LOS ANGELES — Before Friday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton gave a simple when asked which players he looked to have a strong showing.
“Everybody,” Walton said. “All of them.”
The first-year coach got his wish.
The Lakers snapped their five-game losing streak behind a monster second half and came away with a 108-96 victory over the Pacers, despite losing D’Angelo Russell to an injury in the first minute and 12 seconds of the game.
Lou Williams led the team with 27 points, while Julius Randle contributed 16. Nick Young and Brandon Ingram each added 15 points. Five players finished in double figures for LA.
Walton said after the game that the Lakers are at their best when the team plays well collectively.
“Honestly, that’s when we’re capable of winning ball games,” Walton said. “We have young guys, we have some good vets on the team. We don’t have a superstar that’s gonna put us on his back and carry us to wins. So we need full team effort if we’re gonna go out there and win games. Obviously we got one tonight and were able to win because of it.”
Russell went down with 10:48 to play in the first quarter after an awkward fall that resulted in an MCL sprain in his right knee. After being re-evaluated at halftime, the team announced that Russell also strained his right cal. He is scheduled to have an MRI today.
Walton said after the game that Russell told him he feels fine.
The first half went back and forth, with no team able to gain more than a five-point advantage. The Lakers trailed 53-51 after the first half.
But the Los Angeles came out shooting in the third quarter. Young and Ingram each made 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the frame and helped the Lakers take a 64-59 lead.
Then Jose Calderon got into the mix, giving the Lakers a 10-point lead on his wide-open 3-pointer off an assist from Young.
Williams’ 3 with just over two minutes left in the third gave the Lakers an 80-68 advantage and forced the Pacers to call a 20-second timeout. Young ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Lakers an 11-point lead.
The Lakers scored 35 points in the third quarter, while holding Indiana to only 22 points.
Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said before the game that his team would have to out-hustle the Lakers in order to win Friday’s matchup.
“Tonight, we gotta keep this team in front of us, force them to score over the top of us and we gotta limit them to one shot,” McMillan said. “They can’t win the hustle game. We have to win that game.”
But that didn’t happen. The Lakers out-rebounded the Pacers 47-32, including 16 offensive rebound for the Lakers compared to Indiana’s eight.
Williams gave the Lakers a 24-21 lead with a 3-pointer, but Al Jefferson answered with a 3-point play after scoring and getting fouled. Kevin Seraphin fouled Williams shooting a 3-pointer, and Willams made all three free throws.
Los Angeles built a 35-30 lead early in the second quarter, but the Pacers ran off six straight point to take a 36-35 lead and force a timeout with 8:18 left in the first half.
The Lakers trailed 49-44 late in the quarter, but a 5-0 run punctuated by Jordan Clarkson’s 3-pointer tied the game at 49 with 1:44 left in the half. The Pacers ended the half with a slight 53-51 lead.
Paul George, who attended Knight High School in Palmdale, finished with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Jefferson had 20, all of which came in the first half.
Larry Nance Jr. was cleared to participate in today’s full practice, and will play limited minutes in Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. He has not played since Dec. 20 due to a bone bruise in his left knee…Nick Young also left in the first half with a hyperextended left knee, but started the second half and finished with 15 points in 26 minutes.
Lakers: Will play the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Los Angeles is 0-2 against Dallas this season.
Pacers: Face the Utah Jazz today.