The Los Angeles Lakers struggled offensively for much of the night, but Kyle Kuzma made sure the team got all the points they needed down the stretch.
Kuzma scored 15 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, to go along with 13 rebounds, as the Lakers started off the second half of the season with a 105-100 win over the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers trailed by eight points at the end of each of the first three quarters but outscored the Pacers 34-21 in the final period to come away with the victory.
The Lakers as a whole struggled mightily offensively for much of the night, shooting just 44.7% from the field and 31.8% from deep. Where they helped themselves was at the free-throw line as they found themselves at the charity stripe for much of the night, hitting 30 of their 39 attempts.
LeBron James took just 13 shots, and finished with 18 points on the night while adding 10 assists. Montrezl Harrell also had an excellent night with 17 points, six rebounds, and three blocks and was a big part of the Lakers’ run to put them ahead in the final period.
After falling behind by 12 points in the fourth, the Lakers outscored Indiana 31-14 over the last 10 minutes of the game. Kuzma was the major spark and had a run of eight straight points of his own, with back-to-back threes to give the Lakers a four-point lead.
The Lakers’ backcourt struggled on the night but did come up with some key plays down the stretch. Dennis Schroder finished with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals but also had a team-high five turnovers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had just seven points, but came up with a steal and hit the ensuing free throws to clinch the win.
Things weren’t helped with the loss of Alex Caruso, who went out in the second quarter with a head contusion after hitting the floor hard.
Defensively, the Lakers were solid as they held the Pacers to just 42% shooting and only 22.2% from 3-point range. Much of the damage came from Malcolm Brogdon, who finished with 29 points. However, the Lakers turned up the pressure after an 18-point first quarter and held him in check for the rest of the way. All-Star Domantas Sabonis also flirted with a triple-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, but never truly took over the game.
The win improves the Lakers record to 25-13 and keeps them squarely in the third position in the Western Conference, two losses behind the Phoenix Suns, but just one loss ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers have two days off before heading to Oakland to take on Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the first night of a back-to-back on Monday night. They will then return home to Staples Center to host the Minnesota Timberwolves the next night.
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