The Los Angeles Lakers will look to improve on their 24-3 record when they travel to take on the Indiana Pacers (18-9) on Tuesday night. The Lakers find themselves in the midst of yet another long win streak, and hope to win their sixth consecutive game against an Eastern Conference foe on the season, as their only loss to a team from the East remains their November defeat to Toronto.
The Pacers have been more than respectable despite missing All-Star guard and All-World Singer Victor Oladipo, who is still recovering from the gruesome knee injury he suffered in a matchup with Toronto last January. Helping keep the Pacers afloat in his absence has been Domantas Sabonis (averaging 17.7 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists) and Malcolm Brogdon (19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game). Brogdon, the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year, was acquired this offseason in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. He has brought his game to another level, improving in every category outside of three point percentage. Sabonis is one of the better passing bigs in the league, and will cause the Lakers problems with his versatile offensive game.
The Pacers don’t play traditionally “beautiful” basketball, but they are a nightmare to play. They take care of the basketball (fifth in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio and seventh in turnovers per game), and they play staunch defense (fifth in the league in defensive rating). The Pacers also sit at sixth in the league in field goal percentage. They kill you with efficiency and make you pay for your mistakes.
It will be interesting to see how Frank Vogel counters the Pacers, as they like to go big with Myles Turner and Sabonis sharing the floor. Whether Vogel decides to match them with Anthony Davis/JaVale McGee/Dwight Howard or counter them with a small ball lineup will likely go a long way to determining who wins this game. The Lakers need to be careful and not look ahead to their looming matchup with Milwaukee on Thursday. The Pacers remain a tough test, and Los Angeles will need to give them their full attention if they want to walk out of Indiana with a win.