despite 30 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks from Wembanyama.
“We got to add common sense to our talent,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after his team barely held on against one of the league’s cellar dwellers. “It’s not so much about who we’re playing, what their record is. It’s about us and the way we want to represent ourselves every time we step out on the floor: trying to get better, trying to build winning habits and be consistent at those winning habits. So, we’re fortunate to get that W.”
The Lakers will have the day off Thursday before playing the Spurs in San Antonio again on Friday.
“Whenever you can get a win in this league against whoever, you have to be thankful,” Ham added. “But that said, there’s a lot of things we can take away that we know good damn well we need to get better at.”