Spurs aim for season sweep of Lakers

SAN ANTONIO — There will not be a whole lot on the line when the San Antonio Spurs host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday at the AT&T Center.

San Antonio (60-17) already clinched at least the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs and has a slight chance of moving into the top spot. That would require the Spurs making up a 3 1/2-game difference on the league-leading Golden State Warriors. San Antonio has five games left, Golden State four.

The Spurs come into the Wednesday game off a grueling 96-89 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies that assured San Antonio of its second consecutive 60-win season and seventh such campaign in franchise history. That ranks third best all time in NBA history behind Boston (13) and the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers (11).

Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and took charge of the game at the free-throw line in the final seconds to help lift the Spurs to the victory over Memphis that squared the season series with the Grizzlies.

If the playoffs started Wednesday, the Spurs and Memphis would play in the first round.

The game was tied at 86 with 2:15 left in overtime before Pau Gasol and Patty Mills hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give San Antonio the lead for good. Leonard sealed it by making three free throws in the final minute.

“Anytime you have to make plays down the stretch and you are behind and you have to execute it’s good for the team and good for your confidence,” Leonard said. “Both teams were making shots at the end — Memphis packs the paint and doesn’t allow you to get easy layups and they get their hands on a lot of balls.”

LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 points for the Spurs while Pau Gasol chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Tony Parker and Mills had 10 points each for San Antonio.

“Memphis is really physical and it bogs us down offensively,” Mills said. “For us to counter that we need to do our job defensively and run out of that, get rebounds and flow into our offense. We want to get better in all aspects of the game. It was good to get that matchup.”

The Lakers (22-55) head to south Texas off a rousing 109-103 home victory over playoff-bound Memphis on Sunday. The result snapped a four-game slide and allowed Los Angeles to take two of the three games this season against the Grizzlies.

D’Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 28 points, and Julius Randle collected 18 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Ingram scored 13 points and Larry Nance Jr. added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Thomas Robinson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles.

The Lakers outrebounded the Grizzlies 51-33, including 17-5 on the offensive end.

“We just went out there and competed and moved the ball,” said Robinson, who had five offensive rebounds. “The guys had matchups that they took advantage of.”

It was the first time three Lakers recorded double-doubles in the same game since Dec. 26, 2014.

“Our guys are tired of losing,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “They’ve been playing hard. We’ve obviously been short-handed recently. We needed them on the glass tonight.

“Memphis is a slow-it-down, grind-it-out type of team. If you lose the rebound battle you make it really tough on yourself. Down the stretch we did a better job of making plays, which we’ve struggled with throughout the season.”

San Antonio has already captured the first three games with the Lakers this season, winning by an average of 23.3 points. Los Angeles lost the last six season series to the Spurs and is 3-7 in its past 10 games in the Alamo City.