• The Lakers showed great improvement this season, already surpassing their win total of 26 from last season. Perhaps nothing was more impressive or satisfying, than sweeping the well-coached San Antonio Spurs 3-0 in the season series.

    Los Angeles hosted the Spurs without Lonzo Ball or Brandon Ingram but still went toe-to-toe with San Antonio for the entire game.

    Overtime belonged to the Lakers as they outdueled the Spurs 14-4 to seal their 122-112 victory. Los Angeles opened the extra period with two gorgeous plays by Kyle Kuzma, who demonstrated two of his best skills with a long-range 3-pointer and his patented running hook shot. Their 6-0 run gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game to that point — a lead they would never relinquish. After two ugly possessions, Josh Hart gave the Lakers a badly needed stop with a perfectly-timed defensive rotation to draw a charge. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would follow up the play with a 3-pointer to seal the win for the Lakers.

    Kuzma was the Lakers’ best player on the evening finishing with 30 points, five rebounds and one steal on 11-of-23 from the field, 5-of-9 from 3-point range and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. He led the Lakers with 43 minutes played on the evening — one of two starters to earn significant run down the stretch.

    Coach Luke Walton was astute in his roster selections this evening, wisely discerning who was contributing the most to the Lakers’ cause. One person who earned the coach’s trust was Caldwell-Pope, who tallied an extremely efficient 21 points, six rebounds, six assists and plus-9 rating while knocking down 7-of-9 from the floor, 2-of-2 from 3-point distance and 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. He and Kuzma were the only two starters to play more than 23 minutes, contribute in the deciding stretches of the fourth quarter or play in overtime.

    The Lakers got tremendous contributions from their bench on Wednesday, none more important or unexpected than those provided by Channing Frye. He chipped-in 19 points, four rebounds, one block and a plus-11 rating on 8-of-9 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range. His only miss on the night was arguably his easiest shot, a blown dunk attempt.

    Ivica Zubac played one of the best overall games of his career with eight points, six rebounds, six assists, one block and a plus-13 rating on 4-of-6 shooting.

    Tyler Ennis was fantastic with 10 points, seven assists, two rebounds, one steal, one block and a plus-16 rating. He played with poise down the stretch and was a key contributing factor to the Lakers’ win.

    Hart, who has a knock for accumulating double-digit rebounds, finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal and a game-high plus-19 rating.

    The Lakers overcame a huge game by LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. He earned a plus-7 rating — the only Spurs starter to earn a positive overall rating.

    Dejounte Murray was the Spurs second best player, tallying 23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block. He scored 11-of-12 of the Spurs’ final points in the fourth quarter, single-handedly keeping San Antonio in the game as the Lakers tried to pull away.

    Former Laker Pau Gasol gave the Lakers a hard time early on, accruing nine points and eight rebounds by the end of the first half. His effectiveness wore off as the game continued, finishing with an overall stat line of 11 points and 12 rebounds.

    Key Stats and Observations

    -The Lakers were stellar from 3-point range hitting 13-of-24 (54.2 percent) in contrast to the Spurs who made a respectable 9-of-23 (39.1 percent).

    -Los Angeles had to overcome a 15-4 discrepancy on the offensive glass and 46-44 deficit in rebounding overall.

    -Scoring points in the paint has been a strong suit for the Lakers all season and that held true on Wednesday when Los Angeles edged San Antonio 58-44 in the key.

    -The Lakers outshot the Spurs on the evening, converting 47-of-86 (54.7 percent) vs. 42-of-97 (43.3 percent) for San Antonio.

    -For once the Lakers were more efficient at the free throw line than their opponent, knocking down 15-of-18 (83.3 percent) compared to 19-of-27 (70.4 percent) for the Spurs.

    Up Next

    The Lakers host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

    Minnesota is led by Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging 21.2 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting 54.1 percent from the field and 85.6 percent from the free throw line.

    The Timberwolves are currently tied at 34 losses with four teams in a very tight race for the Western Conference playoffs. They could end up as high as the four seed or they could miss the postseason entirely.

    They will be happy to welcome back Jimmy Butler, who is has been ramping-up his workouts since being injured February 25. Although he will provide the Timberwolves a huge lift, there is no time to re-integrate players back into the rotation as every game is pivotal at this stage. Minnesota will be highly motivated to try and earn a crucial victory.

Fantasy News

  • Stephen Curry - G - Golden State Warriors

    Stephen Curry scored 36 points in Saturday's 110-99 Game 3 win over the Blazers, adding six rebounds, three assists and five turnovers.

    Curry led his team offensively, contributing 36 points on 11-for-26 shooting. On a night where teammate Draymond Green was the primary facilitator, Curry settled in on scoring the bulk of his team's points from off the ball screens and shots from behind the arc. The Warriors have the luxury to allow for multiple ball-handlers and Curry seemed happy to acquiesce as he and Klay Thompson combined for 55 points with seven 3-pointers. Look for Curry to continue to lead the team in scoring as Kevin Durant is not expected to be back this series.

  • Damian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Damian Lillard has been playing through separated ribs in the Western Conference Finals.

    Charania and Sam Amick have since reported that the injury occurred in Game 2 when Kevon Looney landed on Lillard's ribs. To this point he's playing with a pad on his torso, though his current run of poor shooting extends back into the second round before the injury was sustained. The Blazers are facing a deep hole down 0-3 to the Warriors, and Lillard will surely be finishing out the series despite his injury. Between the ailment and Golden State selling out to stop him, Lillard has had to battle through quite a bit in the WCF.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Damian Jones - C - Golden State Warriors

    Damian Jones got the start for the Warriors but played just three minutes after picking up three fouls in the first quarter to finish with no other countable statistic in Saturday's win.

    Jones got the start and then got the hook early after drawing three fouls in the first 3:17 of Game 3. Jones got the start over Andrew Bogut after playing just two minutes in Game 2 and two minutes in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Bogut and Jones played a combined six minutes this game and did not contribute anything offensively. Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney picked up the slack and ended up playing 42 minutes and contributing 14 points. It is unlikely that Jones will start again going into Game 4.

  • Draymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green went off on Saturday's win, posting a monster 20-13-12 line and adding four steals and one block.

    Draymond was all over the court for the Warriors posting his seventh career postseason triple-double. With his team down 13 points to start the second half, Green channeled his inner Magic Johnson and rallied the Warriors with six rebounds, six assists and two steals to take the lead going into the fourth quarter. His defensive intensity continues to be a catalyst for the team and is a major reason why the Warriors continue to dominate in this series.

  • Maurice Harkless - F - Trail Blazers

    Moe Harkless scored six points and added three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in Saturday's loss.

    Harkless did all of his damage in the first half and looked to be on his way to a great game scoring six points and adding two steals/blocks. Unfortunately he would not score again and added just one assist to his stat line in the second half. Fellow forward Al-Farouq Aminu added just two points in the losing effort and he and Harkless continue to get marginalized in the Blazers' small-ball lineup. Harkless has the ability to contribute for the team and they will need him to re-find his aggressiveness if the they plan on making this a series.

  • Seth Curry - G - Trail Blazers

    Seth Curry went 2-for-6 from the field for five points, adding three rebounds, one steal and one turnover in Saturday's loss.

    Curry continues to play heavy minutes for the Blazers, playing 30 minutes in the Game 3 loss. Unfortunately, similar to the rest of his team, he could not get much going offensively by contributing just five points and not much else. The team continues to feature a small lineup featuring Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Curry in hopes of pushing the tempo. Expect him to continue to see big minutes off the bench as he hopes to contribute more offensively in Game 4.

  • Andre Iguodala - G/F - Golden State Warriors

    Andre Iguodala was limited to 18 minutes in Saturday's Game 3 win because of left calf tightness and is expected to undergo an MRI on Sunday.

    Iguodala posted two points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal while going 1-of-5 from the field. With the Warriors taking a stranglehold on the series with tonight's win, it's fair to question whether or not they ask Iguodala to push through his injury. It doesn't appear to be overly serious but we will find out more tomorrow.

    Source: Mark Medina on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard shot 3-for-9 from behind the arc on 5-for-18 overall on Saturday, resulting in just 19 points with six rebounds, six assists, two steals and five turnovers in 40 minutes.

    Lillard’s shooting woes continue into Game 3. He and CJ McCollum shot a combined 12-for-38 from the field, 5-for-19 on 3-pointers and 13-for-20 from the free throw line in the loss. Three games into Western Conference Finals, Dame has shot 15-for-46 from the field. The Blazers will lean on Lillard to find his shot going into Game 4 where they host the Warriors in hopes of extending the series.

  • Meyers Leonard - F/C - Trail Blazers

    Meyers Leonard got the start at center for Portland and scored 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting, adding three 3-pointers, three rebounds and four assists in Saturday's loss.

    Leonard got the start over Enes Kanter before the start of the game and responded well by scoring 16 points. Though quiet in the second half, he was a difference maker in the first half with his hustle and ability to stretch the floor. Kanter, who moved to the bench, responded with seven points in seven minutes and did not do much to bump Leonard out of the starting lineup going into Game 4.

  • Andre Iguodala - G/F - Golden State Warriors

    After a brief trip to the locker room at the end of the first quarter on Saturday, Andre Iguodala has checked back into the game in the second quarter.

    Apparently, there's no cause for concern and Iguodala is back in. Every time the 34-year-old veteran heads to the locker room, there's always a risk and some accompanying worry. All good. Iguodala and his elite defense is back on the floor to hassle the Blazers.

    Source: Tim Kawakami on Twitter