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Game Preview: Pacers at Lakers

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After dropping a high-scoring affair with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Pacers (15-29) will be back inside Crypto.com Arena on Wednesday to take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (22-22). This is the final time the Pacers and Lakers will square off during the regular season.

Hopefully, Indiana will replicate its offensive performance from Monday night. Seven Pacers finished in double figures against the Clippers, and the squad looked comfortable as a unit despite being away from home. The Blue & Gold totaled 133 points — one point shy of tying their highest total this season. The group scored 134 points in an overtime loss against the Washington Wizards on Oct. 22.

The Lakers' defensive stats could foreshadow another Pacers scoring outburst. The crew ranks 18th overall in defensive rating (109.8 points per 100 possessions) — 13 spots lower than the Clippers. LA has allowed 125 points or more to three of its previous four opponents.

Aside from Indiana's usual top scorers, fans saw Goga Bitadze post a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor against the Clippers on Monday. He drilled his only 3-point attempt, hauled in eight rebounds, and dished out two assists in 24:38 while playing off the bench. Bitadze finished +17 on the night, playing well in place of Myles Turner — who remains sidelined with a foot injury. Bitadze could need another big game again against the Lakers' veteran interior if the Pacers wish to pull out the win.

However, defensive changes are also a must if the Pacers want to topple the Lakers. The Clippers torched Indiana for a season-high 139 points, including 18 made threes. The Lakers rank three spots ahead of the Clippers in offensive rating (108.3 points per 100 possessions) and rely on the 3-ball an identical amount per contest (34.6 attempts). Of course, the squad also has to deal with James. Showing no sides of slowing down, the 17-time All-Star is averaging 28.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game this season. He tallied 39 points against the Pacers on Nov. 24 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Projected Starters

Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert

Duane Washington Jr.

Duane Washington Jr.

Justin Holiday

Justin Holiday

Torrey Craig

Torrey Craig

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley

LeBron James

LeBron James

Trevor Ariza

Trevor Ariza

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

Pacers: PG - Caris LeVert, SG - Duane Washington Jr.Duane Washington Jr., SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Torrey Craig, C - Domantas Sabonis
Lakers: PG - Russell Westbrook, SG - Avery Bradley, SF - LeBron James, PF - Trevor Ariza, C - Dwight Howard

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right Achilles), Jeremy Lamb - questionable (sore left knee), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

Lakers: Dwight Howard - probable (sore left knee), LeBron James - probable (rectus abdominis strain), Carmelo Anthony – questionable (lower back tightness), Anthony Davis – out (left MCL sprain), Sekou Doumbouya - out (health and safety protocols), Kendrick Nunn – out (right knee bone bruise)

Last Meeting

Nov. 24, 2021: The Pacers and Lakers produced a thrilling pre-Thanksgiving contest for fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Indiana went toe-to-toe with the veteran team loaded with All-Stars. Rookie Chris Duarte hit the biggest shot of his young NBA career so far — drilling a last-second three in the face of Avery Bradley — to force an overtime period.

However, LeBron James proved once against why he is considered a legend. James overpowered the Pacers in the extra frame, and the Lakers came away with a 124-116 victory.

LA took a 117-114 lead in the extra frame as James knocked in a trey with 2:51 remaining. He then hit another from 30 feet to extend the lead to six. Meanwhile, the Blue & Gold shot 2-for-11 in the extra period. James finished with 39 points.

Indiana held the lead for most of the night, but Los Angeles took control on Malik Monk's 3-pointer with 4:35 left in the fourth quarter. From there, a back-and-forth battle ensued. Both sides picked up valuable free throws on flagrant-1 fouls to give their teams a slight edge.

Trailing by six, Indiana made a last-minute comeback. Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Holiday contributed five points to come within one of the lead with 26.3 seconds left. After Russell Westbrook hit two free throws, Duarte nailed his miraculous shot to force extra time. The rookie finished with 17 points.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana has lost four straight road games against the Lakers dating back to 2015v.
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel coached the Pacers as an assistant from 2007-11 and as the head coach from 2011-16.
  • Tuesday afternoon, the Pacers announced Myles Turner’s injury was determined to be a stress reaction in his left foot. His injury will be re-examined in two weeks.

Tickets

After a five-game Western Conference road trip, the Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)