Leonard scores 31 points, Spurs rout Lakers 134-94
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SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs responded as they traditionally do after a home loss, by blowing out their next opponent.
The Lakers learned that the hard way, taking their worst defeat ever against San Antonio.
Kawhi Leonard had 31 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter, and the Spurs set several season highs in rolling past Los Angeles 134-94 on Thursday night.
"You never want to lose two games in a row," Leonard said. "You always want to come out and show a better effort and a better mentality than you had the last game."
San Antonio rebounded from a last-minute loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday with its highest point total and largest margin of victory this season. The Spurs also set a season high by shooting 61
"Granted we didn't put up a ton of a fight, but it's beautiful to see championship teams," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "The way they came out after one loss. How that made them play. How sharp they were tonight. There's a lot to learn from being in that game and watching that game and being a part of that game."
Pau Gasol had 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 26 minutes for the Spurs. Gasol finished 9 for 9 from the field and was 4 for 5 on free throws.
"When he's making shots in the paint, he causes double teams," Leonard said. "Then the ball starts moving around the perimeter and we get shots."
It was the second-worst loss this season for the Lakers, beaten by 43 points against Golden State on Nov. 23.
Julius Randle had 22 points on 6-for-7 shooting, but he was the only Lakers starter in double figures.
The Spurs' starters did not play in the final quarter after closing the third with a 31-point lead. San Antonio increased the advantage to 40 in the fourth, matching a season high.
Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge added 13 points apiece.
San Antonio had 32 assists on 49 baskets, finishing six assists shy of matching its season high.
"I thought ball movement was great (for) both teams, first (and) second team," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Everybody really knew where the shooters were."
The Spurs also set a season high for points in any half with 72 in the opening two quarters.
D'Angelo Russell fouled Leonard on an attempted heave from near midcourt with 0.3 seconds remaining in the first half, allowing the Spurs' forward to make three free throws and extend the lead to 72-54.
"We gave up too quickly," Walton said. "We gave up as if, 'Aw, this is going to be too hard for us tonight' type of attitude, which is not OK."
Lakers: F Larry Nance Jr. missed his 12th straight game with a bruised left knee. Nance has not played since scoring 10 points against Charlotte on Dec. 20. ... Randle (sprained left ring finger), Russell (sore left knee) and Tarik Black (sore right ankle) all played after being listed as probable. ... The Lakers' last win against the Spurs was Dec. 12, 2014. ... Jordan Clarkson, who attended high school in San Antonio, received warm applause when he first entered. Clarkson and Oklahoma State's Andre Roberson were teammates on the Wagner High School team that reached the state semifinals in Texas' highest classification in 2009 and 2010.
Spurs: Danny Green was 1 for 3 on 3-pointers, giving him 796 for his career to move past former teammate Robert Horry for 142nd in NBA history. ... San Antonio has scored 100-plus points in 16 consecutive games, its longest streak since hitting the century mark in 22 straight in 1995. ... At 24.1 points per game, Leonard is the first Spurs player to average 24-plus since Tim Duncan in 2002. If he can maintain that average, Leonard will join Duncan, George Gervin and David Robinson as the only players in franchise history to do so. ... Parker has played in 1,110 games, moving past Rasheed Wallace for 59th on the career list.
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
San Antonio will play the Phoenix Suns in Mexico City on Saturday night as part of the NBA's efforts to globalize the game.
Mexico City is 7,200 feet above sea level, but the Spurs are not overly concerned about adjusting to the higher altitude.
"The other team is not used to that altitude either, so it's pretty even," Popovich said. "If we were playing the Mexican National Team, they'd have an advantage maybe with the altitude. The Phoenix Suns I think play at the same kind of altitude we do, so it's all the same."
NOT THERE YET
San Antonio point guard Dejounte Murray finished with a season-high 10 points, shooting 2 for 2 on 3-pointers.
The work that the rookie from Washington is putting in with Spurs shooting guru Chip Engelland seems to be paying off, but Popovich wants to keep everything in perspective.
"Chip works with me on my shot," Popovich said. "He works with everybody. So, it's not surprising that he works with Dejounte. It's still early in the process. Just 'cause he made two 3s tonight, it doesn't mean that he's Chris Mullin."
Manu Ginobili paid tribute to former teammate Matt Bonner while also having some fun with the Spurs' recently retired forward.
Ginobili posted a picture of a green flannel shirt hung in an empty locker with Bonner written in pen on three strips of masking tape and No. 15 in Spurs' numbers.
"In a very cozy and private ceremony, today we retired @MattBonner_SAS's flannel shirt. #ThankYou15"
The Spurs retired Tim Duncan's jersey in an emotional ceremony last month, and this "ceremony" brought forth a different kind of emotion: laughter.
"Yeah, we had a couple of speeches. You guys missed them," Green said, attempting to stifle a smile. "It was great, the guys that stepped up and spoke about him. Had some great things to say about him."
Lakers: At the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
Spurs: Against the Phoenix Suns in Mexico City on Saturday night.