Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

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

Watch What it Takes to Ride Bulls at the FWSSR Getty Images
Shannon Reynolds | 13 January, 2018, 06:54

Nance has put up nice scoring totals in his last three games, and he is averaging 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds over that stretch.

"He pretty much is the offense: We give him the ball and get out of the way", Lonzo Ball said.

"It is a game that we have to be very, very locked in to being committed to playing defense for the entire game", Walton said Thursday morning. "I thought Brandon, obviously, was huge down the stretch, [and Ball] was great throughout".

After posting an odd double-double due to his poor shooting, Lonzo Ball would drop 18 points 7-of-11 (4-of-7 from long range) against the Spurs.

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

"We knew they was gonna do a lot of stop and rolls", he said. A groin injury would sideline Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard was also out because of a left shoulder strain. San Antonio sports an intriguing mix of productive veterans (LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills) and steady youngsters (Kyle Anderson, Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans) capable of picking up the slack in Pop's system.

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The San Antonio Spurs pay a visit to the Los Angeles Lakers at the STAPLES Center on Thursday night. Their desire was at a totally different level than ours was. The Lakers limited the Spurs to 15 points in the first quarter and 38 points in the first half - both season lows. A dunk by Nance ended a run of 17 straight Lakers points to make it 29-15 early in the second quarter, and Ball knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a 19-point margin.

He hit 11 shots on the night: five on mid-range jumpers, four going to the basket and two 3-pointers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played a solid defensive game and contributed down the stretch with 10 points and four rebounds.

The San Antonio Spurs have split their last six games but they will be looking to build on Monday's 107-100 road win over the Kings. Now they are just three games back of the Utah Jazz, who are 10th out west.

Before the game, Popovich didn't mince words when asked about the recent criticism of Walton from Lithuanian basketball power broker LaVar Ball: "I think the first thing to look at is the substance and gravitas of the source that speaks, and just stopping at that point would tell you that you don't need to listen or go any further". The coach talked the star big man out of his feelings after a few dinners and meetings.

"I view the ESPN article as a disgrace, quite honestly", Dallas Mavericks head coach Carlisle said this weekend.

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