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Game Rewind: Pacers 105, Lakers 102

Game Recap

The Pacers earned their fourth straight win the hard way, holding off the NBA's best team in dramatic fashion. Indiana (19-9) snapped a 14-game road win streak for LeBron James and the Lakers (24-4), handing Los Angeles a 105-102 defeat on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Malcolm Brogdon's jumper with 2:20 remaining tied the game at 100. Dwight Howard then was whistled for a foul jostling for a rebound on the other end, sending Myles Turner to the line. The Pacers' fifth-year center hit both foul shots to put the Pacers in front, but on the other end, he fouled James on a dunk attempt and James hit both free throws to tie the game once again.

Both teams traded misses before Brogdon came through. When the 6-11 Howard switched onto him, Brogdon blew by him for the go-ahead reverse layup with 36.4 seconds remaining.

After a timeout, James missed a step-back 3-pointer over Turner, but Rajon Rondo appeared to bat the ensuing rebound off of Aaron Holiday to retain possession for the Lakers. But after a subsequent replay review, the referees ruled that Rondo's left foot touched down out of bounds while he was touching the ball, giving the Pacers the ball with 11.7 seconds to play.

The Lakers fouled Sabonis with 10.7 seconds left. The Lithuanian big man hit the first foul shot, but missed the second. Out of timeouts, the Lakers pushed the ball up the floor but it never touched the four-time MVP James' hands, as Rondo hoisted and missed a deep three as the buzzer sounded.

While the Lakers were without All-NBA forward Anthony Davis, who missed Tuesday's contest with a mild right ankle sprain, it was an impressive victory nonetheless for Indiana.

"I think this is (our) signature win to this point, as far as opponents we've played," Turner said. "I think that we don't have anything to prove to anybody but ourselves. We know that we're a good team with potential to be a great team."

Sabonis led the Blue & Gold with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting and also tallied 10 rebounds and four assists. Turner added 16 points, seven boards, and two blocks.

The Pacers got off to a cold start on Tuesday, converting just three of their first 10 shots as the Lakers jumped out to an early 14-6 lead. The Pacers eventually got their offense on track, with Sabonis tallying seven points and reserves Justin Holiday and T.J. McConnell combining for eight in the opening frame.

But the Blue & Gold couldn't keep James and the Lakers out of the paint. James attacked the basket constantly in the opening quarter, either scoring at the rim or drawing the defense's attention enough to create an easy lob to a teammate. All 12 of Los Angeles' field goals in the first quarter came within two feet of the basket as the visitors took a 28-24 lead into the second quarter.

"LeBron was turning the corner and getting downhill and he's about as good as they get when he's going downhill and making that read," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said after the game.

Sabonis provided another spark in the second quarter, scoring seven straight points for Indiana, including a 3-pointer and capped by a thunderous, one-handed dunk that reduced the Lakers' lead to one with 6:30 remaining in the opening half.

But Indiana was unable to get over the hump, as the Lakers continued to make timely shots throughout the quarter to thwart every threat of a Pacers run.

Los Angeles led by two entering the final minute, when James drove and kicked to Avery Bradley for an open 3-pointer. Turner answered with a three of his own on the other end and then forced a James miss at the rim on the other end. Justin Holiday had two open looks at threes before the buzzer to put the Pacers in front, but missed them both, as the Blue & Gold headed to halftime trailing, 52-50.

The Pacers finally surged ahead at the start of the third quarter. Sabonis scored six points while T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb — both of whom went scoreless in the first half — added four points apiece as Indiana opened the second half with a 17-6 run to take its first substantial lead of the night.

With James on the bench, the Lakers made a run at the end of the third quarter, reeling off seven unanswered points to tie the game at 76. Aaron Holiday answered, hitting a runner just before the quarter buzzer to give the Pacers a two-point advantage heading into the fourth.

The hosts remained in front for several minutes in the final frame, but the Lakers surged ahead with a 9-0 run midway through the frame, taking the lead on JaVale McGee's dunk at 6:16 and extending it to four points after Alex Caruso's 3-pointer with 5:48 to play.

Four straight points from Warren tied the game at 95, but L.A. moved back in front when James drove and dished to Danny Green in the left corner for the go-ahead three with four minutes to play.

Indiana rallied once again, tying the game at 100 on Brogdon's jumper with 2:20 remaining.

"We were just poised tonight," Brogdon said. "Continued to make plays, continued to get stops, continued to not let them get second-chance points."

Brogdon finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Warren (12 points), Aaron Holiday (11 points and four assists), and T.J. McConnell (10 points, four assists, and three steals) joined him in double figures.

James led the Lakers with 20 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Howard added 20 points off the bench, going a perfect 10-for-10 from the field.

The Pacers will return to action on Friday, when they host the Sacramento Kings at 7:00 PM ET.

Inside the Numbers

Sabonis recorded his team-leading 23rd double-double of the season in the victory.

Indiana held the Lakers without a field goal over the final 3:28.

Both teams struggled from the free throw line, but especially the Lakers, who went just 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) from the charity stripe. The Pacers were 13-for-20 (65 percent).

The Lakers outscored Indiana 62-50 in points in the paint.

You Can Quote Me On That

"It means a lot to beat the best team, record-wise, in the league. They've been hot. We had to play good basketball tonight to beat them. Our defense made some adjustments and we started to get stops and establish ourselves." -McMillan

"We made big shots. I think we really strapped up defensively toward the end of the game. We trusted each other, communication was great and I think everyone was just bought in." -Turner

"LeBron is a guy you've got to meet with physicality. If you're not physical with LeBron, he will eat you all night. He'll go right at you; it's blood in the water. So with LeBron, I wanted to wall him off. I wanted him to know he wasn't going to bully me to start the game. So I'm going to bang with him and I was going to take an early foul, banging with him and pushing him hard just to send a message." -Brogdon on guarding LeBron

"The difference between winning and losing was made shots versus missed shots. Sometimes the ball happens that way." -James

"When you have a talented group playing scrappy basketball with great effort, you've got a chance to win every night. This is a great basketball team we're playing against tonight in their building, 11-3, short-handed, our guys competed their tails off and I’m very proud of them." -Lakers head coach Frank Vogel

Stat of the Night

The Pacers handed the Lakers their first loss all season outside Staples Center. Prior to Tuesday, the Lakers' only road loss came on the opening night of the season at the Clippers, who share the same home arena as the Lakers.

Noteworthy

  • Lamb left in the third quarter with a sore right groin and did not return.
  • Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson was active for the first time since Nov. 16. Sampson had been dealing with a sore back, but played in a rehab game in the G League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Monday and was cleared to return to the Pacers' active roster.
  • The Pacers have won seven straight home games against the Lakers, who have not won at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since March 15, 2013.
  • The Pacers and Lakers will meet again in Los Angeles on April 1.
  • Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel is 0-8 against Indiana. He went 0-7 as head coach of the Magic from 2016-18 and dropped his first game against the Pacers as coach of the Lakers on Tuesday.

Up Next

The Pacers conclude a three-game homestand by welcoming De'Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kings to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday, Dec. 20 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »