Game Recap: Lakers Battle, Can’t Keep Up With Pacers
The Lakers return home for the first time in two weeks and awaiting them is the team with the NBA’s best record in the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers boast the league’s stingiest defense and Paul George has blossomed into one of the best two-way players in the league.
The Lakers have lost four straight coming into this game and hope to turn things around. This game is the last of a five game road trip for the Pacers. Despite some concerns, both Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks will start for the Lakers.
David West started the scoring for the teams with an easy three-point play as Ryan Kelly is not strong enough to handle him. Kelly would answer with a nice floater and Wesley Johnson got a nice fast break layup but Lance Stephenson threw down a filthy dunk to give the Pacers a 5-4 lead early. West is bullying the Lakers on the block and tallied seven points in the first six minutes. Harris, Young, and Hill were the first subs in the game for the Lakers, but the offense struggled to get going. George Hill hit a three-pointer and Gasol answered with a shot hook to cut the Pacers lead to three with three minutes left in the quarter. Neither team looked great down the stretch of the quarter and Kendall Marshall missed a layup as time expired as the Lakers trailed 22-19 after one quarter.
Both teams started slow to begin this quarter, but the Lakers went on a quick 7-2 run thanks to Jodie Meeks to tie the score at 28. The Pacers would respond with a couple of easy baskets but a Johnson three would keep the Pacer lead at only one. The Pacers have dominated the Lakers in the paint, but the Lakers are fighting. A Gasol jump hook gave the Lakers a one point lead midway through the quarter. The teams continued to trade baskets as Gasol and Hill converted baskets for the Lakers while Paul George finally got going for the Pacers. Marshall turned the ball over which led to a Pacers layup, but followed it up with a beautiful drive and dish to Jordan Hill for a layup to end the half with the Lakers and Pacers tied at 49.
Robert Sacre started the half for the Lakers as Gasol tweaked his groin, but Gasol was back in at the first dead ball. Stephenson got himself a couple of beautiful layups followed by George Hill converting an easy layup and the Pacers quickly gain an eight point lead. Gasol hit back-to-back baskets to cut the Pacer lead to four but he was obviously laboring thanks to his groin injury. Stephenson with a filthy dunk over Gasol followed by a Pacer steal and a great move from George for another dunk and the Pacer lead quickly rose to seven. The Lakers continue to fight to stay in the game as a couple of Nick Young baskets keep the Pacer lead at eight. The Lakers had some terrible possessions in this quarter as their issues in the third quarter continued. A Paul George three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pacers a 10 point lead after three.
The Pacers got themselves a couple of baskets to start the quarter but the Lakers responded with a run of their own to cut the lead back to seven. Unfortunately the Pacers would respond with nine straight points as they have taken control of the game. Gasol has put together another great performance as he will hit 20 points and 10 rebounds for the fifth consecutive game. The Lakers are struggling to get the stops they need as CJ Watson and Danny Granger continue to knock down shots to keep the Lakers at bay. Ryan Kelly and Kendall Marshall have also played well in the second half and the Lakers cut the Pacer lead to 10 with three minutes left, but they will need a huge run to complete this comeback. They tried but they can’t get it done as the Lakers lose their fifth straight.
VIDEO: Kobe Bryant’s Latest Setback