The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Indiana Pacers, 105-102, snapping their 7 game win streak. It was an ugly game, as the Lakers struggled to generate a ton of offense with Anthony Davis ruled out before the game due to injury, but even with the struggles on that side of the ball, the Lakers held a lead at halftime and hung around after the Pacers took the lead in the third quarter. Los Angeles rode a strong fourth quarter effort, but it wasn’t enough on the night. Their free throw shooting was abysmal tonight, as they shot only 8 of 17 from the charity stripe. With a chance to tie the game on their last possession, Rajon Rondo took the three. It did not go in. To say it was a curious play with the game on the line would be an understatement. The loss marks the first time this season Los Angeles has lost two games in the same month.
The Lakers really struggled to get anything going from the outside, as they shot just 8-31 (25.8%) from distance in the contest.
That Rondo 3 was the first of the game for the Lakers. They missed their first six
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) December 18, 2019
A big bright spot tonight for Los Angeles was the play of Dwight Howard. Going up against one of the best big man duos in the league in Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, Dwight was a huge spark, as he finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds, shooting a perfect 10-10 from the floor. It’s just another chapter in the revitalization of Dwight’s career, and his impact and chemistry with the rest of the roster was on full display tonight. He didn’t try to do too much and stayed in his comfort zone.
LeBron also did LeBron things, showing that he is indeed not washed, dropping a casual 20-9-9 line on Indiana, another team he routinely tormented during his 15 years in the Eastern Conference. It was good to see that he was able to carry such a heavy load without his running mate in Anthony Davis. Alex Caruso had yet another understated impact game, with a couple of timely buckets and finishing a team high +9 for Los Angeles.
For the Pacers, Sabonis was unguardable all night, ending with 26 points and 10 rebounds to go along with his 4 assists. He showcased every aspect of his game, and consistently made Los Angeles pay when he had the ball in his hands. Another big piece for the Pacers tonight was the play of T.J. McConnell. He hasn’t had a great year, but his energy off the bench was a nightmare for the Lakers, and did it all for Indiana, filling the stat sheet with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and a whole bunch of effort plays.
Up next, the Lakers take on the Bucks in perhaps their biggest test of the season, tipping at 5:00 PST in Milwaukee on Thursday.