Lakers finish home stand against Indiana Pacers

The Lakers defeated the Pacers on Dec. 9 to win the first-ever NBA in-season tournament.

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers are still 9th place in the West.

They’re doing what they can. They are 14-7 starting with their huge win over Boston on Feb. 1st. They’ve won their last two after a blowout win over the Hawks and a grimy W over the Sixers.

The Lakers will soon go on one last extended road trip. But first, they’re on the last game of a four-game home stand against the Indiana Pacers.

These two teams have faced off before this seson. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t count on the standings. How so? They played in the Finals of the In-Season Tournament and this was actually an extra game played by both teams.

The Lakers came away with a double-digit lead. The Pacers couldn’t do anything against Anthony Davis, who went for 41 points, 20 boards, 5 assists, and four blocks. Austin Reaves scored 28 while LeBron James had 24 points and 11 boards. Their three-point shooting was terrible (2/13, .154) but the Pacers were stifled overall from the floor (.368 shooting overall). If the Lakers want to get another one against the Pacers, they’re going to have to come out with that same defensive intensity. They did it against the Sixers last Friday when they limited Philly to 94 points.

Still, Tyrese Haliburton is going to be hard to stop. He had an exceptional November (28.6 points, 11.7 assists per game) but has slowed down on his scoring since. But he’s just a great floor manager and he’ll have his eyes on everybody. He continues to be the league leader in assists at 11.2 per.

Indy swung a spicy deal before the trade deadline and got themselves Pascal Siakam. Siakam is 30 years old, an all-star, and an NBA champion. A legit primary/secondary scorer is what the Pacers needed if they wanted to get to the next tier and Siakam can provide that.

The Pacers did lose talented Sixth Man Bennedict Mathurin for the season. But they still have Myles Turner, who is still an incredible rejector of shots. They also have Aaron Nesmith, who has grown into a real rotation player for the Pacers. And they have T.J. McConnell, Jalen Smith, Obi Toppin, and Andrew Nembhard for some depth.

Either way, this Pacer team is a little different from what the Lakers saw in Las Vegas. Indiana is 40-31 and in the Top 6 in the East. These dudes are going to run and try to get as many buckets as possible.

The Lakers can certainly match that offensively but I also wouldn’t mind if they try to ugly the game up like Friday. Still, the expectations that there will be points aplenty. But stops are needed if the Lakers are to win this.

L.A. didn’t have D’Angelo Russell in that game and we know what the new franchise leader in three-pointers in a season can provide. Again, the Pacers had a tough time stopping Anthony Davis (overall, the Lakers outrebounded the Pacers by 23 in that game). And can Austin Reaves repeat that performance in that In-Season Tournament final? The only thing that the Lakers need to cut down is, surprise, turnovers. They had 18 in that game while Indiana came away with a relatively clean 9 giveaways.

70 down, 12 to go for the Lakers. Well, technically, 71 down if we include the In-Season Tournament final that doesn’t count on the standings. Either way, another huge game by the Lakers. And it’s even bigger knowing that the Lakers are going to go on a road for 6 games after this.