The Los Angeles Lakers got off on the right foot to begin the second half of the 2020-21 season after a comeback win against the Indiana Pacers.
Despite being shorthanded, the Lakers were able to overcome a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit with Kyle Kuzma leading the way offensively. It was encouraging to see Los Angeles pull out a win as they started out slow and looked well on their way to another letdown performance.
The Lakers were once again without Anthony Davis as he nurses a calf strain. Davis was re-evaluated prior to the game against Indiana and was ruled out an additional two weeks as he ramps up his rehab.
Head coach Frank Vogel was asked about the Lakers’ 8-7 record without Davis in the lineup but shifted the focus to the remainder of the season.
“I’m looking at it like we’re starting the second half of our season tonight,” Vogel said. “We’re 1-0 during that stretch. No one was happy with how we finished going into the break. … We just got to play through that. Put that stretch behind us. We’re still undermanned right now and we’re going to be for some time.
“We just got to compete and win games. Right now we’re 1-0 in the second half and in a couple nights we’ll try to go 2-0.”
The Lakers played their poorest stretch of basketball at the end of February as they looked like a team in desperate need of a break. However, that slump should be behind them now as they got some rest and have some work to do to get back to the top of the standings.
Fortunately, the Lakers have a relatively lax schedule for the next couple of weeks. They draw the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
Kuzma on importance of win against Pacers
Regular season wins are not much of an accomplishment for a Lakers team chasing another title, but Kuzma admitted their victory against the Pacers meant more than normal.
“Really, really big,” Kuzma said. “We’ve never spoken to must-win, but it felt really refreshing to win off of a break. The seven out of 10 stretch we had to get a win. Very good for our team morale. Everything is better when you win.
“Wake up in the morning, you lost the following night. You feel really [expletive]. Tomorrow, we’re going to feel really good about ourselves. Hopefully, we can translate that to Monday.”
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