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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Pacers – Game 53

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (25-28) | Indiana Pacers (24-29)


The Lake Show fell behind early but rallied in the end to defeat the Indiana Pacers 112-111


Lakers vs Pacers
Photo Credit: A.J. Mast/NBAE/Getty Images

Tyrese Haliburton missed the last ten games for the Pacers but returned to play the Lakers because, of course, every star nowadays does. In other news, Scotty Pippen Jr. will be the first Lakers player since 2019 to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Darvin Ham told reporters that it’s “definitely” possible that Austin Reaves could play against New Orleans. In contrast, Patrick Beverley (left knee soreness), Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury), and LeBron James (left ankle soreness) were available at Indiana.

The Lakers’ starters in Indiana were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Rui Hachimura, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. It was surprising to see Ham stick with Pat Bev in the starting lineup, despite Lonnie Walker’s return and with the solid play from Troy Brown Jr., but we’ll see if that stays the same when Reaves is back to 100%.

The first two and a half minutes were just flat-out sloppy for the Lake Show. Beverley passed up a wide-open layup, Schroder threw an errant pass over James’ head, and they just couldn’t get a shot to fall. Luckily, the Pacers weren’t faring much better.

Eventually, both teams would wake up and pick up their pace along with their play. With 7:10 left in the first quarter, the Pacers held a 12-9 lead off back-to-back three-pointers from Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton was announced to be an All-Star reserve before the game had tipped off.

Indiana began to pull away, though, as the Lake Show needed a timeout after suffering a 15-7 run, where the Pacers put on a barrage of threes, with two of them coming from Aaron Nesmith. Amidst the run, it was learned that AD would not be an All-Star reserve. It’s deflating. However, Davis has missed well over 20 games already this season, and that more than likely played a big part in the snub.

It wasn’t a solid first quarter for the Lakers, who trailed by as many as 12 but managed to cut the margin to five at 35-30 after 12 minutes. LA’s bench went for 14 points to help close the gap.

Entering the second quarter, King James looked a bit sprier on defense than usual, while on the offensive end, he casually drained a fadeaway turnaround jumper. However, that’s been in his bag since his second stint with Cleveland.

However, the Lake Show couldn’t catch a break, as they suffered another 7-0 Pacers run. It looked like the drought would’ve continued had Ham not called a timeout, and after regrouping, AD had a floater fall that ended the run.

Bron was lining up a chase-down block, but Haliburton made a perfect behind-the-back pass that led to a three-pointer, smart for Hali to recognize that the king was trailing. That takes high-court awareness.

Hachimura messed up and fouled Nesmith on a three-point shot, which is always a bad look as it’s almost elementary to never foul someone beyond the arc, but the latter made him pay for it as he made the shot and converted on the four-point play.


At halftime, the score read Pacers 67, Lakers 54. Davis led LA with 17 points and six rebounds. James had 11 points. Four of the Lakers’ five starters have double-digit negative plus-minuses. Indiana was outshooting LA at the three-point line by a significant margin (12-22 for Indiana and 2-8 for LA).


Lakers vs Pacers
Photo Credit: A.J. Mast/NBAE/Getty Images

A layup from Hachi had the scoring started in the second half. Nesmith was 7-9 for the Pacers, totaling 19 points to lead them, with his two buckets being all Indiana had managed in the third quarter against a 12-4 Lakers run that had the deficit down to just five. However, after a timeout, the Lake Show lost their touch and fell behind again at 77-70 with 7:30 left in the third quarter.

Two straight fouls on Myles Turner, who had 18 points and 12 boards in 24 minutes, sent him to the bench with 4:22 left in the third quarter. Despite that, Haliburton continued to dice up LA’s defense, with 23 points and eight assists, as Indiana led 88-76.

Russell Westbrook wasn’t doing much to propel the Lake Show, as he shot a three, which was unsurprisingly off, and then he goaltended on the defensive end. It also didn’t help that he was 2-10 from the field and 0-4 from three. Isaiah Jackson only made it worse when he rejected Westbrook’s shot off the glass. Hachi was doing his best to take over and give the Lakers a chance to steal the game, but it may have been too little too late, as he only had seven points on 3-8 FGs. 

With 7:04 remaining in regulation, Indiana still led 101-95, even after LA had shot out to a 12-5 run to begin the fourth quarter. Haliburton would ensure that the Pacers kept a cushion as he drilled a three in transition. The first time All-Star was in the moment, and the Lake Show were his victim.

The Lakers were 6-12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and 20-27 for the game but were still within four after an AD dunk. They were also getting stops on the other end, which led to a three from who else but Pat Bev, who cut the lead to one. Beverley was high on emotions and made a tremendous defensive play, but the referees called it a foul. Ham challenged the call and was successful. The call was still destructive, as Beverley would’ve taken the lead off of that steal.

King James would step up and hit a three to take the lead for the Lake Show. However, it’d be Hield who answered with a three of his own. Despite having many chances, Bron was bailed out as he drew a foul. James made both free throws, and AD made a tough fallaway jumper to retake the lead at 112-111. 

With just 10.3 seconds left, Indiana went directly to Haliburton, who Beverley fouled at first, and then stripped him the second time, with the ball falling out of bounds. On the third try, the Pacers went to Hield, but he got trapped on the baseline by the Lake Show and had to jack up a terrible shot. The Lakers came from behind and prevailed over the Pacers 112-111.


Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Pacers
Photo Credit: Michael Conroy/AP

Thanks to their defense in the fourth quarter (Indiana shot 6-22 FGs), the Lakers survived despite missing eight free throws after making 14-15 through the first three quarters. Davis totaled 31 pts, 14 rebounds, and two blocks. King James had 26 points (11-19 FGs), seven rebounds, and seven assists. Thomas Bryant and Westbrook combined for 21 points off the bench. However, the latter shot 2-16 from the field and 0-5 from three.

Haliburton did his best with 26 points and 12 assists. Nesmith exploded for 24 points (9-12 FGs, 5-8 3FGs). Turner had 20 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks. Hield had 14 points and five rebounds. TJ McConnell had 11 points and four assists off the bench.

James on Davis, “AD can guard everyone in this league. We feel real confident that if we decide to go to a switch package that he can. AD did a great job of being able to contain Haliburton and get the ball.”

You know he’s back there to contest; sometimes he may not block, that allows us to get on the break, run, and it’s big for us,” Russ told reporters about AD.

Davis told reporters that he didn’t find out he didn’t make the All-Star team until Mike Trudell asked him about it postgame, “I get to go on a vacation with my three kids and my wife. That’s how I look at it.”

King James is now 63 points from surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for No. 1 on the all-time scoring list.


The Lakers will now take on the New Orleans Pelicans. They’ll face off on Saturday, February 4th, at 3:00 p.m. PT at the Smoothie King Center. The game will be available on Bally Sports New Orleans, Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southwest, Spectrum SportsNet, and NBA League Pass.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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