SAN ANTONIO (AP) – The Spurs are still working to develop a comfort and chemistry with one another, but have already discovered they can count on DeMar DeRozan to come through late.
DeRozan had 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and the Spurs rallied in the fourth quarter, overcoming 35 points and 11 rebounds from LeBron James to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 110-106 on Saturday night.
DeRozan had 14 points in the second half, including eight in the fourth quarter, for his second double-double in five games after failing to get any last season with Toronto.
“Whenever we’re down, it’s kind of natural to me to just try to be more aggressive,” DeRozan said. “Go out there, whether it’s to score or try to find guys and just try to get us going.”
San Antonio fed off the energy, rebounding from a 20-point loss against Indiana as Gregg Popovich became the fifth coach to win 1,200 games and the first to do so with one team.
The Spurs’ first lead came at 93-91 with 10 minutes remaining when DeRozan laid in his own miss after beating three Lakers to the rebound.
“I just wanted to kind of get that bucket, kind of get the crowd into it, get your teammates into it, the bench gets into and we all kind of feed off the energy after that,” he said.
San Antonio would build the lead to eight points before James cut it to 106-105 with four straight points an assist to Josh Hart on a 3-pointer. DeRozan responded with a fadeaway jumper on Hart with 15.9 seconds remaining to help preserve the lead and the eventual win.
“When you have those games where your offense isn’t clicking like it is, you’ve got to be able to rely on your defense, and we did that tonight,” James said. “We were down one, they had the ball, and DeRozan hit a tough, tough two over Josh. We did our job, and that’s all you can ask for.”
The Spurs also tried to lock in defensively after struggling offensively for much of the game.
San Antonio entered the game allowing 121.8 points, but held Los Angeles to 46 points in the second and 18 in the final quarter.
“That sort of thing is what we’re used to and that’s really the first time this year that we’ve done that,” Popovich said. “If that can become a habit you have a good opportunity to win a lot of games We’re not there yet we’re not going to be consistent at that right nowbut we did do it tonight and that was great.”
The Lakers shot 53 percent in the first half and led by as many as 14 points.