Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 10:30 PM ET at the Staples Center
Game Rewind: Pacers 104, Lakers 92
Scott Agness | January 28, 2014
In their final game before heading home, the Pacers were in Hollywood for the final time this season to face the Los Angeles Lakers, who are having the franchise’s worst season since moving from Minneapolis.
Playing for the fifth time in nine days out west, the Pacers needed energy, and Lance Stephenson had no problem contributing in that department. He helped the Pacers (35-9) to a third-quarter surge as they rolled to a 104-92 victory, their fourth straight win over the Lakers (16-30) at the Staples Center.
The injury-depleted Lakers, who recorded their 17th loss in the last 20 games, were without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. From the tip, the Pacers knew they’d have a huge advantage on the inside and they looked to exploit that. The Lakers are the worst team in the league at defending the paint, giving up almost 49 points per game, and thus the Pacers fed the ball into David West against rookie Ryan Kelly early on. West had seven of the team’s first nine points as both teams were efficient early. George Hill sliced through the defense for a layup, capping a 10-2 run that put the Pacers up by seven midway through the first quarter.
Down by three to start the second period, the Lakers pushed the tempo and took the lead multiple times, as it exchanged hands 14 times in the first half. The Pacers were active on the offensive glass and scored one-third of their points (nine) in the quarter on second-chance opportunities. For the first time this season, Indiana went into the locker room tied at halftime.
To open the third quarter, the Pacers went on a quick 10-2 run. Stephenson was key, not only playing with a contagious energy, but also slashing his way into the lane for points at the rim. Paul George, who missed 13 of his first 16 shots, drained his first 3-pointer of the game just as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter, putting Indiana up 10 heading into the final period.
Though he didn’t score in the final quarter, Stephenson didn’t stop creating for others. C.J. Watson tallied seven of his nine points off the bench in the fourth as the Pacers scored nine unanswered to put the game out of reach. One of the Pacers' key points to success this season is not losing back-to-back games. They prevented it tonight, earning win No. 35 by dropping a weakened Lakers team.
The Pacers will arrive back in Indianapolis early Wednesday morning and won’t have much time to rest and adjust to the time change. They’ll try to avenge their loss last week to Phoenix Suns on Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Inside the Numbers
Six Pacers finished in double figures and Lance Stephenson led the charge. With 15 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, and six assists, Stephenson posted his third consecutive double-double and 13th of the season. The Pacers are 12-1 in those games.
David West was an efficient 8-for-14 from the floor and had a team-high 19 points. George Hill had 13 & 7 and Roy Hibbert quietly recorded his 12th double-double: 11 points and 10 rebounds. Paul George had his third-worst shooting night (4-for-21) in front of a plethora of family and friends, but still contributed 14 points, five rebounds, and six assists.
With eight points tonight, Luis Scola now has 7,003 over his seven-year career.
Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks tallied 21 points apiece for the Lakers in the loss. Nick Young had 12 off the bench and point guard Kendall Marshall chipped in 11 points and 13 assists.
The Pacers set all kinds of new marks in the victory. They scored 58 points in the paint, grabbed 63 rebounds, and attempted 99 shots — all season-highs.
Indiana improved to 15-2 when topping the century mark, which they have done in eight of their last nine games. It was the 13th straight game the Lakers had yielded 100 or more points.
The Pacers had their worst night of the season at the free throw line, going just 15-of-27 (55.6 percent).
“It was a good way to complete a difficult and successful road trip by getting the last game and finishing 3-2. I was happy to see our defense return to form a little bit against a team that is really scoring the ball at a high level.” – Frank Vogel
“If we limit our fouls and turnovers, we’re tough to beat. Four turnovers offensively and only 16 fouls, showing good discipline limits areas where we think we beat ourselves.” – Frank Vogel
“A couple games we lost out on this trip we we’re fouling way too much, teams earning points at the free throw line. I thought we did a better job of controlling ourselves. We were under control and eventually we got control of the game.” – David West
“We told ourselves tonight that we were going to take care of the ball and play unselfish, and we did that tonight.” – Lance Stephenson
“It’s a successful trip. We wanted to come out with a winning record on the West and we did that. We wanted to win them all ... but we’ll take being 3-2 on this trip.” – George Hill
“We’re pretty much dialed in. We’ve got to be able to accept nights where we’re not going to play well and use those games to get better moving forward. But as an assessment of where we’re at right now, I think we’re moving steady.” – Paul George
Stat of the Game
The Pacers turned the ball over just four times, one in each quarter, for a new season-low.
- The Pacers have won the last four meetings against the Lakers at the Staples Center.
- The Lakers announced during the game that star Kobe Bryant still had pain and swelling in his left knee and would be re-examined in about three weeks.
- Hall-of-Famer and Pacers legend Reggie Miller sat courtside to watch his former team.
- Both teams wore red "Year of the Horse" shooting shirts to commemorate the Chinese New Year.