The Los Angeles Lakers hung with the best team in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers, for the first half before capitulating in the third quarter and losing by a final score of 118-98.
In a season that is long lost at this point, the Lakers could take solace in the fact that new addition Kent Bazemore continued to impress. Bazemore set career-highs in points in his first two appearances with the ball club, but facing the best defensive team in the NBA was a different beast. Only, it wasn’t different from the kid out of Old Dominion.
In only the second start of his young NBA career, Bazemore scored 23 points in 39 minutes on the floor, both career highs. The Lakers are exploring the untapped potential of the 24-year-old who has limited experience in only his second season as a professional. Bazemore also added four rebounds, three assists and three steals to his stat-line, but he was hardly celebrating after the game.
“No individual milestone is more important than the team,” Bazemore maturely stated after the game.
Bazemore aside, the Lakers lost this game in the third quarter. After going into the break trailing by three points, the Pacers picked up the defense, and Paul George stepped up his offense. In the decisive third quarter, the Pacers outscored the Lakers by 18 points. George’s 12 points in the quarter were only a couple buckets short of the Lakers’ 16 points in that same miserable third period.
From there, the game got out of hand. The Lakers trailed by 33 points at one point in the fourth quarter, and the final score was a formality. Ultimately, losing by 20 points was a compliment.
From a scouting standpoint, MarShon Brooks continued to contribute off the bench with 11 points on the night. He was the only Laker reserve to score in double digits. On the opposite side of that spectrum, Kendall Marshall struggled mightily due in part to Bazemore's aggressiveness off the dribble. Marshall finished scoreless with four turnovers and four assists in 18 minutes.
The Lakers will have to quickly forget this game because their plane will touch down in Memphis before the sunrise. On Wednesday, the Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies in the 25th last game of this punishing season.