The Indiana Pacers defeated the Lakers at Staples Center the last time these two teams met, and the story was no different tonight as the Lakers fall again to the Pacers 118-98. This puts the Lakers in last place in the West with a 19-38 record on the season.
Almost all the Pacers starters tonight had strong nights scoring and on the glass. George Hill had already begun to assert himself by scoring 9 points in the first quarter, and finished with 14 points, while newly acquired player Evan Turner came off the bench to impress tonight scoring 13 points in the 6 rebounds. David West quietly had a double double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson followed closely with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Paul George, despite having a sluggish first half, finished the game with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, and threw down a few stylish dunks over some Lakers big men.
The Lakers put on a very impressive display in the first half by holding All-Star guard Paul George to shooting only 2 for 11 from the field, shooting 45% as a team from the field, and finishing the half with 11 total team blocks. Every Lakers player that dressed played tonight and they all showed great offensive energy and defensive intensity at the rim, especially toward the end of the half. Ryan Kelly had a solid block against George, pinning the ball against the backboard as he tried to go up for an easy bucket in the paint at the end of the half. It appeared as thought the Lakers would use that energy they had amassed in the first half to carry them into having a good third quarter, but once again, the Lakers were dominated after halftime.
At halftime, the Pacers were leading 57-54. After a quick score after a timeout with 6:30 left in the third quarter, the Pacers rallied to a 21 point lead at the end of the quarter making the score 91-70. The Pacer onslaught continued through the fourth as they brought their lead up to as much as 33 points. Frank Vogel demanded nothing but perfection out of his squad as he called a time out after the Lakers scored on an 11-0 run because the Lakers scored once. The Pacers controlled the paint tonight by outscoring the Lakers 50-42 in the paint and out rebounding them 62-42.
Kent Bazemore was the leading scorer for the Lakers with 23 points, and Wesley Johnson complimented with 15 of his own. Jodie Meeks and (surprisingly) Pau Gasol both had 13 points, but Gasol almost attained a double double with 9 rebounds. Kendall Marshall was surprisingly quiet tonight as he finished the game with 0 points and his assist to turnover ratio was dead even with 4 assists and 4 turnovers.
Kent Bazemore had a career night with 23 points. The Lakers continue their road trip with a game on Wednesday against Pau Gasol’s brother Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies. Nick Young to sit out the next game in Memphis with knee soreness.