Lakers Stopped In Final Minutes By Scorching George
The Lakers scrapped all night long to work back from a 16-point deficit in Indiana, but Paul George had little regard for their efforts.
The Los Angeles native — who piled up 30 points, seven rebounds and four steals on the evening — was just about unguardable in the last two minutes, scoring the Pacers’ final 12 points to push past the Lakers, 115-108.
“He took tough fadeaways with guys all over him, and he hit them,” head coach Luke Walton said. “That’s what he does.”
L.A. (1-3) had finally broken through with 3:14 left when Jordan Clarkson’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim and Larry Nance Jr. charged through the paint, caught it mid-air and slammed it home for a 106-105 lead.
But George was just waiting to strike.
Out of a timeout, he was draped by Clarkson with the shot clock winding down, but nonetheless stole the lead again with a 20-footer. When Julius Randle answered with a dunk on the next possession, George made it happen again for the Pacers (2-2) with back-to-back baskets for a 111-108 led in the final minute.
George even provided some clutch rim protection, as Clarkson had an open look at a game-tying transition 3-pointer but elected to attack the hoop, where George went straight up and forced an errant layup.
“I should’ve shot the (3-pointer),” said Clarkson, who had 15 points. “It is what it is. It’s on me. I should’ve took that shot. That’s why I’m here: to shoot the ball and score. I’ve got to shoot that.”
George hit four more foul shots from there to wrap up the win.
“He was the only All-Star on the floor,” said D’Angelo Russell, who was one of several Lakers to try guarding George. “I feel like when you’re in that position, you’ve gotta feed him.”
Larry the Bandit
Poor shooting and an abundance of turnovers led to a 62-51 halftime deficit for the Lakers in what Walton dubbed the “worst half of basketball we had all season.”
However, the team rushed back with eight unanswered points out of the locker room to cut their deficit to three.
In the time between that and Nance’s lead-taking follow-up dunk, the sophomore made several momentum-shifting plays to help his team hang around.
Nance finished the night with 11 points, five rebounds and a career-high six steals, disrupting Indiana’s offense with his father — former All-Star Larry Nance Sr. — in attendance.
“With their offense — I was just trying to knock a ball loose, get a deflection, block a shot here or there,” said Nance Jr., who had four offensive boards. “I don’t know if it was a specific game plan, but I just wanted to cause trouble for them.”
Nance was personally responsible for creating two of George’s six turnovers, but the Pacers’ three-time All-Star was too dangerous, especially at the foul line, where he went 12-of-12.
Like George, Lou Williams stepped up in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 of his team-best 19 points. However, despite adding five assists, Williams wasn’t able to stop the Lakers from dropping their third straight game.
Mozzy’s Rough Night
No player had a worse time in Indianapolis than Timofey Mozgov, who left the game in the third quarter due to injury.
Mozogv was down for an extended amount of time after taking an unintentional elbow to the left eye from Jeff Teague. Minutes later, he was hit in the lip and eye by Lavoy Allen’s hand and was unable to shoot his ensuing free throws.
Mozgov said he received five or six stitches in his mouth and Walton relayed that he will undergo tests to see if there is a fracture in the area around his eye.
With his eye swollen, Mozgov said that he can see “but it’s not regular” and that he will not play in Wednesday’s game in Atlanta if his vision is not back to normal.
“He looks like he got in a heavyweight fight,” Walton said.
Randle finished with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds. … The Lakers were mostly able to contain Teague (nine points, six rebounds, six assists) and Myles Turner (nine points, six rebounds), who shot a combined 6-of-22. … L.A. shot just 6-of-28 on 3-pointers. … Officials had to keep time on a stopwatch in the first quarter due to a clock malfunction. … A crowd of 15,348 was on hand at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
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