(LOS, ANGELES, CAL.) – The Indiana Pacers (11-8) rely on their rookies in the fourth quarter to overcome a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers (7-11) 116-115 after Andrew Nembhard laces the game-winning shot over LeBron James as time expired.
The first twelve minutes of basketball between the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers was exciting. Both teams were exchanging shots, three-pointers, and free throws. A very disliked opponent of the Pacers from his days in Cleveland and Miami in LeBron James got off to a really hot start. He led all scorers with ten points in the first period after converting three of his five shots. James did leave the quarter early after appearing to roll his ankle after stepping on Tyrese Haliburton’s foot. Jalen Smith had a strong quarter for Indiana with nine points, but six of those came from the free-throw line. Myles Turner scored six points and grabbed five rebounds. After one, the Pacers would trail the Lakers 32-29.
Recent opponents have been reminded at how special of a player Anthony Davis (27.5 ppg, 13.7 reb, 2.3 blocks in 12 games this month) is for the Lakers. The Indiana Pacers felt that in the second quarter as he scored 14 points to help his team maintain a lead going into halftime. The Pacers would have a brief lead at 50-48, but the veteran Lakers would respond quickly to take the lead back and go into the break leading by six. Indiana did struggle in this quarter from distance by going 4/13 but made up for it by holding the Lakers to 1/7. Davis led all scorers with 18, LeBron had 14, Tyrese Haliburton had 12 (all in the second), and Bennedict Mathurin had 10. It was 62-56 Lakers.
Coming out of the locker room, the third quarter had a very similar feel to the first quarter. Neither team really could manage to streak together a long run other than the one run the Lakers were able to make to extend their lead to 16 points. This young, exciting, and promising Pacer team does not give up unlike teams in the past. They somehow clawed late in the period to get the deficit after 36 minutes to nine.
The final quarter of play for the Indiana Pacers was a roller coaster. The Lakers extended their lead within the first two minutes of the period to 17-points at 101-84. The rest of the way, the Pacers would outscore the Lakers 32-14 in the final nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. Aaron Nesmith and Mathurin sparked the surge by going on a 12-2 run. The deficit for Indiana would extend back to 11 with 5:12 to go. The team had only made 12 three’s in the previous 42+ minutes of basketball. They converted five attempts in the final stages of the quarter. Tyrese Haliburton tied the game at 113 with 39.8 left on a layup that gave Indiana a chance at another possession. LeBron would counter with a two pointer. The initial shot for Indiana on their final possession was a wide-open three from Myles Turner, but it got into the hands of Nembhard after the offensive rebound and kick-out pass from Haliburton.
TOP PERFORMERS: Tyrese Haliburton (24p, 14a, 7r), Bennedict Mathurin (23p, 8r), Myles Turner (15p, 13r, 3b), Anthony Davis (25p, 13r, 6a, 4b), LeBron James (21p, 7r), and Russell Westbrook (24p, 6a, 4r). For tonight’s full box score, click here.
NOTES: Pacers had 6 players in double figures, Haliburton has 40 straight assists without a turnover, Indiana is now 4-0 on the second night of a back-to-back, and this was the eighth time this season that the Pacers have come from behind to win.
NEXT UP: Game three of the seven-game road trip continues on Wednesday as Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield make their return to Sacramento to take on the Kings. The Kroger Pregame Show with Pat Boylan starts at 9:30pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan with tip-off at 10pm.
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