Even without Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers continue to impress.
Indiana extended its winning streak to four games with a 105-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers are now 19-9 after Domantas Sabonis led the way in the first of two matchups with the Purple and Gold this season.
An acrobatic finish by Malcolm Brogdon gave Indiana the lead with 36 seconds remaining, and LeBron James missed a potential go-ahead three on the ensuing possession. Rajon Rondo still had an opportunity to tie it at the buzzer, but his three-pointer rimmed out.
Fortunately for the Lakers, they are still sitting atop the Western Conference at 24-4 even though their seven-game winning streak came to an end with Anthony Davis sidelined by an ankle injury.
The Pacers deserve plenty of credit for remaining among the Eastern Conference contenders without their best player, and they have done so with a balanced scoring attack and stout defense.
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Five different players are averaging double figures in the scoring department, and Indiana is fifth in the league in defensive rating, per NBA.com.
That balanced attack was on display again Tuesday with six players in double figures, but Sabonis was the best player on the floor for extended stretches.
He extended his game beyond the arc, showed off soft touch on mid-range jumpers, spun free of defenders on the blocks and took full advantage of Davis’ absence with multiple thunderous jams.
Though there are far worse situations than relying on James to carry more of the load on a given night, that is where the Lakers found themselves Tuesday with Davis sidelined.
Davis is an MVP candidate, the anchor of Los Angeles’ defense and James’ best pick-and-roll partner. But the King has done a little bit of everything this season even though he turns 35 years old this month.
He tallied a double-double in his previous four games and entered play averaging a career-high and league-leading 10.7 assists.
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