LOS ANGELES — D’Angelo Russell wasn’t healthy enough to play Sunday, the latest in a string of absences for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

No offense to Russell, who has been on a two-month tear, but he wasn’t missed.

What You Need To Know

  • The Lakers defeated the Pacers on Sunday, 150-145
  • The point total is highest for LA since 1987 in a non-overtime game
  • Anthony Davis totaled 36 points and 16 rebounds
  • The Lakers (39-32) moved up slightly in the Western Conference standings and trailed Sacramento and Dallas by 2.5 games for seventh place

The Lakers supplied plenty of power on offense and withstood a fourth-quarter rally to edge the Indiana Pacers, 150-145, at Crypto.com Arena. It was the highest point total for LA in a non-overtime game since 1987.

Basically, anybody and everybody who wanted to score got their chance on Sunday.

“Offensively, we were very sharp,” said LeBron James, who had 26 points and 10 assists.

Guard Spencer Dinwiddie was the unofficial star of the game, seamlessly taking Russell’s spot with the starters and unlocking by far his best game since joining the Lakers six weeks ago.

Dinwiddie scored 26 points after averaging only five points in his first 16 games with the Lakers. He made two three-pointers, eight of nine free-throw attempts and added five assists.

Dinwiddie is a proven veteran scorer but has had to shelve that for a defense-first mindset after signing with the Lakers. He averaged 16.5 points last season with Brooklyn and, of course, still likes scoring whenever possible on a team with James, Anthony Davis and the red-hot Russell, who sat out Sunday because of a non-COVID illness.

“Don’t get it twisted, I love the sexy stats. I love scoring,” Dinwiddie told Spectrum SportsNet. “But you know what, it’s part of being in a team environment. Every game’s going to be a little different for me. I understood that when I signed here. I look forward to being a piece as we go forward.”

Dinwiddie’s scoring sacrifice since joining the Lakers was appreciated by at least one important source.

“It just shows what type pf player he is, what type of person he is to be able to adjust his game to whatever the game plan fits and needs,” James said. “Tonight, we needed him to score and be aggressive.”

Things got a little uncomfortable for the Lakers when Indiana shaved a 19-point deficit to only four with 5:33 to play. But Davis scored eight points down the stretch to ensure a Lakers victory.

Davis had another strong game — 36 points and 16 rebounds — but preferred to focus on the Lakers’ defensive breakdowns, including a 46-point fourth quarter for Indiana.

“We allowed them to score 145, so it was terrible defensively,” Davis said. “They hit some shots toward the end but we can do what we want offensively, as you could see tonight. But we’ve got to defend, especially when we’ve got a team [down] like that. We don’t need to give them life, but at this point in the season, a win is a win.”

The Lakers (39-32) moved up slightly in the Western Conference standings and trailed Sacramento and Dallas by 2.5 games for seventh place.

LA’s defense wasn’t entirely without merit. Indiana’s gifted young guard, Tyrese Haliburton, was not a factor and finished with only 12 points and 10 assists. But forward Pascal Siakam did plenty of damage for the Pacers (40-32) and finished with 36 points.

The Lakers now hit the road for a six-game trip that starts with a tough one in Milwaukee but eases up substantially after that with games in Indiana, Memphis, Brooklyn, Toronto and Washington.

Then again, LA is a mere 12-20 on the road, the worst mark among the West’s top 10 teams, so nothing should be taken for granted.


Facebook Twitter