Monday Nov. 28 at 10:30 PM ET at Crypto.com Arena
Nembhard, Pacers stun Lakers on buzzer-beater
Indiana fans who stayed up for Monday night's game at the Lakers were rewarded with a thrilling late-night finish.
As the clock ticked past 1:00 AM ET, rookie guard Andrew Nembhard knocked down a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift the Pacers (12-8) to a 116-115 win over the Lakers (7-12) on the second night of a back-to-back.
Nembhard's game-winner capped another thrilling comeback by the Blue & Gold, who have made a habit of storming back in the second half during their stellar start to the season.
It came off the 13th assist of the night from star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who spotted Nembhard on the left wing after a mad scramble in the closing seconds.
The entire team mobbed Nembhard -- who just returned Monday after a four-game absence -- on the court in celebration. Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard even jolted from his courtside seat to join in on the fun.
The Pacers trailed by 17 early in the fourth quarter on Monday and were down by 11 with under five minutes remaining. A 10-3 run brought Indiana back within four as the clock approached the two-minute mark.
LeBron James drove, but was met at the rim by Myles Turner, who rejected James to trigger a fastbreak. On the other end, Nembhard drained a three to cut the deficit to 110-109 with 2:11 remaining.
Russell Westbrook and Buddy Hield traded baskets on the next two possessions. Westbrook then missed two shots on the Lakers' next trip down the floor, giving the Blue & Gold the ball and a chance to take a lead.
Nembhard missed a potential go-ahead layup with 47.8 seconds remaining. Hield and Bennedict Mathurin each had chances at a tip-in after the miss, but neither could get the ball to drop. In the ensuing scramble, Nembhard fouled Anthony Davis, who hit one of two free throws with 43.6 seconds to play.
Out of a timeout, Haliburton got to the rim and tied the game with 39.8 seconds remaining. On the other end, James posted up Hield and drained a hook shot with 20.9 seconds to play to put the Lakers back in front.
The final sequence started when Turner missed a three with 5.6 seconds remaining. The shot bounced long off the rim to Haliburton at the top of the key.
The guard drove right then spotted Nembhard across the court. He swung a pass to the rookie, who quickly got off a three just before the buzzer (with James closing out on him no less), swishing it as the buzzer sounded to stun the Lakers.
"It got back to Ty somehow and then it was kind of just like a broken play," Nembhard said of the final sequence. "They left me open. Ty made a good look, kicked it out, and I had to get it up quick."
Haliburton led six Pacers in double figures with 24 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds -- his sixth straight double-double. Mathurin added 23 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
But the hero of the night was Nembhard, who finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and two blocks, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
The entire team stuck around on the court to watch the rookie's walk-off interview with Bally Sports Indiana's Jeremiah Johnson, dousing him with water as the interview began.
"Low key, it felt good coming off my fingers for sure," Nembhard said.
"I'm really just so happy for the guys," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "This is a game where they really just hung in there and kept believing in each other and kept giving of themselves. And it amounted to really as good a win as we've had all year -- and we've had some good ones."
James had it going early on Monday night, scoring on a jumper, two free throws, and a 3-point shot on the Lakers' first three possessions as Los Angeles jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead.
Indiana then answered with seven straight points to tie the game.
James added another three with 7:31 remaining in the first quarter, but shortly thereafter appeared to roll his left ankle stepping on Haliburton's right foot and exited the game, eventually heading back to the locker room.
The Pacers surged ahead for the first time shortly thereafter thanks to an 11-2 run. Fresh off a career-high 23 points on Sunday against the Clippers, Jalen Smith led the Indiana offense with nine points in the opening frame, going 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Los Angeles, however, closed the quarter with a 12-4 surge to take a 32-29 lead after one.
James returned to start the second quarter, which proved to be a back-and-forth affair. Mathurin scored eight of Indiana's first 10 points in the quarter, drilling a pair of threes.
It was then Haliburton's turn to get hot. The point guard scored 10 straight points for the Blue & Gold, twice tying the game on two-point shots and then twice giving Indiana the lead on 3-pointers.
There were five ties and eight lead changes overall in the second quarter. Indiana led 52-51 following Turner's dunk with 2:31 remaining in the first half, but Davis' layup on the other end gave the Lakers a lead they would maintain until halftime. James found an open Dennis Schröder, who hit a three at the buzzer to push Los Angeles' lead to 62-56 at the intermission.
The Pacers hung close early in the third quarter, but a drought later in the frame allowed the Lakers to push their lead to double digits. Indiana managed just one point over a 4:07 span, missing seven straight field goal attempts over that stretch.
Los Angeles scored nine points over that period, with back-to-back threes by Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Nunn extending the Lakers' lead to 83-71. Their lead was 93-79 entering the final minute of the third, but Mathurin closed the quarter with a flourish.
The rookie knocked down a three with 28.2 seconds remaining in the quarter, then made a putback layup at the buzzer to trim the deficit to 93-84 entering the fourth.
The Lakers, however, opened the fourth quarter with eight straight points to extend their lead to 17 -- the largest margin of the night. That forced a timeout from Carlisle with 9:59 to play.
"We came together when we called the timeout...just understanding we've been here before," Haliburton said. "Just stay together. We preached all day just stick together through all these tough times -- whatever the case may be -- and have trust in each other. We had a lot of guys step up in the fourth quarter for us. Everybody contributed to this win."
The Pacers mounted a charge out of the break, with Aaron Nesmith hitting a three at 9:26, Mathurin converting layups at 8:34 and 8:12, and then Nesmith draining another triple at 7:38 to cap a quick 10-0 Indiana run that cut the deficit to 101-94.
After a timeout of their own, Davis ended the Lakers' drought with a dunk. They led 107-96 following James' layup with 5:12 remaining before the Pacers put together their final push.
Turner finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks for Indiana. Nesmith scored 16 on 4-of-7 3-point shooting, while Hield added 15 points.
Davis led the Lakers with 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and four blocks. Westbrook added 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting and six assists off the bench, while James finished with 21 points and seven boards.
The Pacers will continue their seven-game road trip on Wednesday night in Sacramento. It will be the first time Haliburton and Hield return to the city since being traded from the Kings to Indiana in a six-player deal in February.
Inside the Numbers
Nembhard's buzzer beater was the first game-winner at the buzzer for the Pacers since Solomon Hill's putback gave Indiana an 88-86 win over the Charlotte Hornets in Indianapolis on Nov. 19, 2014.
According to OptaSTATS, the Lakers were 347-0 over the last 20 seasons (regular season and playoff games) when leading by 17 or more in the fourth quarter prior to Monday. They were the only team in the NBA who had not lost a game under those criteria over that time span.
Haliburton recorded his sixth straight game with 10 or more assists on Monday, tying Don Buse for the longest streak with double-digit assists in franchise history.
Mathurin topped 20 points for the fourth time in his last five games and the 10th time in his first 20 career games.
Turner recorded his seventh double-double of the season and swatted three shots after seeing his streak of 33 consecutive games with at least one block snapped on Sunday.
Postgame Media Availability: Nov. 28, 2022
You Can Quote Me On That
"As a coaching staff, we implicitly trust these guys at the end of games to just play flow basketball and find the right shot...Tyrese did a great job, Myles got a great look, the ball kicked around and we found a guy that had fresh legs tonight...It was a joyous moment and you could tell that out on the floor." -Carlisle on the final sequence of the game
"The biggest thing we always talk about is that giving mentality and trying to be for the team. That when we give, that good karma will come back for us in the long run individually...That's the type of team we are. Obviously, we don't want to put ourselves in that situation, but good on us for sticking together." -Nembhard on the Pacers fighting back from big deficits
"Poised. Plays at a great pace, plays at his own pace, plays hard, physical. He plays both sides of the ball. Everything you could ask of a guy at his position." -Nesmith on how we would describe Nembhard
"I just wanted to be physical with him throughout the game. Just make his looks tough. I know he's a great player, great passer. We just wanted to try to make him take some fadeaways and I just wanted to play hard, really." -Nembhard on guarding LeBron James
"Just their confidence, man. They don't really play like rookies. They both have a high IQ for the game. They both have a love for the game and they work. When you bring that into your first year, you have wisdom beyond your years." -Turner on what stands out about Nembhard and Mathurin
"I'm just playing basketball. The assists (are) not possible without guys making shots. I pride myself on making the right decision and Coach is putting me in great position and guys are making shots making me look really good." -Haliburton on his high assist numbers
"You mean Jim Valvano? That's what he looked like. He looked like Jimmy V. This has just been a joyous group -- our entire operation starting with Kevin as the President...It's just a wonderful group of people and it really has a family feel." -Carlisle on Pritchard running onto the court to join in on the celebration
Stat of the Night
Haliburton has not committed a turnover over his last three games while dishing out 40 assists over that span. He is the only player since the ABA/NBA merger to have 10 or more assists and zero turnovers in three consecutive games.
- Nembhard returned after missing four games over the past week with a bruised left knee.
- The Pacers are now 9-0 on the season when six or more players score in double figures.
- Indiana is 4-0 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back, tied with Boston for the best record in the league on no rest.
- The Pacers have now won eight games on the season in which they trailed by double digits.
The Pacers continue their road trip in Sacramento against Domantas Sabonis and the Kings on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 10:00 PM ET.
After a seven-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Indiana to host Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>