The Los Angeles Lakers (1-2) head to Indianapolis to face the Pacers (1-2) for the first of their two meetings this year.
The Lakers come off a tough road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who pulled away late to win 113-96. The Lakers came within 4 points with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter, but Russell Westbrook was able to turn on the jets and lead the Thunder to a comfortable victory.
The Indiana Pacers started off with a win against the Dallas Mavericks followed up with losses to the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers should look to kick the Pacers while they are down and get their first victory on their four-game road trip.
During the offseason, the Pacers traded away one native Indiana point guard, George Hill, for another in Jeff Teague. With this trade, the Pacers hope to improve on the offensive side of the ball as well as quicken their pace. Teague averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 assists compared to Hill’s 12.1 points and 3.5 assists last season. Teague hasn’t gotten off to a good start this season and was held scoreless in his last game versus the Bulls.
Teague’s running mate, Monta Ellis, is also looking to get things going versus the Lakers. Ellis looked good against the Mavericks scoring 19 points while shooting 63% from the field. His play has fallen off in the last two games however, scoring a combined 13 points on 29.2% shooting.
D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson should be excited about their matchup against the Pacers. Both Ellis and Teague are not known to be defensive juggernauts and Russell and Clarkson both hold a physical advantage over the Pacers small guards. The last couple of games Russell hasn’t shot the ball very efficiently; look for him to get some easy buckets in the post to get himself going tonight against the small Pacers backcourt.
The Pacer’s biggest strength comes from their front court that is led by Paul George and Myles Turner.
Myles Turner is averaging 21 points and 10.3 rebounds, including a monster opening night when he tallied 30 points and 16 rebounds. Turner is only in his second season, but has great post moves for such a young player, can also step outside and hit jumpers, and is a great rim protector as well.
Paul George is an All-NBA talent and needs to be contained. George is the motor of the Pacers offense and can quickly take over a game. Paul George is currently averaging 22.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.
Julius Randle was the biggest bright spot in the Lakers last game versus the Thunder. He will need to continue to attack the basket, score efficiently, and get others involved. Most importantly however, will be keeping up his activity as Thaddeus Young will make Randle pay if he loses focus defensively or on the boards.
Mozgov will be a major piece in stopping Turner. He needs to stay out of foul trouble and help take care of Turner for the whole game. Luol Deng will be assigned to Paul George. Deng won’t be looked at to contribute a lot offensively, so he needs to focus on shutting George down.
Keys to Victory:
Limit Points in the Paint: Against the Oklahoma City Thunder the Lakers allowed 62 points in the paint. Allowing easy buckets isn’t a formula to win games. Luol Deng needs to keep Paul George from wrecking havoc and getting into the paint with ease. Also, the Lakers’ guards need to keep Teague and Ellis out of the paint and force them into tough perimeter shots.
Stop the Turnovers: The Lakers are averaging 19.5 turnovers in their two losses this season. Turnovers lead to fast break opportunities, which either result in a high percentage layup or an open three. Winning the turnover battle means the Lakers will have more easy shots and have a better chance of winning the game.
Make Open Shots: In these last two losses, the Lakers are shooting 39.2% overall and 29.1 % from three while shooting nearly 30 threes a game. The Lakers aren’t forcing up awful shots as many of them are good, open looks that just aren’t falling. If the Lakers are going to take that many threes, they better start falling or it’s that much easier for teams to get out in transition.
Los Angeles Lakers (1-2) @ Indiana Pacers (1-2)
4:00 P.M. PST, November 1st, 2016
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Pacers Starting Lineup:
PG: Jeff Teague
SG: Monta Ellis
SF: Paul George
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Myles Turner
Key Reserves: Al Jefferson, C.J. Miles, Aaron Brooks, and Rodney Stuckey
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Nick Young
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Julius Randle
C: Timofey Mozgov
Key Reserves: Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Lou Williams, Tarik Black