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The Indiana Pacers earned their third win in a row with a 136-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Indiana built a 23-point halftime lead and never relented for an easy win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse thanks to 22 points and four blocks from Myles Turner. The team also finished 19-of-34 from three-point range in what became a shooting clinic.
After a mini-slump following Victor Oladipo’s injury, the Pacers are back on track with a 35-19 record.
Meanwhile, it was a historic loss for the Lakers:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
The Lakers’ 42-point loss was the worst by a LeBron James team in a game that LeBron played.
The Lakers have lost 11 games by 40+ points in franchise history. 7 of those 11 losses have come since 2014. https://t.co/wUM62QelSP
LeBron James finished with 18 points and nine assists in his second game back from a groin injury and became the fifth player in NBA history to reach 32,000 points. However, the Lakers continued to slide, falling to 27-27. It’s the first time they aren’t above .500 since they started 6-6.
Anthony Davis Rumors Destroyed Lakers’ Chemistry to Point of No Return
The Lakers have spent the past week trying to land Anthony Davis, seemingly offering everyone on the roster besides James.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma were the centerpieces of a deal, with Ivica Zubac and Josh Hart also considered.
However, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the team pulled out of negotiations with the New Orleans Pelicans because of “outrageous” demands. They still have two days to complete a trade, but a move is less certain than it seemed.
This is bad for the Lakers, not only because they won’t get a superstar to pair with LeBron but also because of the tension in the locker room created by the rumors.
The trade chatter is impossible to avoid, especially when Pacers fans were chanting this at Ingram:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
🗣:”Bron’s gonna trade you”
Pacers fans being ruthless to BI https://t.co/QW7VTDRkKm
Ingram had his moments with 12 points, but the team was minus-31 when he was on the floor. Kuzma finished with 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
The effort on the court was especially bad, as no one seemed to bring any energy:
Brad Turner @BA_Turner
For an important game, the Lakers sure aren’t playing like it. No energy. No inspired play. They are down 42-28 in the second quarter
Colin Cowherd @ColinCowherd
Lakers look uninspired. Getting thrashed. Maybe it’s all the leaks to the media, letting the roster know, they are all viewed as mostly irrelevant pieces in a bigger game being played.
Dave McMenamin @mcten
The Lakers lose 136-94 to Indiana in a game they never led. No bother recapping the stats here. They didn’t come with any focus or fight.
It’s hard to blame the players who have been discussed as trade bait. Why work hard to help a team win if you will be gone by tomorrow?
If a deal doesn’t go through, however, the Lakers will be left with a host of players who weren’t good enough to win while James was sidelined. Those limitations have been exacerbated by the fervor created by the front office.
It will be difficult for the coaching staff and team leaders to get the squad to refocus.
Myles Turner Must Maintain Offensive Consistency to Keep Pacers in Contention
The Lakers seemed checked out, but the most important takeaway for the Pacers was the play of Turner.
The center has been dominant on the defensive end all season, and that continued Tuesday, as he recorded the four blocks.
He entered the day leading the NBA with a career-high 2.6 blocks per game.
More encouraging, however, was his effort on the offensive end. He finished with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting, getting a lot of points just by running the floor:
Indiana Pacers @Pacers
Thad + Myles on the run.
Tune in now to #Pacers at Lakers on @FSIndiana 📺 or streaming online 📱💻 https://t.co/guEiVpRjqr https://t.co/yck2kXVItZ
Turner also shot 3-of-3 from three-point range in just 22 minutes of action.
The 22-year-old scored 27 points last week against the Orlando Magic, but these types of games have been few and far between. In fact, Tuesday represented just his sixth 20-point game of the year in 49 appearances.
It’s clear Turner has the ability to be great, and with his skill set, he should be producing at this level almost every night.
With Oladipo out for the year, the rest of the team needs to pick up the slack. Bojan Bogdanovic has done his job and scored 24 points against the Lakers. Thaddeus Young also nearly finished with a triple-double (12 points, 11 rebounds and eight).
Still, Turner is arguably the team’s biggest threat and needs to be a consistent scorer if the Pacers are going to stay in contention in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with the Boston Celtics for third place in the East.
The Pacers will continue their six-game homestand with a matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. The Lakers will likely have their attention on the trade deadline that afternoon but will visit the Boston Celtics that night.