If there was a team in the NBA that understands how useful it can be to have a superstar on the roster, it is the Los Angeles Lakers. For the past two decades, they had Kobe Bryant running around. Those days are long gone now. On Tuesday night, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Lakers by a score of 115-108, as reported by ESPN. A large part of that was because of the superb play of Pacers forward Paul George.
Los Angeles Lakers starters
On opening night, the Los Angeles Lakers picked up an upset victory over superstar guard James Harden and the Houston Rockets. That excitement died down rather quickly as the team lost the following two games.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton was hoping that the losses would have inspired his young roster to play harder. Instead, he got the opposite. In the opening half of the game against the Indiana Pacers, the Lakers came out without a lot of aggressiveness, something noted by Walton in his post-game interview. The first-year head coach knew that he needed to send a message to his players.
At the end of the evening, none of the Los Angeles Lakers starters played more than 21 minutes.
Despite playing just 20 minutes, Lakers forward Julius Randle still managed to put up nine points and 10 rebounds, but that will not be able to win over Luke Walton. Neither will the 10 points and six rebounds from veteran forward Luol Deng or the six points and five rebounds from center Timofey Mozgov. D’Angelo Russell managed to score 11 points in limited minutes, but the second-year guard missed seven of the 10 shots that he took.
Los Angeles Lakers bench
Luke Walton had no choice but to turn to his bench to see if he could salvage the game.
Larry Nance, Jr. received 30 minutes of playing time, something that starters usually get. The 6-foot-9, 230 pound forward made a case for more playing time by scoring 11 points, grabbing five rebounds, and collecting six steals. Nance, Jr. also had a block and an assist. His energy was much appreciated by Luke Walton.
Much-heralded rookie forward Brandon Ingram was not able to provide much of a spark in the 15 minutes that he played. Veteran forward Metta World Peace only played trash minutes.
Backup center Tarik Black managed to pull down eight rebounds off the bench, so he might have earned himself some more minutes in the next game. He also showed a knack for getting to the free throw line, hitting all four of his attempts there.
Thanks to the struggles of the starting lineup, backup guards Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson were given plenty of minutes against the Indiana Pacers. They combined for 34 points. Williams had five assists, but much of that was negated by the four turnovers that he gave up.
Indiana Pacers starters
Like a superstar, Paul George scored 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had four steals. The 6-foot-9, 220 pound forward also went to the free-throw line a dozen times, where he was perfect. George would probably prefer to get some of his six turnovers back, but he can live with it because the Indiana Pacers picked up the victory.
Former Brooklyn Nets forward Thaddeus Young quietly had a good game. He had 14 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.
Many have noted that Jeff Teague has struggled since being traded by the Atlanta Hawks over the summer. He had six assists and six rebounds. Teague would have had more than the nine points that he scored had he not struggled so badly from the field, especially from the outside.
Monta Ellis can be a bit inconsistent, but the veteran shooting guard produced 17 points to help the Indiana Pacers pick up the victory.
Indiana Pacers bench
CJ Miles has been trying to prove to Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan that he can provide an offensive spark off the bench for the team. Against the Los Angeles Lakers, the 6-foot-6, 225 pound forward proved it again. Miles chipped in with 16 points with the second unit.
Veteran center Al Jefferson was not able to provide much of an offensive spark, but he did pull down seven rebounds.
[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]