The Los Angeles Lakers returned home on Monday night, hosting the Indiana Pacers looking to build off their back-to-back wins.
It looked like it was gonna be another Laker win for most of the night. They couldn’t close it out, however, as Andrew Nembhard hit a 3 at the buzzer to secure a 116-115 victory for the Pacers.
Coming off his 39-point game against the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James picked up where he left off in this one by starting the game with his own personal 7-0 run. The Pacers responded with seven straight of their own, however, to tie it up early.
James rolled his ankle after colliding with Tyrese Haliburton midway through the first quarter, coming out of the game and heading back to the locker room before eventually returning. The Lakers originally struggled on both sides of the floor in his absence although Russell Westbrook and the second unit picked up the intensity to close the quarter with a 32-29 lead.
LeBron looked a step slow after returning from the ankle injury, so he made it a point to get his teammates involved, finding Anthony Davis for an easy layup.
After a slow first quarter, Haliburton heated up in the second with 10 straight points, including a pair of 3s to help the Pacers regain the lead. James immediately responded with the dunk though as the teams went back and forth.
Davis had a rare half where he was more focused on playmaking than scoring as he found James for an alley-oop to give the Lakers the lead back. Davis did get going inside to end the half though and he went into the locker room on triple-double watch with 18-5-5. Dennis Schroder beat the buzzer with a 3 and the Lakers led 62-56 at halftime.
The Lakers actually came out with some energy in the third quarter for a change. James drilled a 3 and then found Davis for a layup. After a nice take by Schroder for a bucket, L.A. had its first double-digit lead of the night. Haliburton continued to keep his team within striking distance though with some finishes at the rim and sweet dishes to open teammates.
Westbrook led another nice Laker run near the end the third quarter where he, Troy Brown Jr. and Kendrick Nunn all made 3-pointers. Bennedict Mathurin scored five quick points to close the quarter though, including a putback at the buzzer to cut L.A.’s lead to 93-84.
The fourth quarter began with another Laker run, which only made sense after a fan drilled a halfcourt shot between quarters, bringing the arena into a frenzy. Austin Reaves drilled a 3 and then Westbrook found Wenyen Gabriel for a dunk, extending the lead to 17.
The game wasn’t out of reach from there though as the Pacers immediately responded with a 10-0 run, forcing the Lakers to call timeout.
Davis and James restored order out of the timeout, each making layups to get the lead back to double digits. Again though, the young and scrappy Pacers would not go away as they hit back-to-back 3s to cut the Laker lead to one late before Westbrook answered with a layup.
Buddy Hield hit a layup of his own to get it back to one, however. After Davis was fouled, he only made 1-of-2 at the line to extend it to two late. That allowed Haliburton to tie it with a layup, which James immediately matched with a layup of his own.
The Pacers then had one last opportunity and the Lakers’ inability to rebound cost them as rookie Nembhard beat them at the buzzer.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!