By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
After starting the season at home the Lakers hit the road for the fist time and reeled off three straight wins running their record to 5-2 (at press time). After playing some 20 plus games and playoffs in “The Bubble” the team has a somewhat “normal” road trip.
They knocked off the Spurs 121-107 in what turned out to be an historic night as LeBron James recording his 1,000th consecutive game scoring in double figures. He’s the first to reach that plateau. He had already surpassed Michael Jordan (866) Kareem Abdul Jabbar (787) and Karl Malone (575). The feat shows the durability and consistency of James.
He finished the game with 26 points and 8 assists. Anthony Davis chipped in with 20. Montrezl Harrell led all rebounders with 9.
During the same game Spurs head coach Greg Popoviich was ejected from the game after receiving his second technical foul with 3:56 left in the first half. Before heading to the locker room he pointed to assistant coach Becky and said “You got em”.
That left Hammond in charge. The move made her the first female to be head coach during a regular season NBA game.
“I didn’t walk in the area tonight thinking I would be coaching but that’s the way things go and you roll with it,” said Hammond. She had been an assistant with the Spurs for the past six years.
“I would have love to have gotten the win tonight more than anything.”
Due to the new format the NBA is using this season to cut down on travel it was 48 hours later when the two teams met again.
It has been more than 50 years since the Laker play consecutive games against the same team. This was a closer game that had 21 lead changes and 15 ties. The Lakers prevailed 109-103.
Davis poured in 34 points while James compiled his first triple-double of the season. King James dropped in 30 points, grabbed 11 boards and dished out 11 dimes.
The team headed to Memphis where Mark Gasol returning to play his old team where he spent 11 seasons. “Memphis, it’s a place that I know, it’s a special place to me that’s been my home,” said Gasol.
It would be a bit of a struggle against a young Grizzlies squad. Gasol would finish the game with seven points and four assists.
It was James again asserting himself in the fourth period where he scored 13 of his 20 points. The Lakers came away with a 108-94 victory.
“He sets a tone for this Laker organization, this team, that’s the standard,” said Wes Mathews. “When the Best player is setting and exceeding that standard obviously everybody else comes along.”
The Lakers will be at Staples this week home this week Jan 7 and 8 to take on the Spurs and Chicago.