LOS ANGELES — The Indiana Pacers didn’t play up to their standards during a five-game road trip, but they were pleased to close the trek on a high note.
Shaking off a sluggish first half, the Pacers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 104-92 at Staples Center on Tuesday night.
“We could have played better, but I’m happy overall,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said of the road swing, which produced a 3-2 mark. “We feel like we should win every game we play. That’s our mindset. We’re good enough to come in and expect to win every game we play. Every time we lose, we’re highly disappointed.”
Six Indiana players scored in double figures, led by forward David West, who had 19 points and eight rebounds. Guard Lance Stephenson scored 15 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out six assists. Forward Paul George finished with 14 points but experienced a rough night shooting, missing 17 of his 21 shots. He went 1-for-6 on 3-point attempts.
“Sometimes, you have those type of games when you’re sluggish. You go in after the first half, watch film and see what you did and correct,” said Stephenson, who hit six of nine shots from the floor but just three of nine free throws. “(The Lakers) were pushing it and making plays for each other, making shots. Coach told us to be aggressive and push it on the break. We did that.”
The win allowed the Pacers (35-9) to bounce back from a disappointing 109-96 road loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
The Lakers (16-30) suffered to their fifth consecutive defeat and their 17th in the past 20 games. Indiana won its fourth in a row against the Lakers at Staples.
“The Pacers became the Pacers. They played well,” Los Angeles coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Forward Pau Gasol and guard Jodie Meeks led the Lakers with 21 points each. Gasol also grabbed 13 rebounds, but he left the contest late with a strained grown. His status for Friday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats was unknown.
Regardless, Gasol couldn’t prevent the inevitable in the second half.
“They picked up their intensity a little bit, and we didn’t exactly match it early on in the third quarter, and they got away from us,” Meeks said. “Against a good team like that, it’s hard to come back. They’re a good team. You’ve got to give them credit.”
Point guard Kendall Marshall had 11 points and 13 assists for Los Angeles.
The Lakers were coming off a seven-game, 11-day road trip in which they finished 2-5. They stayed close to the Pacers, who own the NBA’s best record, until midway through the third quarter.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair with 14 lead changes before the teams went to the locker rooms tied at 49. The Pacers were tied at intermission for the first time this season.
Indiana began to create some operating room in the third, outscoring the Lakers 30-20 for a 79-69 lead after a 3-pointer by George ended the quarter. Stephenson scored 10 points in the third on 4-of-5 shooting.
The Lakers pulled within 84-77 after a 3-pointer by Meeks with 9:31 remaining in the game, but the Pacers responded with a 9-0 run for a 93-77 advantage after a layup by forward Luis Scola with 7:26 left. Indiana had little trouble with Los Angeles the rest of the way.
“They started hitting some of those shots that they were missing in the second half,” Marshall said. “We started missing some of them. I felt like we were getting good looks and some of them just weren’t falling.”
Indiana hit just 42.4 percent of its shots, but it limited Los Angeles to 39.4 percent shooting.
Vogel said, “We didn’t have a good shooting night. We forced shots a little bit (and) we were a little bit out of sync.”
NOTES: Lakers G Kobe Bryant will miss at least three more weeks because of continued pain and swelling in his fractured left knee, the club announced Tuesday night. Bryant was examined by team physician Steve Lombardo prior to Tuesday’s game. He will be re-evaluated again in about three weeks. … The Pacers are 12-1 when G Lance Stephenson records a double-double. … The Lakers handed out bobbleheads in honor of the late owner Jerry Buss, who would have celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday. Buss died on Feb. 18, 2013. … Los Angeles hosts the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday before heading out for a three-game swing through Minnesota, Cleveland and Philadelphia. … The Pacers return home for a three-game homestand that begins Friday against the Phoenix Suns.
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