March 20, 2018, 2:33 am
The Lakers lost to the Indiana Pacers 110-100 on Monday for their third consecutive defeat.
Los Angeles started the game off hot, outscoring the Pacers 37-29 in the first quarter. The Lakers knocked down 16-of-24 (66.7 percent), 5-of-11 from 3-point range (45.4 percent) and distributed the ball well with 11 assists. The Lakers’ frontcourt, comprised of Brook Lopez, Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma combined for 29 points, 13-of-18 shooting (72.2 percent) seven rebounds and four assists — their strong production would be a theme for the duration.
The Lakers played a mediocre second period, getting outscored by six to go into the half with a two-point lead. The third quarter was when the Lakers really unravelled, getting crushed 35-21, including a 14-4 run and falling behind by 12 points. Los Angeles was never able to get close after that point, eventually falling by the double-digit disparity.
The backcourt for Los Angeles, especially the point guard position, continued to hamper their chances of winning. Isaiah Thomas and Lonzo Ball combined to shoot 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) and 1-of-9 from 3-point range (11.1 percent). They also defended poorly, routinely allowing dribble penetration to their counterparts, contributing to an overall poor defensive performance. For the game, Ball chipped-in four points, eight assists, two rebounds, two steals and four turnovers — though he accumulated six assists, two rebounds and one steal in the first quarter. Over his last five games he is shooting 12-of-52 (23.1 percent) from the field while averaging only 6.2 points.
Thomas’s final line was 11 points, three assists and three rebounds on 14 shots. He has made only 5-of-23 (21.7 percent) while averaging 8.5 points over the last two games.
The Lakers’ frontcourt was excellent on Monday led by Kuzma, who finished with 27 points and eight rebounds on 10-of-18 shooting. Lopez added 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks on 10-of-15 from the field. Randle contributed 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one steal on 9-of-19.
The injuries to Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart have really hurt the Lakers chemistry and depth — their bench was outscored 30-13 in the contest.
The Pacers were led by Myles Turner and Most Improved Player candidate Victor Oladipo. Turner, who came into the game questionable, tallied 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a game-high plus-16 rating on 9-of-15 shooting. Oladipo contributed 20 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Thaddeous Young had struggled badly before tonight but the Lakers’ lax defense proved to be just the salve for his confidence and production. Young accrued a monster stat line of 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks and a plus-13 rating on 9-of-12 from the field.
The Lakers also proved to be healers for Darren Collison, who had his best all-around game since returning from injury with 15 points, four rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one block and zero turnovers on 5-of-10 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3-point range and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe.
Key Stats and Observations
-Neither team shot well from 3-points range with the Lakers converting only 8-of-33 (24.2 percent) from deep and the Pacers knocking down 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) of their 3-point shots. Los Angeles made 5-of-11 3-pointers in the first quarter (45.5 percent) before going ice-cold from that range, hitting only 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) for the rest of the game.
-The Lakers struggled from the charity stripe, making only 16-of-23 (69.6 percent) while Indiana was an almost perfect 18-of-19 (94.7 percent).
-Los Angeles only committed 13 turnovers for the night, well below their season average. However, they forced a mere seven turnovers by the Pacers, creating a minus-5 disparity in points off of turnovers in Indiana’s favor.
-The efficiency by the Pacers’ players on Monday really illustrated a lack of defensive effort by the Lakers. Another indicator was the lack of hustle stats as Los Angeles totaled only four steals and three blocks compared to nine steals and eight blocks for the Pacers.
The Lakers have two days off before they take on the Pelicans in New Orleans on Thursday.
Los Angeles hopes that Ingram, who is expected to ramp up physical activity this week, is able to join them for their next contest — his presence has been sorely missed.
The Pelicans are led by superstar big man Anthony Davis, who is averaging 28.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.4 blocks per game this season.
One thing the Lakers may have going for them is that New Orleans will be playing for the third consecutive night in a row — something that is extremely rare in the NBA and only exists due to make-up games. Los Angeles should have a significant advantage with regard to fatigue.