The trek continues for the Lakers. Their fourth stop on this five-game trip takes place in Indiana where L.A. takes on the Pacers.
I’m sure the Lakers and the fan base would like to forget what happened in their first match-up. On November 28th, the Lakers held a 17-point-lead with 10 minutes to go. The Pacers slowly chipped into the deficit and, eventually, it was cut to two with 20.9 seconds left. After the Lakers used up the foul to give, Tyrese Haliburton found Andrew Nembhard for the game-winning three.
It was one of the many bitter pills the Lakers had to swallow this season. Now they’re hoping they could give Indy a taste of their own medicine.
It seems likely? The Pacers have lost 10 of their last 11 games. Indiana is now at 10th in the East with a 24-28 record (hey, same as the Lakers!). The aforementioned Haliburton has missed the last 10 games himself. Although currently listed as questionable, coach Rick Carlisle expects Haliburton to play. It just seems convenient that these hurt players are suddenly available for the Lakers. Gotta get up for them, I suppose.
Haliburton, as mentioned, got the game-winning dime. Overall against the Lakers, he went for 24-7-14. He’s certainly one to watch out for if he does come back to play this game. He’ll also have to battle a little rust but they’re professional athletes. This would be like riding a bike.
Without Haliburton, though, the Pacers have been very inconsistent. Buddy Hield had four single-digit games in the last 11 games; he had four of the same games before that. Bennedict Mathurin had been scoring more but his three-point percentage hasn’t been great in that same span (.279). It’s been even worse for rookie Andrew Nembhard (.196). But all of this may not matter because, like clockwork, these dudes might become the greatest shooters in the world.
I had mentioned in the first game preview that the Pacers don’t shoot the best from three but they shoot quite a bit. They still put up the 6th most threes (6th most made as well). So that volume can overwhelm the Lakers (who are last in three-point field goals made).
Other than Buddy Hield and T.J. McConnell (both 30), the rest of the Pacers’ core are 26 and younger. So it’s expected that they turn the ball over a lot (4th most in the league). So it would be good if the Lakers can make it chaotic. We know the Lakers are capable of that.
Most importantly, once the Lakers get the lead, they should continue to keep the foot on the gas pedal. Stomp on them while they’re down. Sucker punch them any chance they can get. When they’re up by 17, try to go up by 40. Don’t give them any sort of hope.
While the Lakers are good at transition themselves, they better keep up with the Pacers, who lead the league in fast break points. Indiana won that battle, 23-9, in their first game. They also won in second chance points. And we’ve been adamant about the Lakers crashing the glass all season.
Anthony Davis and Patrick Beverley are listed as probable while LeBron is on his usual questionable status. I’d be a little surprised if LeBron doesn’t play.
Either way, the Lakers have a chance to even up their road trip to 2-2. I would hope they’re a little more motivated after they were wronged by the Pacers at home last November. And they should be a bit more amped; they’re still in 13th place and four games under .500.
Time is running out on the season. Every game is important.