The Los Angeles Lakers trailed by 14 early in the fourth quarter before coming back to defeat the Indiana Pacers 112-111 on the road.
Los Angeles’ defense let them down early Thursday, allowing 35 points in the first quarter and another 32 in the second before going into halftime trailing 67-54.
The Lakers were finally able to hold the Pacers under 30 points in a 30-29 third frame, before their defense woke up in the final period and held the home team to just 15.
The road team didn’t claim its first lead of the game until LeBron James hit a 3-pointer to go ahead 108-106 with 2:35 remaining, but a jump shot by rookie Andrew Nembhard put the Pacers up by one with less than a minute to go. to play.
With the game on the line, Anthony Davis drained a decisive post over elite defensive center Myles Turner to retake the lead, and though the Lakers left the door open with a pair of missed free throws by Pat Beverley, potential game-winner Buddy Hield was out of sorts thanks to stifling defense from Beverley.
It was a gutsy comeback to give the Lakers their second straight victory, led by Davis’ 31 points on 13-of-27 shooting with 14 rebounds and two blocks.
Meanwhile, James was efficient with 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting, adding seven rebounds and seven assists. He is now 62 points shy of tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring mark.
For the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton enjoyed a strong comeback from injury after three weeks off the court, leading his team in points (26) and assists (12) after being named to his first All-Star team that the same day.
Jokic plays with the Warriors
Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic continued his march to a triple while dominating the Golden State Warriors in a 134-117 win over the Denver Nuggets.
Jokic finished with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting with 16 assists and 14 rebounds. In his last 17 games, he’s only finished with fewer than nine assists once, and no player averages more than his 11.9 assists in his last 15 games.
It was also another strong performance from Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, scoring 33 points on 12-of-23 shooting with eight assists and five rebounds. In his last five outings, Murray is averaging 27.6 points and 7.2 assists.
The Nuggets sit four games ahead atop the Western Conference at 36-16, while the 26-26 Warriors sit ninth.
Mavericks hold on as Doncic leaves injured
The Dallas Mavericks led the New Orleans Pelicans by 31 points during the second quarter, but ended up being pushed all the way in a 111-106 win.
Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic scored 27 points in the first half and reached 31 early in the third period before suffering a heel injury from a hard fall that ended his night.
The Mavericks led by 28 when he left the game, and since then the Pelicans closed out the game on a 50-27 run. They ultimately fell just short after a controversial refereeing error in the dying seconds robbed them of the opportunity to shoot for an equaliser.
It was the Pelicans’ 10th straight loss as they desperately await Zion Williamson’s return from his hamstring injury, as the Mavericks improved to fifth in the West with a 28-25 record.