The revolving door that has been the Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup continued on Wednesday as although they welcomed LeBron James back to the lineup after his one-game suspension, they were without Anthony Davis for the first time this season due to his illness against the Indiana Pacers.
Davis was not needed on this night though as James led the Lakers to a 124-116 comeback victory over the Pacers.
Russell Westbrook picked up where he left off in the second half of the last game, scoring the first four points for the Lakers.
Talen Horton-Tucker also got on the board early with a layup, which gave him more points than he had in the entire game against the New York Knicks, although the Pacers still led 11-9 going into the first timeout.
As has been the case a lot this season, the Lakers’ defense was rough in the first quarter as the Pacers were able to get a number of easy layups early.
Luckily, Carmelo Anthony hit a couple of threes to keep the game from getting out of reach and the Lakers’ deficit after one quarter was 31-26.
However, the Lakers weren’t as fortunate to start out the second quarter as the Pacers began on a 6-0 run to take their first double-digit lead and forced Frank Vogel to call a timeout.
Wayne Ellington finally got going with a three to get the Lakers back within six after the defense settled in a bit, this time forcing a Pacers timeout.
With Dwight Howard picking up three early fouls, the Lakers went small with James at center for a portion of the second quarter and that allowed him to get going offensively with 17 first-half points.
While the Lakers fought all the way back to get within one, although a pair of late threes by Indiana allowed them to take a 66-60 lead into the halftime locker room.
The Pacers started off the third quarter with three consecutive turnovers, already surpassing their first-half total of two. The Lakers only turned it into two points thought so were largely unable to take advantage of the miscues. A couple of threes later and the Pacers’ lead was back to a dozen, forcing a Lakers timeout.
L.A. responded well out of the timeout though with a 7-0, which included a chase-down block by James on Domantas Sabonis. In what was a game of runs, the Lakers found themselves trailing by just two at the end of the third quarter at 84-82.
That was short-lived though as the Pacers began the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run of their own, continuing to answer every Lakers run.
The Lakers finally were able to get over the hump a bit after that though as Malik Monk drilled a three and then Wayne Ellington hit two in a row to tie the game. Monk eventually then hit another three to give L.A. its first lead.
A flagrant foul on Sabonis a deep three by James gave the Lakers their largest lead of the night and they looked like they would be escaping with a comeback win after building their lead to four with less than a minute remaining. Justin Holiday said not so fast though, drilling a corner three to make a 1-point game with 26 seconds to play.
After Westbrook knocked down a pair of free throws though, Chris Duarte drained a circus three to tie the game and send it to overtime.
As was the case all night, James came up big in overtime by draining back-to-back threes to give the Lakers a 6-point lead. After a layup by Malcolm Brogdon, James then responded with a fadeaway midrange shot to put the game out of reach for good this time.
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