NBA: Spurs beat Lakers as Gregg Popovich equals all-time wins mark
Dejounte Murray scored 26 points and took 10 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs held off the short-handed, visiting Los Angeles Lakers, 117-110, on Monday to help their chances for a postseason berth.
The victory allowed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to tie Don Nelson for the most regular-season wins by a coach in league history with 1,335.
San Antonio was up by three points heading to the fourth quarter and never allowed the Lakers to get the lead, surviving a ragged final four minutes and a woeful 16 of 30 showing from the free throw line to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Lakers, who have lost five of their past six games, were without LeBron James, who was held out with a sore left knee after scoring 56 points in a win over Golden State on Saturday.
Jakob Poeltl and Josh Richardson scored 18 points each for San Antonio, with Keldon Johnson adding 13 and Doug McDermott hitting for 11 as all five Spurs starters finished with double-figure scoring. San Antonio was missing starter Devin Vassell and key reserve Lonnie Walker IV, both because of non-COVID illnesses.
Talen Horton-Tucker led Los Angeles with 18 points while Malik Monk, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony added 17 each and Austin Reeves scored 13 points. Westbrook also took 10 rebounds.
The Spurs led for all but 14 seconds of the first quarter and were up, 31-22, after Josh Primo’s 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left in the period. San Antonio extended its advantage to as many as 14 points before settling for a 62-56 lead at the break as Murray finished with 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting over the first 24 minutes.
All 10 players that saw the court for the Spurs in the first half scored at least three points as San Antonio outshot the Lakers 60 percent to 50 percent and outrebounded Los Angeles, 22-20, in the half.
Monk paced the Lakers with 11 points in the first two periods.
Los Angeles rallied to take a one-point lead, at 76-75, on a three-point play by Westbrook with 7:14 to play in the third period. The Spurs quickly went back in front and extended their advantage back to as many as eight points before taking a 95-92 lead to the final quarter.