The Los Angeles Lakers’ two-game losing skid comes to an end as they held off an Indiana Pacers’ comeback in a win.
LeBron James scored 12 of his 38 points in the final five minutes to help the Lakers prevail over the Pacers late for a 104-96 victory. Los Angeles held off an Indiana comeback after Los Angeles allowed Indiana to slip back into the game following a huge 24 point lead.
With 22.4 seconds left to play in the game, James made both of his free throws to seal the Lakers win.
Though LeBron led the Lakers in scoring, down the stretch in the second half, the Lakers played by committee with contributions from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart offensively while the whole team played defense as one.
Caldwell-Pope’s three-pointer to extend the Lakers lead to 98-88 amidst a 9-0 scoring run at the 3:24 mark of the fourth quarter. Hart’s jump shot gave the Lakers an 89-83 lead at the 7:06 mark.
The fourth quarter was a totally different story from the rest of the game. Indiana had Los Angeles on their toes as they almost took the game from the Lakers.
This has been a constant situation that the Lakers have been through in games as of late when they have strong starts then struggle to maintain a substantial lead as their opponents find ways to stay active in games.
Los Angeles started off hot with unanswered points by Indiana as the Lakers led 13-0 following a Kyle Kuzma three-pointer. The Lakers built on this lead all through the first quarter until the Pacers attempted to fight their way back into the contest in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
The Lakers almost faltered against the Pacers as they allowed them to come back from a 24-point Lakers’ lead late in the first half. The Lakers led 42-18 early in the second quarter following a running jump shot by Josh Hart.
Indiana began to chip away at the Lakers’ large lead throughout the second quarter. Indiana’s comeback began with a three-pointer by Doug McDermott then Cory Joseph followed up with a three-pointer of his own to bring the Pacers within 18 at the 7:40 mark of the quarter.
With five minutes left in the first half, Indiana managed to get their deficit to 12 as Sabonis made a three-pointer amidst their 13-4 run to make the score 40-52. Tyreke Evans made his two free throws that got Indiana within six points 50-56 with 58.5 seconds left in the half.
The Lakers managed to buckle down to start the second half as more players were able to contribute offensively while as a team, Los Angeles played better defensively as a unit. As the Pacers tried to make various strides in the game, the Lakers responded and extended the lead.
Los Angeles outscored Indiana in the paint 58-38. Some of those points came in transition from an active Lakers’ defense that allowed for players to score on the offensive end. The Lakers forced the Pacers to turn the ball over 17 times and were able to score 13 points off those turnovers.
The Indiana bench outscored the Lakers’ bench 47-33 as Sabonis had 20 points, 15 rebounds, and three assists. Sabonis led the charge for the Pacers as Victor Oladipo sat out for the sixth straight game with a sore right knee.
Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young followed up in scoring as the only starters with double digits. Bogdanovic had 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists. Young finished with 11 points, five rebounds, an assist, and five steals.
James’ late-game surge led him to finish with 38 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Brandon Ingram followed up with 14 points, three assists, and three blocks.
Hart and Caldwell-Pope’s scored shots at well-needed moments for the Lakers in the second half. Hart finished with 13 points on 6-7 field goals, two assists, and three steals. Caldwell-Pope had 11 points on 3-5 three-point shots, two rebounds, and an assist. Kuzma also finished the game with 11 points, nine rebounds, and two assists.
Los Angeles now moves to 12-9 on the season and sits in seventh place in the Western Conference behind Memphis (12-8).
This win halts a two-game losing skid for the Lakers. Los Angeles opens their four-game homestand with this win. Los Angeles looks to build on their home record of 7-4
during the rest of this homestand against Dallas, Phoenix, and San Antonio.
Los Angeles plays the Dallas Mavericks (10-9) on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Dallas has won three games in a row and seven of eight games going into this game.