Raining 3s: Pacers’ 3-point flurry buries Lakers in James’ worst loss
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers have suddenly found a new winning combination.
Not even LeBron James could slow it down Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, Philippine time).
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 24 points and the Pacers tied an NBA franchise-record by making 19 3-pointers in a 136-94 rout over the Los Angeles Lakers — the most lopsided loss James has endured in his 16-year career.
“They scored 33 points off our 19 turnovers and that was from the beginning of the game. We can’t play from behind like that,” James said. “I think it (the jet lag) hit us. That first game flying across the country looked like it had a lot to do with it, but we didn’t come out with the defensive mentality we had the last time we played them and they made us pay for it.”
Twice previously James’ teams had been blown out by 36: Against Washington in April 2008 and in the 2013 NBA Finals against San Antonio. But this was might go down as the most embarrassing of the three.
Indiana led wire-to-wire and never allowed the Lakers to get within single digits after the first basket of the second quarter despite playing without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and on the tail end of a back-to-back following a four-game trip.
At one point, the Pacers led by 46.
And after James left with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, coach Luke Walton wisely kept the four-time MVP him on the bench for the rest of the night.
James was not himself either after missing 17 of the previous 18 games with an injured groin. He missed three of his first five shots, was beaten three times early on defense and had five first-half turnovers before finishing with 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and six turnovers.
JaVale McGee added 16 as the Lakers lost for the sixth time in eight games amid the continuing swirl of trade rumors, something Pacers fans noted by repeatedly chanting “LeBron’s gonna trade you.”
“I know it has to be tough on a lot of our guys — especially our young guys,” James said. “They’ve just never been a part of it and they’re hearing it every single day. I know that the worst thing you could right now is be on social media and I know all young guys love social media. So, that definitely can’t help.”
The Pacers, meanwhile, remained focused on regrouping.
After losing four straight immediately following Oladipo’s season-ending knee injury, they’ve rebounded with three straight wins. On Tuesday, they produced a season-high 69 points in the first half, a season-high single-game total and their widest victory margin of the Eason.
They made it look easy, too.
After Bogdanovic opened the game by scoring all of the Pacers’ points in a 10-2 spurt, the Lakers never recovered. Myles Turner finished with 22 points while Thaddeus Young had 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
“We look at it as another win, but it does feel good,” Young said. “It’s not really about beating them by 42, but we played a complete game.”
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