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Players and Coaches React to Capitol Riots, Jacob Blake Shooting News During Lakers vs Spurs Game
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published January 8, 2021

Lakers forward LeBron James scored 27 points and 12 assists in the Lakers’ 118-109 loss to the San Antonio (Twitter photo)

It has been a tough week in social justice in America. On January 5, Kenosha County Wisconsin District Attorney Mike Graveley announced that he will not charge the officers involved in the Jacob Blake shooting. The next day, a hoard of pro-Trump extremists broke into and raided the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.

These issues were on the minds of the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday in the wake of their matchup at the Staples Center. During the play of the National Anthem, the two teams formed a circle midcourt. Each player stood next to an opponent.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expressed his disdain for outgoing president Donald Trump prior to tip-off, calling him “incompetent” and “incapable.”

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“I believe with all my heart that Trump enjoyed it,” Popovich said about the Capitol riots. “There can’t be a better example of a system that is not fair as far as justice and equal rights are concerned and the protection of citizens.”

Players from both teams addressed the racial double-standard in interactions with the police during the Capitol riots and the Black Lives Matter protests that took place during the summer of 2020.

“We live in two Americas and that was a prime example of that,”Lakers star LeBron James said about the riots. “So many Black folks in my household during that time and it’s on the TV, I couldn’t help but to wonder if those were my kind storming the Capitol, what would have been the outcome.”

Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge noticed the lack of force the police inflicted upon the extremists. He mentioned if Black people would have attempted to infiltrate the U.S. Capitol “it would have been more gunfire and more people dead.”

“People have guns drawn, but don’t do anything but you have a Black person getting out of a car or leaving a store … they get shot and killed,” Aldridge said. “No one reacted fast, it was very slow, very gentle and I feel like if you flip that and make it all Black people, that story is totally different.’

Both James and Popovich believe Trump to be ruinous and careless. Lakers forward Anthony Davis wore a shirt that said “Fear of a Black Planet” in wake of this week’s events. He spoke on how the extremists looted the Capitol building, like how some protestors did during the Black Live Matter protests, yet the two groups were handled differently by the police.

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“It’s funny how when the Black Lives Matter protests, we want to get our point across and we—for the most part—have a peaceful protest, we get attacked and assaulted and violence happens,” Davis said. “On the other side, the type who runs into the nation’s capital and get escorted out the front door like everything is okay.”

The Lakers lost to the Spurs 118-109, Aldridge led the Spurs with 28 points and guard Dejounte Murray grabbed eight rebounds. James gave the Lakers 27 points and 12 assists, forward Kyle Kuzma and Davis made 10 rebounds each.

The Reigning NBA Champions had a cold start, allowing the Spurs to have a 9-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game.

Guard Alex Caruso returned to the hardwood for the first time since December and quickly helped the Lakers with three-pointers. Due to lack of defense, the Lakers trailed for most of the game.

Murray helped boost San Antonio’s shooting percentage to 57.1 from field during the second quarter. The Spurs also forced turnovers. By halftime, the Lakers had nine turnovers compared to the Spurs’ four; San Antonio was up 65-56 at this point.

Shooting three pointers came easier for the Spurs, they shot 16 throughout the match up. Aldridge hit a three-pointer for the Spurs to have 87 points and the Spurs went cold for two regulated minutes. Davis and Caruso created a six-point run during that time, closing the Lakers deficit to three-points.

The Lakers tied with the Spurs only briefly before Spurs players successfully executed shots during the fourth quarter to secure a victory.

On January 8, the Lakers will battle the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center at 7:00P.M.

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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