Lakers enjoying return of LeBron ahead of second game in series vs. Spurs

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to sweep a two-games-in-two-nights series against the reeling San Antonio Spurs when the teams square off Saturday night in the Alamo City.

It will be the third game between the teams over a seven-day stretch, with Los Angeles capturing the first two.

The Lakers, buoyed by the continued dominating play of Anthony Davis and the return of LeBron James, did enough to beat San Antonio 105-94 on Friday in the first game of the two-game set. It was the Lakers’ first road win of the year after six losses.

Davis had 25 points and 15 rebounds in Friday’s win, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter after the Spurs clawed their way back into the game with a rousing third period. James was a force after being out with an adductor strain since Nov. 9, scoring 21 points. He also had nine of the Lakers’ 21 turnovers.

“It felt pretty good to get out there on the court with my guys and make some plays and help them get the win,” James said afterward. He said he expected to play again on Saturday.

An 8-2 run over a three-minute stretch of the third quarter capped by a three-point play by Keldon Johnson allowed the Spurs to pull to 70-58, and Jakob Poeltl’s jumper at the 4:08 mark got them within 10 points. That spurt was a precursor to another that San Antonio forged over the rest of the period to draw to 79-75 heading into the final quarter.

Davis and James then combined for seven consecutive points early in the fourth during an 11-0 run to push the Lakers’ advantage to 12 points, and San Antonio never seriously challenged again.

“That changed the whole dynamic of the game,” Lakers guard Lonnie Walker IV said about the James-led spurt that stopped the Spurs’ comeback. “He certainly turned it up to another level.”

Walker added 18 points in his return to San Antonio after signing with the Lakers as a free agent in the offseason. Troy Brown Jr. had 10 for Los Angeles, which has won four of its past five games. The Lakers were without Patrick Beverley, who sat out the first game of a three-game suspension for a shoving incident against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night.

San Antonio dropped its seventh straight game and 12 of its 13 contests in November.

Tre Jones led the Spurs with 19 points, with Devin Vassell scoring 18, Johnson 15, Jeremy Sochan 13 and Jakob Poeltl 10. San Antonio was missing key bench players Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson, both of whom had ankle injuries.

The Spurs trailed 33-21 at the end of the first quarter.

“We continued to fight, continued to claw back into the game and give ourselves a shot,” Jones said. “I think we just ran out of gas because we didn’t get out to a hot start.”

It takes more than a quarter of good play to beat the Lakers, especially with James back in the fold.

“I don’t think the team is committed defensively in their mind, between their ears, the way they need to be,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.