The San Antonio Spurs made things interesting down the stretch, but LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard were too much for them to handle.
The trio led the Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth straight win, defeating the Spurs by a final score of 103-96. James had a triple-double while both Davis and Howard had double-doubles, the two big men combining for 39 points and 24 rebounds.
Five players scored in double figures for the Spurs in the loss. Dejounte Murray led the way with 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
For more on the game, here are some takeaways...
LeBron James is timeless
But you knew that already.
After leading the Lakers to an overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday with a historic triple-double, James went for a casual 21 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes of action against the Spurs. He became the first Laker with back-to-back triple-doubles since Lamar Odom, who did it back in 2006.
His passing was particularly on point against the Spurs.
King VISION! #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/qFg5Pu3CVb- NBA (@NBA) November 4, 2019
James also had a hand in DeMar DeRozan's off-night, as he guarded the four-time All-Star for a lot of the game. DeRozan finished with 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting from the field and turned the ball over three times.
Finally, James added two steals steal to his stat line. It might not sound noteworthy, but it was enough for him to break a tie with Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on the NBA's all-time steals leaderboard.
James now ranks 15th all-time in career steals. The only active player ahead of him is Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul.
Dwight Howard brings the energy
This is the Dwight Howard the Lakers were hoping for when they signed him.
In 20 minutes off the bench, Howard recorded a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. He was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field thanks to plays like this:
🗣🗣 @DwightHoward rising to the moment 🗣🗣 pic.twitter.com/sW8UTr5Uob- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 4, 2019
Howard even had a couple of nice passes, one of which led to an alley-oop for Anthony Davis.
Dwight to AD oops might be a problem 😤 pic.twitter.com/RUKK7q3f0c- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 4, 2019
Talent has never been the question for Howard. At this stage of his career, it's been about whether or not he's willing to do all the little things now that he's no longer one of the best centres in the NBA, focusing more on rebounding and protecting the rim than having the offence run through him in the post, where he's struggled to score efficiently at the tail end of his career.
It's still early, but Howard appears to be bought in to what the Lakers are doing.
Timely shots by KCP
Howard wasn't the only player off the bench to make an impact for the Lakers. In 28 minutes, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field.
Caldwell-Pope came up big in crunch time, making back-to-back jump shots to break the tie and give the Lakers a five-point lead.
KCP with the clutch trey and @SnoopDogg is all of Lakers Nation right now!- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 4, 2019
(📺: @SpectrumSN) pic.twitter.com/NcvzU9bUOb
The Lakers can only hope there's more of that to come from Caldwell-Pope. He's gotten the season off to a rough start - he entered Monday's game averaging 5.2 points on 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 20.0 percent from 3-point range - but he's going to continue getting minutes because of how big of a need there is for 3-point shooting on this team.
If he can be more consistent in that regard, there are a lot of minutes up for grabs at shooting guard and small forward.
Dejounte Murray is back
Murray entered the fourth quarter with two points. He proceeded to score 16 of San Antonio's 24 points in the period, doing basically all of his scoring at the rim.
Murray was getting it done defensively as well - no surprise considering he's the youngest player in NBA history to make an All-Defensive Team - coming up with two steals in the fourth quarter that led to dunks for ... himself.
DEJOUNTE 😱@DejounteMurray | #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/y1G0WvshCu- San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 4, 2019
Murray led the Spurs in scoring with 18 points. He and Rudy Gay, who added 16 points off the bench, were the biggest reasons the Spurs were able to rally back from being down by as much as 19 points. Neither DeMar DeRozan nor LaMarcus Aldridge could get going - the two combined for 22 points on 7-for-24 shooting from the field - and supersub Patty Mills struggled following his 31-point performance against the Golden State Warriors earlier in the week, finishing with four points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field.
Even though it came in a loss, Murray's play is an encouraging sign for the Spurs after he missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
An update on Avery Bradley
Bradley left the game in the fourth quarter with a lowry right leg injury and did not return. The good news? Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said after the game that he was "fine."
Frank Vogel said Avery Bradley got kicked around his knee area, but said postgame that he was "fine."- Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 4, 2019
Bradley has started at shooting guard in all six games for the Lakers so far this season.
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