San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview

San Antonio Spurs (17-4) at Los Angeles Lakers (12-8), 10:30 pm Eastern Thursday, TNT
by Zman of

The best team in the Western Conference continues to play without its best player when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Los Angeles Lakers on the rear end of a TNT/NBA double-header Thursday night from LaLa Land.

San Antonio had won five games in a row, including two without C Tim Duncan, who’s been sidelined with an ankle injury. But the Spurs fell at Golden State Tuesday night 96-84.

Los Angeles has won three straight games and five of its last seven after beating the Warriors Sunday night 123-113.

So heading into Thursday’s action, San Antonio leads the Southwest Division by 3 games over the second-place New Orleans Hornets, while the Lakers sit in second place in the Pacific Division, 3 games behind the first-place Phoenix Suns.

Duncan is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game, as is San Antonio G Tony Parker, who also is suffering from a bad ankle. That’s why NBA Sportsbooks list Los Angeles as five-point home favorites over the Spurs, with a total of 197. Also, the Lakers are posted at anywhere from -220 to -300 on various moneylines, with San Antonio getting from +180 to +230 as road underdogs.

Both teams are 12-8 against the spread this season. But while the Spurs are just 5-4 straight up and 4-5 against the spread on the road, LA is 7-4 both SU and vs. the numbers at home.

San Antonio has won eight of the last 10 meetings in the series with the Lakers in Los Angeles. But the Purple and Gold gang took two of three games from the Spurs last season, and San Antonio’s only win came in overtime. However, the Black and Silver beat LA 107-92 a month ago in the first meeting of this season between these two teams.

Also, those last four games between these two teams have averaged 190 total points, excluding the one OT period they played last season.

Both teams are a bit banged up at the moment. Besides Duncan and Parker, F Manu Ginobli is listed as probable for Thursday’s game with a hand injury. On the other side, Lakers F Luke Walton is listed as both questionable and probable with an ankle injury of his own, and C Kwame Brown hasn’t played in nearly a month because of a knee injury.

As a team, San Antonio is shooting 48% from the field this season, 41% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line.

Los Angeles is shooting 47% from the floor, 36% from long range and 77% from the line.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks the Spurs 2nd in the league at 97.0, the Lakers 6th at 95.4.

The o/u is 11-10 in San Antonio games this season, which are averaging 193 points per, while the totals are 11-9 in LA games, which are averaging 210 points.