Less than a week after playing out perhaps the game of the season so far, the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs meet again, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Monday night’s meeting in LA had everything as the Spurs emerged with a 143-142 overtime victory. LeBron James appeared to have secured what would have been his first victory as a Laker, hitting a three-pointer to tie the game, before helping his side surge into an overtime lead.
However, he wasted the chance to seal the game from the free-throw line and was punished as a Patty Mills jump-shot snatched victory for the Spurs.
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The Lakers (2-3) have responded to the loss in the best possible way, claiming back-to-back wins against the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets to recover to get the James-era up and running.
The Spurs (2-2) have had a quiet week, taking a comprehensive beating from the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, which will have no doubt left coach Gregg Popovich looking for a response against the Lakers.
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Key Battle: Kyle Kuzma vs LaMarcus Aldridge
Having led the scoring on Monday with 37 points each, both power forward/centers are likely to face adjustments from the opposition defence.
Who copes best may decide the outcome this time around. Six-time All-Star Aldridge holds the experience advantage and has seen all sorts of attempts to put him off his game during his 13 NBA seasons.
Kuzma, whose points-per-game average is up four from the impressive 16 he delivered in his rookie season, looks set to establish himself as a player opposition defenses must pay greater attention to.
The 23-year-old’s combination of three-point shooting and explosive finishing at the rim makes him a potent threat, while having James around to tee him up doesn’t hurt.
Last time out
44.4 – Despite having two of the league’s deadliest mid-range shooters in DeMar DeRozan and Aldridge, the Spurs are ranked second-last in two-point field goal percentage.
Some of that damage has been undone by the Spurs’ accuracy from three-point range, where only the Indiana Pacers have outshot them so far this season.
59 – In complete contrast, the Lakers have a league-best record from two-point range, but are struggling from behind the arc, as many predicted they would.
One to watch (Lakers) – Rajon Rondo
Having completed a three-match suspension following his well-publicised altercation with Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, Rondo is set to return for the Lakers.
Lonzo Ball’s impressive form in Rondo’s absence has led to calls for the youngster to keep the starting spot at the point.
Whether he is reinstated to the starting five or comes off the bench, Rondo will have a point to prove.
One to watch (Spurs) – DeMar DeRozan
Traded away by his beloved Toronto Raptors in return for Kawhi Leonard over the summer, DeRozan is another player armed with added motivation.
The four-time All-Star has made an impressive start to life in San Antonio, averaging 26.5 points in his first four games.
Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs
Live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event, Sunday 1.30am
While being let go by the organisation at which he had intended to spend his entire career was a painful blow, the chance to have his game expanded by the wily Popovich should turn out to be a blessing.
Saturday night's games
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