Rui Hachimura scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds Wednesday in his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers, helping them pull away late in a 113-104 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Japanese men's national basketball team standout, acquired from the Washington Wizards earlier in the week, also had an assist and a steal in his 22 minutes off the bench.
Anthony Davis scored 21 points in his return from a right foot injury, while LeBron James added 20 as the Lakers bounced back from a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
Hachimura was heavily involved as the Lakers seized control against the visiting Spurs with a 22-6 run early in the fourth quarter. He scored six points during the flurry, including a three-pointer in transition, while also assisting on one of James' makes from deep.
Keldon Johnson had a team-high with 25 points for San Antonio, while Zach Collins scored 16.
The 24-year-old Hachimura, who became the first NBA lottery pick from Japan when the Wizards took him ninth in 2019, said he was excited to play his first game for 17-time NBA champions Los Angeles.
"When my name was announced and a cheer went up, I felt really happy to be able to play for the Lakers," he said. "I was thrilled to enter the game."
The Toyama Prefecture native also said playing alongside superstar James, who is closing in on the NBA's all-time scoring record, had simplified his job.
"I had a couple of easy looks," he said.
The Lakers are among a cluster of teams battling for a playoff spot in the NBA's chaotic Western Conference. Currently 13th at 23-26, they are only three games back from the fourth-place New Orleans Pelicans. They begin a five-game road trip Saturday against the Boston Celtics.
In other NBA action, Hachimura's Akatsuki Japan teammate Yuta Watanabe had 11 points and four rebounds for the Brooklyn Nets in their 137-133 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
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