(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers vs. Pacers: 3 Things to Know (1/19/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers return to L.A. to face the Indiana Pacers.
1) Lakers have a lot of plugs to fill
Two starters are out. A third is questionable, as is one of the bench’s best players.
The Lakers will be without Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and will await news on the statuses of Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
L.A. has still failed to win without Ball active, falling to 0-8 in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Without their starting point guard, the Lakers have suffered on both sides of the court and in transition.
Meanwhile, Kuzma, Ingram and Caldwell-Pope are the team’s three top scorers in that order. Obviously, the Lakers will need others to step up to the task of filling the void left by whichever players are unable to suit up.
2) Randle’s on a roller coaster
Julius Randle’s last five games in terms of scoring: 22, 0, 23, 9, 16.
It’s been a weird week for the starting power forward, who has alternated between excellent and transparent when it comes to getting his own buckets.
Even his most recent game was a polar one, as he scored 16 in the first half, but went scoreless on just one shot in the second.
If the Lakers are missing three or four of their key players in this game, Randle will likely be called upon to provide some scoring. He’s certainly shown capable, averaging 15.5 points and 9.3 rebounds as a starter.
Look for whether Randle is aggressive from the get-go in this one.
3) It’s all about ‘Dipo
Victor Oladipo looks like a lock for Most Improved Player. Once written off as a bust, the 2013 second-overall pick is now 12th in the NBA in scoring (24.3) and seventh in steals (1.93).
Always a plus on the defensive side, Oladipo’s scoring leap for Indiana has been extraterrestrial.
Seemingly out of nowhere, he has shot 48.4 percent from the field and 40.6 percent on 3-pointers. He’s also one of the league’s three most efficient guards when it comes to scoring out of pick-and-rolls.
But his greatest value is out in transition, where he ranks second among all players in fast-break scoring (4.8), leading a Pacers squad that is third as a team (14.8).
The Lakers — who are second (17.0) — will have to commit to their own pace-pushing style in order to keep up without Ball in the lineup.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right Achilles tendon strain) are out. Brandon Ingram (mild left ankle sprain) and Kyle Kuzma (left hand fifth MP joint sprain) are questionable.
Pacers: Myles Turner (sore right elbow), Glen Robinson III (left ankle surgery rehabilitation) and Edmond Sumner (left knee surgery rehabilitation) are out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California