With 10:38 left in the third quarter, Caris LeVert picked up his fourth foul and headed to the bench. He had six points. Later, he returned to put on a show.
Starting with a three-point play at the 9:33 mark, LeVert tallied 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting in the final frame.
Trailing 87-85 with 8:15 remaining in the fourth, LeVert pushed Indiana ahead with a triple. The bucket began a run of eight unanswered points for the guard and gave Indiana the lead for good. He also added several more clutch shots down the stretch — an item missing from the Pacers’ offense for much of the season. He finished with 30.
Using LeVert’s contribution, Indiana (16-29) outscored the Los Angeles Lakers, 35-24, in the fourth quarter to secure a 111-104 win at Crypto.com Arena. It is the first road win for the Pacers since Nov. 22 and the first against L.A. (22-23) since Nov. 29, 2015.
“Honestly, I felt like that from the start of the game,” LeVert said. “I felt great. My body felt great. I felt locked in. The fouls were definitely frustrating. But my teammates kept me in it.”
Not to be outdone, Domantas Sabonis recorded his fourth triple-double of the season in the Pacers’ fourth road victory of the season. The big man tallied 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. In his first game back from a sore right Achilles, Malcolm Brogdon added 19 and six assists.
“What a night,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle stated. “(There were) a lot of great efforts out there.”
L.A. took advantage of Indiana’s slow start and raced out to an early lead. But the Blue & Gold kept on fighting. Coming in off the bench, Goga Bitadze provided a spark on both ends of the floor. First, the big man tallied two quick swats. Then, he finished Brogdon’s dish with a nifty reverse layup to cut Indiana’s deficit to 15-12 with 5:08 left.
Holding a 21-17 advantage, the Lakers quickly extended the margin to 15 using an 11-0 run. However, Indiana managed to chew into the lead before the quarter ended. Using six straight points from Chris Duarte — including a four-point play — the Pacers trimmed the deficit to 32-23 before the end of the period.
The Lakers used five unanswered in the opening seconds of quarter two to hold a comfortable lead for much of the frame. Indiana appeared to have a response, scoring six straight in the paint to cut the gap to 39-31. However, L.A. extended the lead back to 13 with 8:09 remaining.
Trailing 47-33, the Pacers put together another small run. After Rick Carlisle won a coach’s challenge, Torrey Craig fought for an offensive putback. The forward then drilled a baseline three on Indiana’s next possession. After each side misfired, Justin Holiday converted a steal-and-finish. The 7-0 spurt forced Frank Vogel to call a timeout with 3:49 left.
L.A. had a small retaliation, but the Blue & Gold kept charging. The squad knocked in seven more in 1:17 to cut the deficit to 52-47 with 1:19 left. Although LeBron James added a late dunk, Brogdon earned the final points of the frame. The guard flipped in a floater with 4.3 seconds left to cut the gap to 56-50 before halftime.
A 7-3 start to the third, including a Sabonis triple, brought Indiana back within two of the lead with 10:11 left. Yet, L.A. remained in front. With 6:46 remaining, Duarte buried a wide-open trey from the right wing, cutting the deficit to two again (64-62).
1:19 later, Brogdon dropped in two free throws to knot the score at 64. The freebies earned the first tie since 2-2 in the first quarter.
Finally, the squad earned its first lead of the ballgame after Holiday drilled a triple with 4:55 left. After LA responded, Brogdon finished a three-point play to give Indiana a 70-68 edge.
However, Pacers miscues quickly began appearing. Second-chance points, turnovers, and defensive breakdowns all aided LA in mounting a 12-2 run. The hosts led 80-72 with 1:41 left.
Though, Indiana regrouped down the stretch and cut the deficit 80-76 before going into the fourth quarter. LeVert provided the highlight, picking up a loose ball and slamming home a finish through a foul.
The Pacers fought back to tie the score at 85 with 9:33 remaining. Trailing 85-81, LeVert finished a three-point play, and Lamb added a technical free throw in the same possession.
From there, the guard provided the fireworks. At the 8:15 mark, LeVert nailed an open three to give Indiana an 88-87 lead. After James misfired, LeVert drilled another, extending Indiana’s lead to four.
But he was not finished. 28 seconds later, LeVert would add a layup to make it eight straight. Lamb then capped the spree with a transition layup off Sabonis’ 10th dish. It gave the Pacers a 95-87 lead with 6:53 remaining.
LeVert’s fourth-quarter total reached 15 after he sank a jumper off his own misfire with 4:44 remaining. The heads-up play pushed Indiana’s lead to 101-94.
Amazingly, he did not stop there. Matching a Sabonis trey, LeVert drilled his third triple to extend Indiana’s lead to nine. After James badly misfired a three, the guarded added another bucket. This time, it was a circus-like one-handed layup that banked high off the backboard.
At the 1:00 mark, he reached the 22 points in the frame with a pullup jumper. His efforts sealed the deal for the squad and avenged the tough overtime loss to LA on Nov. 24.
Inside the Numbers
Justin Holiday and Chris Duarte both finished in double figures with 11.
Domantas Sabonis notched a triple-double for the third time in his last seven games.
The Pacers outrebounded the Lakers, 48-40.
After allowing 32 points in the first, Indiana allowed 24 points in the second, third, and fourth quarters. The Pacers outscored the Lakers in all three frames.
You Can Quote Me On That
“We celebrated when we got to the locker room. It’s frustrating being in foul trouble…He’s resilient. He’s mature. He was locked in. Even when he was out, he was locked in, and finished the game for us.” –Brogdon on LeVert
“It felt good. I love this game. Before the ball was tipped, we got out of the huddle, and I stayed out on the court. (I was) feeling grateful for being back on the court.” –Brogdon on his return
“There’s been a lot of tough stretches this season. But this team stuck together. They really fought tonight. They deserved it.” –Carlisle’s takeaways
Stat of the Night
LeVert fourth-quarter performance fell just two points shy of tying the entire Lakers’ output in the stanza.
- In the fourth quarter, Domantas Sabonis appeared to have rolled his left ankle after stepping on Russell Westbrook’s foot. While he finished the game, his status moving forward is uncertain.
- The win snaps a four-game losing streak for Indiana.
- Indiana improves to 4-17 on the road this season.
The Pacers travel to the Bay Area to face Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 10:00 PM ET.
After a five-game Western Conference road trip, the Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »