Popovich defends Laker's Walton in wake of Ball's criticism


Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) moves the ball against San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half at Staples Center.

"Larry might have been our most valuable player today", Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the game.

Los Angeles defeated the San Antonio Spurs 93-81, giving the team their 15 loss.

Los Angeles opened an 84-74 lead going into the fourth quarter, closing the third on a 22-10 run.

"They rushed us, we tried to keep up with their pace and play at the same pace that they were". "We're seen that point many times this year where we're playing well, we have a lead, the other team goes on a run and then we stall out in the second half". "I thought Brandon, obviously, was huge down the stretch, [and Ball] was great throughout".

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The rookie point guard had another game of providing some of everything, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

But when it comes to their playoff chances, the Lakers might not be doomed after all.

"We're focused on defense, effort and energy, really", Nance said of the winning streak.

It's also uncertain if they're going to try more to make a deal happen anywhere or if they want to try and get the most they can from a team in their own conference.

While San Antonio is expected to play without Kawhi Leonard (shoulder) and Rudy Gay (heel), the team still has the league's top coach in Gregg Popovich. "Their desire was at a totally different level than ours was.They sustained that effort, that physicality for the entire game". Just effort and will. "Nobody wants to. But our bosses tell us we have to, because of the ratings, because of the readership.' Somewhere - I guess (LaVar) is in Lithuania - LaVar Ball is laughing at all of us", Kerr added.

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"If LeBron is strongly considering the Lakers, they have to understand LaVar would be a deterrent", Broussard said, as transcribed by The Big Lead.

Ingram scored 18 first-half points and Ball added 11 as the Lakers took a 49-38 advantage into halftime. The longtime Spurs head coach showed support for Walton while also brushing off LaVar Ball as, "just another fan in the peanut gallery with an opinion, which is meaningless".

Popovich also revealed that Aldridge requested a trade last summer after a rough season.

"Um, yeah, his dad was talking s- so I took him out early", Walton deadpanned. "I would go close to nearly threatening, 'If you keep opening your mouth ... we are going to trade your son from the Lakers'". You get me a talent like Kevin Durant, and I'll drive you to the airport.

"But I have to look deeper into the numbers and amount of years that he did it".

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Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers look to have recovered from their nine-game absence as they'll be gunning for a third straight win after taking down the Kings by 99-86 on Tuesday.