The Lakers won the first meeting the night before Thanksgiving, when LeBron led a second half rally and then closed out the Pacers in overtime for a 124-116 Laker win. He also had some heckling fans booted for offending him yet felt no repercussions for his big balls dance to celebrate, well, himself.
Despite winning a championship together in the bubble two seasons ago, the Vogel/LeBron pairing is under major scrutiny of late mostly due to the rest of the Lakers’ roster. However, the fall guy in this scenario will always be Vogel as recent reports have his status being evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
The problems seem more rooted in the oft absence of Anthony Davis and the bad fit of Russell Westbrook who teamed up with LeBron and the Lakers this year. But yeah, forget the players, it is always the coach’s fault. Regardless of the coach, the team will likely improve on their current .500 record if Anthony Davis can return for the remainder of the season at some point. Davis is recovering from a knee (MCL) sprain and has reportedly been clear to begin on-court contact work but without a return timeline. Basically, the TJ Warren plan.
The Lakers have lost three of their last four games, but posted an impressive win over the Jazz in their last game.
As for the Pacers, the beat goes on and in some cases, the beat down goes on. They have now won just one game in their last 11 tries and continue to have Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb listed as questionable with Myles Turner out indefinitely. Against the Clippers, that meant a deeper dive into the bench and quality minutes for Goga Bitadze, Chris Duarte and Duane Washington Jr. At this point, watching these guys get some minutes is more entertaining than seeing the regular starters struggle to click together and deliver the same result.
This is the latest tip time remaining this season, so it offers the ultimate chance to test your devotion to the Pacers and stay up for the final.
DraftKings Odds: Lakers -5, O/U 225 (latest DraftKings odds here)
When: 10:30 p.m. ET
When: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Bally Sports Indiana
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Duane Washington Jr., Caris LeVert, Justin Holiday, Torrey Craig, Domantas Sabonis
Lakers: Russell Westbrook, Avery Bradley, LeBron James, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard
IND: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right Achilles), Jeremy Lamb - questionable (sore left knee), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)
LAL: Dwight Howard - probable (sore left knee), LeBron James - probable (rectus abdominis strain), Carmelo Anthony – questionable (lower back tightness), Anthony Davis – out (left MCL sprain), Sekou Doumbouya - out (health and safety protocols), Kendrick Nunn – out (right knee bone bruise)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.