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Lakers triumph without LeBron, extend Spurs’ losing streak to 18 games

SAN ANTONIO — Anthony Davis scored 37 points with 10 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers edged San Antonio 122-119, extending the Spurs’ losing streak to 18 games. Davis refused to sit out despite rolling his left ankle in the opening seconds.

Wembanyama posted 30 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocks for San Antonio, making him the first rookie since Tim Duncan in 1998 with such stats in a game.

“I think it’s going to look better when we win,” Wembanyama said.

The Lakers were without LeBron James, with the four-time MVP sitting out the first of two straight games in San Antonio because of left calf injury. The teams will meet again Friday night.

The Lakers almost lost Davis, too, in the opening seconds when he rolled his left ankle following a spin move against Wembanyama. Davis refused to exit, even on the second night of a back-to-back for Los Angeles.

The Spurs nearly took one away from the NBA In-Season Tournament champion Lakers. San Antonio outscored Los Angeles 45-30 in the final quarter.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) reacts after scoring over San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

After the Spurs trailed by 20 points early in the fourth quarter, Wembanyama’s 3-pointer over Davis cut the Lakers’ lead to 115-110 with 1:29 remaining.

“(Wembanyama) doesn’t stop competing,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “When the game was hanging in the balance, he made some big plays for them.”

Wembanyama fouled out for the first time in his career after sticking his leg out on a missed 3-pointer with 8.8 seconds remaining and the Lakers up 119-116.

Keldon Johnson added 28 points, and Malaki Branham had 16 for the Spurs.

Taurean Prince and Austin Reaves combined for 32 points to help the Lakers win for the fifth time in six games.

Davis shot 10 for 15 from the field in scoring 24 points in the first half. His points included bullying Wembanyama out of position under the rim to clear space for a monstrous, one-handed dunk on the rookie with 3:57 remaining in the first half.

“The Spurs did nothing the basketball gods would be happy about (in the first half),” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “In the second half, they competed and executed to win.”

Wembanyama would get some payback in the final minute, spinning away for a one-handed slam. The No. 1 pick out of France had two blocks and two dunks in the final 45 seconds of the first half.