After Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, the Los Angeles Lakers pulled out their third consecutive win by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-94. The Indiana Pacers came next on the Laker schedule as the team teams met Monday.
While the Lakers came into the game riding high, the Pacers looked to reverse their recent fortunes having lost eight straight. In their last game, C.J. Watson led the team in scoring with 23 points against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers entered with a record of 8-16, and the Pacers held a 7-17 mark.
Wesley Johnson started the game by air balling a three point attempt. Kobe Bryant provided the first Laker basket with a baseline jumper as the team fell behind early 4-2. The Lakers continued to struggle as the Pacers racked on the points to stretch their lead to 12-2. Two quick fouls by Ed Davis forced Byron Scott to send in Carlos Boozer into the game. The Lakers found themselves down 20-4 midway through the quarter as the rest of the bench entered the game. The scoring drought ended with Nick Young getting to the line and hitting a pair of free throws. The quarter mercifully ended with the Lakers only shooting 15 percent from the field and trailing 34-15.
The cold shooting carried over into the second quarter missing their first four field goal attempt as the team’s field goal percentage dropped to 12.5 percent. Nick Young brought the Lakers out of the spell again with a transition layup, but the to bring the score to 35-17. After a couple of Pacer field goals, Jeremy Lin turned the ball over to gave the Pacers an easy basket while the deficit grew to 24. Jordan Clarkson and Bryant returned to the game as the Lakers desperately needed a spark. By the time Bryant hit another jumper to end the Pacer run, the Pacers held a 48-19 lead. Very little went well for the Lakers as they continued to get abused on the defensive end as well. Johnson got to the line with 1:18 left while Bryant nailed a corner three. The half finally ended with Johnson hitting a three of his own just as the buzzer sounded to bring the score to 60-27.
Rodney Stuckey scored quickly for the Pacers just as Bryant hosted a quick shot that couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Johnson continued where he left off and hit a three pointer for the first Laker points of the half. A couple of good defensive possessions allowed the Lakers to enjoy a short 8-0 run but still were still down 62-35. The increased defensive effort began to show with Johnson getting a steal and taking it back for a layup. Another steal led to Bryant to layup plus a foul. As the Pacers brought the ball up, Bryant read a bad pass to get another layup to bring the score to 75-53. Ronnie Price continued the run with a three pointer. The Pacers scored six unanswered before Bryant went down the baseline for a dunk. Unfortunately, the Lakers failed to score for the remaining of the quarter and entered the final frame trailing 89-58.
Wayne Ellington hit a twenty footer on the first Laker possession as Young scored on a transition layup on the next. Young got another transition layup minutes later and followed it up by hitting a three, but the Lakers were still down large 96-69. The Pacers went cold from the field which led to a Lakers to extend their run to 11-0 and bring the score to 96-75.
With less than four minutes remaining, Boozer headed to the line and cut the lead to 20. Ellington then hit a three, but that was countered with jumper by Miles. Despite a mini surge by the Lakers, the Pacers continued to roll resulting in Indiana snapping their eight-game losing streak, 110-91.