The Los Angeles Lakers continued their road trip on Thursday night, looking for revenge against the Indiana Pacers after losing to them on a buzzer-beater earlier in the season.
The Pacers have also been struggling lately which made this a crucial game for the Lakers to get back in the playoff race, and they were thankfully able to come away with a 112-111 comeback victory to improve to 25-28.
Both teams got off to a slow start as the rhythm seemed off from the jump. Tyrese Haliburton made his return for Indiana after a 10-game absence though and was one of the only ones to get going early with 11 quick points.
Anthony Davis also had nine quick points for the Lakers although the rest of his team struggled and the Pacers built a 27-16 lead, forcing Darvin Ham to use an early timeout.
The Lakers’ second unit did a nice job closing the quarter with Russell Westbrook (six points) and Thomas Bryant (five points) leading the way to cut the deficit to 35-30 going into the second.
Indiana’s 3-point shooting was lethal as Aaron Nesmith alone had three after draining one early in the second. Myles Turner and Haliburton then each hit one of their own to increase the lead back to double digits.
After a slow start for LeBron James, he finally got going with a pair of buckets to end the Pacers’ run.
It was still a sluggish end to the half for L.A. while Indiana stayed hot from deep, this time a four-point play by Nesmith.
The Lakers went into the third quarter trailing 67-54, but something must’ve clicked at halftime as they began the half on a 12-4 run with Dennis Schroder making a pair of 3s to force a Pacers timeout.
Haliburton settled his team down after the break, setting up his teammates for easy looks while also drilling another 3 to bring the lead back to a dozen.
Westbrook really struggled from the field to close out the third, and after Isaiah Jackson had a poster dunk to end the quarter, the Lakers’ deficit was 96-84.
L.A. began the fourth on another run, getting back within single digits after a three-point play by Rui Hachimura. Getting into the bonus early helped as the Lakers lived at the free-throw line, chipping away at their deficit. After a pair of dunks from Davis while the Pacers went cold, it was a four-point game going into the final four minutes.
Patrick Beverley came up big down the stretch, finally connecting on a 3-pointer while also slowing Haliburton down on the other end.
The Lakers fought all the way back and took the lead with two minutes to play after James drilled a transition triple. After the two teams exchanged a few buckets, Davis hit a midrange shot to give L.A. the lead again and then came up with a huge block on Haliburton.
Beverley missed a pair of free throws though, giving the Pacers one final chance down one. The Lakers defense was fantastic once again though, forcing Hield into an impossible shot, which he missed.
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