Fri, 27 May 2022

Lakers chasing momentum vs. skidding Pacers

Field Level Media
19 Jan 2022, 07:55 GMT+10

LeBron James didn't have to offer any apologies after the Los Angeles Lakers' last game and that was a welcome development.

Now the Lakers will try to make it two straight solid outings when they host the struggling Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Los Angeles snapped a three-game losing streak with Monday's 101-95 home victory over the Utah Jazz.

The performance halted a stretch of 15 consecutive games in which the Lakers allowed more than 100 points. And it came two days after Los Angeles was pounded 133-96 by the host Denver Nuggets.

The following day, James took to his Twitter account to deliver a short message.

"LakerNation I apologize and I promise we'll be better," James wrote.

The Lakers certainly were stout in the final quarter when they outscored Utah 29-17 to rally to the victory. James contributed 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

"Our effort and energy wasn't where it needed to be in the Denver game, second half of Memphis game and the other game," James said, referring to losses to the Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings. "We weren't playing to our capabilities. As the leader of this team I was taking onus of that and letting Laker Nation know."

Los Angeles used just four reserves against the Jazz but they combined for 44 points -- including 15 from Stanley Johnson, 14 by Malik Monk and 11 from Talen Horton-Tucker.

Johnson was 7 of 9 from the field hours after being signed to his third 10-day contract. The 25-year-old, who is with his fourth team, also had five rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in 25 solid minutes.

"It feels good doing what I came here to do," said Johnson, who was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Detroit Pistons. "I came here to bring energy and affect the game in different ways. (Monday) was the day I was able to do it within the scheme and get deflections and be active. It resulted in positive plays. It feels good. We all put a lot into this. It's not just a wake up and do it."

The Pacers are experiencing a highly disappointing campaign under Rick Carlisle, who departed the Dallas Mavericks after last season for his second stint in Indiana.

The Pacers have dropped four straight games and 13 of their past 16. They allowed a season-worst point total in Monday's 139-133 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the opener of a five-game road trip.

Indiana never led against the Clippers and gave up 40 points in the opening quarter to trail by 13.

"Giving up 40 in the first quarter was a real killer in this game," Carlisle said. "We're going to have to do a better job at the beginning of the game, particularly defensively."

Seven Pacers scored in double digits. Caris LeVert led the way with 26 points while rookie Chris Duarte added 24 on 10-of-14 shooting.

"I'm just letting the game come to me," Duarte said. "We did a lot of good things out there. We played fast, we moved the ball well in (stretches), and we made a good run. So, that all helps."

Domantas Sabonis recorded 19 points and 11 rebounds for his 31st double-double of the campaign.

Myles Turner sat out against the Clippers and on Tuesday the team revealed he has a stress reaction in his left foot and will miss at least two weeks.

Malcolm Brogdon (right Achilles) hopes to return after a two-game absence.

The Lakers have won the past three meetings, including a 124-116 overtime victory on Nov. 24 in Indianapolis. James scored 39 points, including nine points in the fourth quarter and eight in OT.

--Field Level Media

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