Lakers Pace Themselves Back In Playoff Form

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Pre-Game Analysis

Today is an early one this Saturday morning for the Los Angeles Lakers as they take on the Indiana Pacers. There are playoff scenarios in today’s game for the Lakers as there is only 1 more game left after today. As of now the Lakers would be the 7th seed, and host the 8th seed Golden State Warriors in the play in game. However there is a scenario to avoid the play-in game as Mike Trudell explains: LAKERS PACE THEMSELVES BACK IN PLAYOFF FORM

Also the Lakers got some great news before the game as well. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Dennis Schröder are back for today’s game, and will not be on minutes restriction. Alex Caruso is also said be be available but will probably be kept out today for to get extra rest for his foot. The Pacers for today will be missing a plethora of their key players as Mike Trudell is also reporting:

This on paper sure looks, and feels like an easy win for the Lakers. But as as they say this is why we play the game. Let’s watch and analysis each quarter to see how the Lakers did today.

First Quarter

We are underway and the Lakers have gotten off to a hot start. LeBron scores the first bucket which is a welcome sighting. Dennis on the next possession and knocks down a 3 pointer. With the Pacers being injury riddled the game for the Lakers is unfolding for them offensively. Long as the Lakers keep their ball movement, and play great defense on the other hand this game could be a blow out at some point in the first half.

However for the time being the Pacers are not going away. They have gotten quality looks and made their open shots to tie the game at 8 piece. LeBron’s passing has made an impact this game so far as well. He’s gotten Andre Drummond easier looks at the basket, he’s given Anthony Davis an easy lob to connect on, and also gotten open 3 points for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. LeBron himself is looking spry is and is safe to say is back after he just emphatically finished a lob.

Pacers call timeout after a Lakers run and halfway through the quarter Lakers lead 15-11.

As play resumes and more than halfway through the quarter the Lakers defense, and rebounding is shaky still. The Lakers are giving the Pacers open looks, and second opportunities which is making this a closer game then what it should be on the scoreboard. As gameplay resumes the Lakers let cleaned up their defense a bit in stretches and lead 36-28 to end the first quarter. Anthony Davis has been a monster scoring 17 points, 7/11 shooting, 5 rebounds, and a steal.

Second Quarter

With no interior presence for the Pacers the Lakers gave the ball to Montrezl Harrell to start the quarter for an easy basket. The start of this quarter will be critical for the Lakers as the 2nd unit with the only starter Schroder is in. Frank Vogel head coach of the Lakers calls a timeout due to the lack of rebounding defensively which has allowed the Pacers to get back in this game.

Coming out of the timeout the Lakers take a short lead of 42-38 with Montrezl drawing a foul on a 1 on 4 fast break. Vogel is not going to take any risks of this game being closer than what it is. LeBron returns to the game to reel in the reigns a bit and give the Lakers more stability at the point guard position. Halfway through the second quarter and the Lakers are seemingly sail smoothing now. LeBron presence has restored order as the now lead 49-40.

However Caris LeVert for the Pacers will not let his team go down without a fight. Caris went on a 6-0 run himself to cut the lead to 3. Vogel has put Davis, and Drummond back in the game to help on boards to finish this first half. Will see if that can be accomplished by the duo of big men. Since he’s been inserted back in the game Anthony Davis and slowed the game down drawn some fouls and has converted at the free throw line.

Lakers are starting to get it rolling to end the quarter. LeBron, Davis, and Drummond are exerting their will now. However that 10 point lead quickly dwindled cause once again Caris is carrying the Pacers offensively. The score at halftime is 64-56 Lakers lead.

Halftime Notes

Looking at the Lakers from a physical standpoint. They are looking great, and finally for once healthy. LeBron is back to his old form, Davis is aggressive and dominating the paint, and lastly Drummond has looked better than ever in a fully healthy Lakers starting lineup. Anthony Davis is the story so far scoring 22 points 7/11 shooting, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 assists.

Key notes for the second half will be points in the paint for the Lakers since Pacers are missing lot’s of players. And lastly the fast break points will be a huge factor for the Lakers as well if the Lakers defense can be better, and create easy opportunities to score. Let’s tune in now for the second half

Third Quarter

The start of this quarter has not gone the way the Lakers have envisioned. The Pacers start the quarter on a 7-0 run and cut the lead again down to 3 points. The Lakers have missed open looks to start the quarter, and the Pacers have made some difficult shots. With the Pacers on the heels of of the Lakers LeBron, and Davis countered with a run of their and it is now a game of runs.

Halfway through the quarter the Lakers lead 78-74. The story of this quarter has been Justin Holiday of the Indiana Pacers. Holiday is cooking offensively scoring 8 points this quarter, and is giving LeVert the help he needs to make this a competitive game without their key players. Talen Horton-Tucker comes in the game for Schroder and hits a 3. The Lakers defense has picked it up a bit forcing two backcourt violations, and easy fast breaks the Lakers now extend their lead back to 11 points 86-75.

This quarter the Lakers have done a good job attacking the paint which has created opportunities for wide open 3s which that have converted on as well. The Lakers defense this game continues to be shaky and is not the typical Lakers defense we are use to seeing. If this defensive performance is played against a title contender it would be a rude awakening for the Lakers.

The quarter is over and the Lakers lead 96-88. The defense is certaintly going to have to pick it up for a good stretch to secure a win today for the Lakers. Let’s see how the 4th quarter goes.

Fourth Quarter

The Lakers rotation to start the quarter is the bench unit all except for Schroder as it was to start the 2nd quarter. Kyle Kuzma has started the quarter on fire hitting two 3s and extends the lead to 14. The focus to start this quarter from this Lakers unit has been lackadaisical after those two 3s by Kuzma. Committed two turnovers on back to back possession. This upcoming stretch will decide if we see LeBron, or Davis comeback again in this game.

Halfway through this quarter and the Lakers have still maintain their 14 point lead with this bench unit. I’m going to assume just to get the starters some reps of playing time together will see the starting unit come in very soon for the final quarter. Frank Vogel calls a time out as the Pacers cut the lead to 11 which I say the LeBron, Davis, & Drummond comeback in to finish this game.

The Pacers have cut the lead to 7 points with 4 minutes left. The offense has gone stale on the Lakers as they have missed their last 7 shots. This has a feeling of a game that’s going to come down to the wire. Hopefully I’m wrong about this one and we’ll see what unfolds in these last minutes of the quarter. LeBron comes out and hits a big 3, and a floater to put the Lakers up 8 with 2 minutes left.

LeBron clutch efforts along with some free throw shooting closed out this game today. Lakers win 122-115.

Postgame Thoughts

The Lakers with the win today have given themselves hope to avoid the play-in game. The Lakers looked great today offensively today. LeBron had 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists. Anthony Davis had 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists as well. Dennis Schroder had 14 points, and 4 assists today as well. The defense today will be an issue for the Lakers going on forward.

Their defense at times was lackadaisical on the rotations, covering for one another, and the rebounding in the first half. Lakers will have to fix these issue quickly as they play the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow who will surely be tanking one will assume since they have nothing to play for now. Tomorrow will be a big day for us in Laker nation as we will be watching our game and the Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trailblazers.

Tune in tomorrow at 6pm PST for the Los Angeles Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans. Be sure to follow us on Twitter on @Real_Ajay_Virk and our website @thePeachBasket_ for your latest Lakers, and NBA News. Till then will see you soon.


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