An overtime fightback from the San Antonio Spurs left LeBron James waiting for his first win with the Los Angeles Lakers in a high-scoring thriller at the Staples Center on Monday.
San Antonio ran out 143-142 winners after two late free throw misses from James allowed Patty Mills to drain a jump shot for the Spurs with seven seconds remaining and snatched the win.
Mills' late winner was the final act of a pulsating battle which saw the Lakers overturn a 128-120 deficit with a minute left in the fourth quarter to force overtime, with James raising the roof with a three-pointer to tie the game.
James had looked poised to lead the Lakers to its first victory of the regular season after it surged into a 141-136 lead with 55 seconds of overtime remaining.
But San Antonio regrouped to come storming back and when James missed two free throws that would have given Lakers a three-point lead, Mills struck to give Spurs the win.
The defeat left James reflecting on his first 0-3 start to the season since his rookie NBA year in 2003. The 33-year-old was able to draw positives from the loss, however.
“I know what I got myself into,” James told reporters. “It's a process. We'll be fine. I didn't come here thinking we were going to be blazing storms right out the gate.
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"We're going to continue to get better. I like the direction we're going in. Obviously we haven't got the results or the wins yet, but it's a long process.”
LaMarcus Aldridge led the scoring for San Antonio with 37 points while DeMar DeRozan added 32. Kyle Kuzma top scored for Lakers with 37 points as James finished with 32 points.
Lakers coach Luke Walton said his team could take positives from the game despite the defeat.
“Overall, very pleased with our guys tonight,” Walton said. “That's three games we've had a chance to win now. Obviously it's about winning and losing at the end of the day. It's a tough one to take but we'll be back in the gym tomorrow doing it all over again.”