Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 118, Lakers 98
Scott Agness | February 25, 2014
The Pacers had 27 games to play in the regular season, entering Tuesday’s meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Beginning a stretch of four games against losing teams, including three that are at the cellar of their respective divisions, it’s an ideal time for the Pacers to get back to playing at an elite level and also work in their newest addition, Evan Turner.
After going 3-3 in the their previous six games, the Pacers (43-13) began a win streak, capturing their second win in a row by defeating the injury-depleted Lakers (19-38), who’ve lost six of seven and 13 of their past 16 games, 118-98 before the 18th sellout crowd of the season.
The Pacers took the lead 7-4 on an outside shot from George Hill, who had nine in the opening frame, and led the rest of the way. They used a 16-2 early spurt to skip ahead 18-6, their largest lead of the half. At the 4:34 mark of the first period, Turner made his Pacers debut and showed no signs of jitters, though he admitted postgame that he was a tad nervous.
He wasn’t shy about contributing, though, and he even connected on his first attempt — a turnaround fadeaway on the baseline a couple minutes later. He finished the game with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and six rebounds.
No matter playing a weakened lineup and on the way to possibly the worst season in franchise history, the Lakers hung around and were within three points as halftime arrived. Then, in typical fashion, the Pacers went to another level in the second half.
After allowing the Lakers to shoot 45 percent in the first two quarters, the Pacers locked in on defense, leading to offense out of the break. Paul George headed that mission up, converting turnovers into buckets, for 12 points in the period. Indiana hit on 58 percent of their shots, scored nine points in transition and closed out the quarter on a 17-4 run to take a 21-point lead into the fourth.
Indiana’s cushion swelled to as many as 33. With the game well in hand with over six minutes left, Pacers coach Frank Vogel was afforded the ability to rest his key players and let all 13 active players partake. Even the other newcomer, Lavoy Allen, who Vogel didn’t expect to play anytime soon because of his rotation being set, was on the court for the final three minutes.
In their 20-point win, the Pacers snapped a three-game home losing streak to the Lakers — the last one coming back on Dec. 2008. Turner seamlessly fit in and showed the team and fans alike how he’ll contribute on this team as the Pacers added another mark to the win column.
Inside the Numbers
A balanced attacked helped the Pacers to the victory. Seven players finished in double figures and Lavoy Allen was the lone player not to tally a point. Paul George dropped 20 points (7-of-7 at the foul line), had seven rebounds and six assists. David West posted his seventh double-double of the season: 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Lakers guard Kent Bazemore, acquired less than a week ago from Golden State, scored a game-high 23 points for a new career-best. Four-time All-Star Pau Gasol finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
As they racked up 118 points, one shy of their season-best output, the Pacers made 47 field goals on 101 attempts, both season-highs.
Indiana’s season-high 21 offensive rebounds resulted in 21 second-chance points, which tied its season-high.
The Pacers dominated the glass, 62-42, meaning the Lakers were outrebounded for the 17th consecutive game — that’s a new franchise record, per Elias Sports Bureau.
“These guys know when to turn it up. … It was kind of similar to a lot of games we’ve played this year. Feeling the game out in the first half and then taking over in the second half.” – Frank Vogel
“He’s a good basketball player. He has good savvy, good IQ, he understands his teammates and picks things up quickly. He looked comfortable.” – Frank Vogel on Evan Turner’s Pacers debut
“It’s always great to win. That’s why you play. I’m a competitor. It was great to win, man. I’m definitely happy. When you go through rough patches like we did in Philly, sometimes you appreciate every little one you get.” – Evan Turner on his first victory in nearly a month
“My teammates did a great job of getting me acclimated. They calmed me down a little bit and got me to the right situations. Once (we got) things flowing, everything gets easier.” – Evan Turner
“It’s real important. We went through a bit of a struggle last postseason with the second unit. … It’s going to be huge for us going forward deep into the playoffs.” – Paul George on the bench’s impact
“That’s been us all year long, a strong third quarter team. We wanted to get our hands active and cut down straight-line drives that we gave up a lot in the first half.” – George Hill on their second half play
Stat of the Game
Led by Evan Turner’s 13 points, Indiana’s bench contributed a season-high 50 points.
- The Pacers have won five of their last seven meetings vs. the Lakers and swept them for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
- Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen finished on the winning side of a game for the first time since Jan. 29.
- The Lakers were without Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Steve Nash, and Xavier Henry because of injuries.
- Andrew Bynum, who played for the Lakers from 2005-2012, said pregame that he isn’t close friends with anyone in their locker room. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Jordan Farmar are the only three players that remain from his days in L.A.
- Prior to the game, FOX Sports Indiana made a $20,000 donation to the Pacers Foundation in efforts to fund initiatives and programs for Indianapolis youth.
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