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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Pacers 118, Lakers 98

By Dave McMenamin


INDIANAPOLIS -- Just before the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers gave the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder all they could handle for 3½ quarters before falling off at the end.

Tuesday against the best the Eastern Conference has to offer in the Indiana Pacers, L.A. could put the pressure on for only two quarters before being outclassed.

After keeping it close, trailing 57-54 at halftime, the Lakers were outscored 34-16 in the third quarter as Pacers All-Star Paul George shook off a 2-for-11 first half to score 11 of his 20 points in the period.

It was garbage time after that.

How it happened: Indiana jumped out to an early 18-6 lead before the Lakers crawled back in it thanks to Kent Bazemore (23 points) relentlessly attacking the paint. But then it seemed as if the Pacers remembered they were playing the Lakers and turned the game into a blowout.

What it means: Tuesday's game against the Pacers kicks off a very difficult stretch for the Lakers, with 17 of their final 26 games coming against teams with .500 records or better. It's not going to get any easier for the 19-38 Lakers, who have, on average, lost two out of every three games they've played this season.

Hits: Wesley Johnson had 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting.

Five Lakers scored in double digits.

Misses: L.A. was just 12-for-20 (60 percent) from the free throw line.

The Pacers outrebounded the Lakers 62-42.

Stat of the game: 15, 17, 23. Those are Bazemore's scoring totals in his first three games with the Lakers, setting a new career high in each game he played.

Up next: L.A. finishes off its two-game trip with the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are 31-24 and lost to the Lakers at home once already this season.