Tonight’s best game: San Antonio at Los Angeles Lakers

The San Antonio Spurs are healthy and playing their best basketball of the season as they gear up for the playoffs.

spurs small logoThey sit atop the Western Conference by percentage points, and a win tonight would provide a 1/2 game lead over the idle Oklahoma City.

However, the team has been unable to solve one team in their recent meetings:  the Los Angeles Lakers, who they play again in Tuesday’s best game.

The Spurs (43-16) hope to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the Lakers, dating back to last season. Los Angeles is the only team that has soundly defeated them over the last 16 contests.

The two teams met for the first time this season just six days ago when the Lakers dispatched the Spurs 98-84 behind Andrew Bynum, who scored 16 points on 20 shots but grabbed a career-high 30 rebounds, joining Kevin Love as the only two players in the last 12 years to grab at least 30 rebounds.

Metta World Peace also made his mark with 26 points, his highest scoring game since joining the Lakers in the 2009-2010 season.

The season series will conclude on Friday night when the teams meet for the third and final time at the AT&T Center.

Since the loss to the Lakers, San Antonio has won three consecutive games, including two blowout victories against Phoenix and Golden State.

No starter has played above 24 minutes over the last two games, leaving the Spurs fresh for the upcoming back-to-back games.

Los Angeles (39-22) has won four consecutive games despite missing its league scoring leader Kobe Bryant during the winning stretch.

Bryant will miss his sixth consecutive game tonight due to a shin injury, but will continue to help his team on the sideline as coach Kobe.

World Peace has responded in the absence of Bryant, averaging 17 points and 1.8 steals in the last five games.

Pau Gasol has led the team in the same stretch with 22 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists, while Bynum has averaged 22 points and 16.6 rebounds.

Since losing 14 of their first 20 road games, the Lakers have turned the corner, winning eight of their last 10 games away from home, including their latest victory at the AT&T Center.

They hold a one-game lead over Division rival Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference standings.

 

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