(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – The two stars for the Los Angeles Lakers (25-28) in Anthony Davis and LeBron James spoil Tyrese Haliburton’s return and All-Star recognition by coming from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Indiana Pacers (24-29) 112-111.
Coming into the game, Indiana and Los Angeles ranked first and second in the NBA in pace (the number of possessions a team uses per game), but the game started off slow. It nearly took the Lakers three minutes to register their first successful field goal. Meanwhile, the Pacers could not capitalize as they only scored two field goals during that span. Eventually, the Pacers would go on a 12-2 run to go from up one to eleven. While the spotlight coming in was on LeBron James needing 89 points to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the scoring record, it was his partner in crime in Anthony Davis generating the offense for the Lakers. He scored 11 points in the first quarter. In his first quarter of action since January 11th, All-Star Tyrese Haliburton matched AD’s 11 points. Indiana would lead 35-30 after LA closed the quarter on a 10-3 run the final 2:47.
Los Angeles would continue to chip away at their deficit and get it down to a two-point game at 40-38, but Myles Turner would catch fire. The recently extended Pacers center scored the next seven points for the Pacers, but he wasn’t the only contributor to the run. Aaron Nesmith, Bennedict Mathurin, and Tyrese Haliburton would help Turner lift the Pacers on a 14-2 run to turn that one-point lead into a fourteen-point lead at 54-40. Lakers Head Coach Darvin Ham would make a couple substitutions during the timeout, that sparked a 14-2 run to quickly trail again by six. The two teams would exchange baskets for a couple minutes before Indiana extended their lead to thirteen at halftime. Indiana would lead 67-54 after holding the Lakers to 24 second quarter points. Nesmith was critical in the quarter for Indiana with nine points including a four-point play. At halftime, Davis led all scorers with 17 points, but Haliburton had 16, Nesmith scored 15, and Turner chipped in 14. James was limited to 11 points on 5/10 shooting with ZERO free throw attempts.
It took a minute for the Pacers to realize that the second half had started because they surrendered 12-points in 2:30 of game action after just giving up 24 points in twelve minutes the previous quarter. Head Coach Rick Carlisle called a timeout with his team up 71-66 and they would respond. Indiana would slowly build their lead back up to two touchdowns with five minutes remaining in the period at 86-74. The quarter would close with the youngster Isaiah Jackson would end the quarter with a BANG. Indiana would lead after three quarters 96-84.
For a portion of the season, the Indiana Pacers struggles to close games, and those struggles would arise in the fourth quarter tonight. The Pacers shot an abysmal 27% from the floor and from the three-point line. They went 3/11 from beyond the arc and within the arc. They also turned the ball over four times. Meanwhile the Lakers were just chipping away and chipping away the entire quarter. It was looking like a wire-to-wire win for the Pacers, until the Lakers took their first lead with 2:35 to go as James knocked down a three-point shot to make it 108-106. Buddy Hield countered with a three, but the Lakers scored their final four points from James and Davis. Indiana couldn’t get a clean look as time expired and lost 112-111.
TOP PERFORMERS: Anthony Davis (31p, 14r), LeBron James (26p, 9r, 7a), Tyrese Haliburton (26p, 12a), Aaron Nesmith (24p), and Myles Turner (20p, 13r, 2b). For tonight’s full box score, click here.
NOTES: Aaron Nesmith had a career high 24 points and five threes. Teams that made 10+ more threes than their opponent were 53-7 entering the game, Russell Westbrooks 12.5% from the field when attempting 15+ attempts matched his career worst. Tyrese Haliburton registered his 23rd double-double on the season, Westbrook notched his 16th on the season, and Anthony Davis recorded his 21st.
NEXT UP: Good thing for the Pacers is that they have a quick turnaround to remove the sour taste of this loss. The Sacramento Kings will take on the Indiana Pacers from Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7pm. PG De’Aaron Fox has been ruled out already for the Kings due to personal reasons. Tomorrow marks the first time Domantas Sabonis will play in Indianapolis since being traded last season. The Kroger Pregame Show with Pat Boylan will start at 6:30pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan.
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