Learning curve for Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers may have come up short in Friday's 116-107 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, but even in a loss, there may yet be a silver lining for the purple and gold. As far as the San Antonio Spurs go, they were firing on all cylinders while visiting Staples Center, with LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way with 23 points on the night. The balanced attack of the San Antonio Spurs was rounded out by veteran Tony Parker, who put in 16 points and 7 assists, Kawhi Leonard who poured in an impressive double-double consisting of 23 points and 12 boards, and new acquisition Pau Gasol dropping 16 points against his former team in his first visit to Staples as a member of the Spurs.

As for the Los Angeles Lakers (who played without second year Point Guard D'Angelo Russell), the purple and gold were led by Lou Williams and Nick Young, who put in 24 and 20 points, respectively. Both teams had quarters in which they scored over 30 points, and L.A. showed some real grit taking on one of the league's top-tier, elite teams. While San Antonio is one of the legitimate title contenders, L.A. is very much a start-up team still looking for their own identity in the post-Kobe Bryant era.

Looking to the future for the Los Angeles Lakers

Even in a loss, the team showed something on Friday night: they showed that even though they still have a ways to go in terms of becoming one of the elite teams in the league, they have all bought in to Luke Walton's system and they are committed to improving as a collective. As stacked as San Antonio is, and as loaded as they are with veterans and championship experience, the purple and gold showed that they can compete with anyone, night in and night out.

And, while they may not have gained a victory, they certainly gained the Spurs' respect.

According to NBA.com, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had this to say following the win against the young Lakers: "Luke has done a great job of making them believe and playing aggressively, and you can really see it. I am just so impressed with what (Walton) has done with this group."

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