GAME RECAP: Pacers 105, Lakers 102

Domantas Sabonis leads a balanced attack scoring 26 points with 10 rebounds to edge the Lakers ending their 14-game road winning streak, 105-102.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 105, Lakers 102

Domantas Sabonis leads a balanced attack scoring 26 points with 10 rebounds to edge the Lakers ending their 14-game road winning streak, 105-102.
Dec 17, 2019  |  00:02

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 17, 2019

Dec. 17, 2019 - Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis speak to the media following Indiana's 102-105 win to the LA Lakers Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 17, 2019  |  02:09

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - December 17, 2019

Nate McMillan responds to the 105 - 102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Bankers Life.
Dec 17, 2019  |  05:18

Brogdon's Go-Ahead Layup

Dec. 17, 2019 - Malcolm Brogdon drives by Dwight Howard for the go-ahead layup in the final minute.
Dec 17, 2019  |  00:11

Brogdon Ties the Game

Dec. 17, 2019 - Malcolm Brogdon ties Tuesday's game at 100.
Dec 17, 2019  |  00:10

Sabonis Slams

Domantas Sabonis with the massive dunk.
Dec 17, 2019  |  00:00

Turner with the Block

Myles Turner Clears It Out
Dec 17, 2019  |  00:08

Sabonis Throws Down

Domantas Sabonis dunks.
Dec 17, 2019  |  00:00

Pacers Calmly End Lakers' Streak

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Dwight Howard's dunk off a lob pass from LeBron James had just completed a 16-4 run and pushed the Lakers' lead to five points. Only 3 1/2 minutes remained and the Pacers had neither momentum nor time on their side.

They did have Malcolm Brogdon, though, and that was enough. Barely enough, but still enough, to rescue a 105-102 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday that ended the Lakers' 14-game road winning streak and gave the Pacers a fourth consecutive victory in front of the loudest crowd of the season.

How big of a victory? The Pacers played it cool for the most part, collectively doing their best to treat it like any other one-of-82 wins and offered quick reminders they have another game on Friday. They did tip their hand a few times, though. Myles Turner, who was instrumental to the outcome, grabbed the public address microphone from interviewer Pat Boylan on the court after the game to offer a "shout out to all the real Pacers fans tonight," a reference to the usual high number of Lakers fans in the building. He also called it a "signature win" in the locker room, a fair assessment given the Lakers' record (a league-best 24-3) entering the game and the capacity audience it attracted.

Brogdon, being the presidential sort, tamped down the emotional impact.

"It's a great win for us; I wouldn't call it special," he said after the locker room had cleared of teammates. "They have to lace their sneakers up just like us. This is basketball, anybody can be beat. It's a really good win for us, now we're looking to our next game (against Sacramento) on Friday."

Don't blame Brogdon for failing to buy into a celebration. It was his steady approach that commanded the closing drive that moved the Pacers within one game of second-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference.

Coach Nate McMillan constantly preaches "the three Cs," and in fact wrote that slogan on the locker room white board before the game. In Brogdon, he has an ally and executor.

"When you're playing in games like this, against the elite teams, you've got to be calm, you've got to be clear, and you've got to be connected," McMillan said. "You can't be emotionally drunk out there. I thought we showed calmness, being down five, not panicking and starting to go off on our own. We were clear about what we needed to do as far as getting stops and how we wanted to attack them, and I thought we were connected on both ends of the floor."

Brogdon added another C to the mix — clutch — by making the key plays to bring the Pacers back from the five-point deficit. He hit a 28-foot 3-pointer with 3:17 left, a running one-hander from 15 feet to tie the game and, finally, a reverse layup with 36.4 seconds left that gave the Pacers a 104-102 lead.

Brogdon had picked up the 6-10 Howard for a defender on a switch at the 3-point line. After sizing him up while dribbling on the left wing, he darted past him and got to the right side of the rim to avoid Howard's attempted block. He had to put spin on the ball to get it through the hoop off the backboard and his momentum took him into the front of fans on the end line.

Brogdon had missed four layups earlier in the game, one of them blocked. He considered each one a learning experience.

Malcolm Brogdon, Dwight Howard

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

"Going to the rim, getting my shot blocked over and over, having to make an adjustment, I knew he was going to jump on this side of the rim, so I had to reverse it and hope he wouldn't time it," Brogdon said of Howard.

James missed his sixth 3-point attempt of the game after Brogdon's layup, Domantas Sabonis hit one-of-two free throws for the Pacers, and Rajon Rondo missed a 30-foot fling in the final seconds to complete the scoring.

Brogdon's line in the box score — 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting, five rebounds, and six assists — didn't stand out. But the example he set at closing time did.

"I know my team relies on me to make the play," he said. "Not necessarily to score the ball but to be the guy with the ball in his hands who makes the right decision. If you need me to take the big shot, I'm a guy who always wants to take the big shot.

"Coach McMillan is a calm coach. He stays very calm in the high-pressure situations. We try to feed off that. We were just poised tonight."

Not early on, though. The Pacers fell behind by 10 points in the first quarter as the Lakers scored 24 of their 28 points in the paint, with most of those coming at the rim on lob passes. The Pacers gradually worked through their defensive shortcomings, sacrificing some open 3-point opportunities to give more help in the lane. It wasn't foolproof, but it worked well enough as the Lakers hit just two of their final nine shots.

The Lakers also hit just 8-of-31 3-point attempts, some of them wide open. And they were downright generous at the foul line, hitting just 8-of-17. James, defended primarily by Brogdon, had his version of a bad game, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists while hitting just 8-of-20 field goal attempts and 4-of-8 free throws.

The Lakers played without their leading scorer (27.4) and rebounder (9.3), Anthony Davis, who sat out with a sprained ankle. They also were without backup Kyle Kuzma, who averages 11.1 points. But the Pacers have learned the hard way, over and over again, how difficult it is to defeat any team for which James dons a uniform, and none of the players were inclined to offer sympathy — especially Victor Oladipo, who watched yet another one in street clothes.

The Lakers, led by former Pacers coach Frank Vogel, remain a forced to be reckoned with. Neither Davis nor Kuzma will be out for long and James, despite his poor shooting in this one, seems as powerful as ever.

Vogel lost to James' Miami teams twice in the Eastern Conference Finals while coaching the Pacers, so he knew him well before taking over the Lakers this season But he's enjoyed getting to know him better.

Just the leadership, the support for the coaching staff and what we're trying to do, attentiveness in the film sessions...he's just really locked in to everything we're doing," Vogel said. "I won't say it's a surprise, but it's something I'm impressed with.

"As well as I know him, he continues to impress me."

The Pacers continue to impress as well. That 0-3 start is barely visible in their rear-view mirror now and they are 5-4 against teams that have a winning record today. The upcoming schedule is demanding, with games against Milwaukee, Toronto, Miami, and Philadelphia before the year ends, and they open 2020 against Denver.

Tuesday's victory offered more evidence they can compete with the best.

"We've grown so much so fast," Brogdon said.


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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