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Mar 23, 2024 9:15 pm

Lakers face Pacers, try to strengthen play-in chances

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The Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers will compress their season series into six days with the first of the two meetings taking place Sunday in Los Angeles.

The Pacers are 2-0 to start a five-game road trip after consecutive victories over the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors. In Friday’s 123-111 victory in San Francisco, Tyrese Haliburton had 26 points and 11 assists, while Pascal Siakam had 25 points and 16 rebounds to get the best of the Warriors.

Indiana (40-31) has clinched at least a spot in the play-in tournament and is trying to remain in the top six of the Eastern Conference standings to secure an automatic playoff berth.

Perhaps it was a shooting showdown with one of the best in Golden State’s Stephen Curry that helped Haliburton further distance himself from a recent shooting slump. In an 11-game stretch before the road trip, Haliburton shot 39 percent from the floor and 19 percent from 3-point range.

Though Curry was 6-of-18 from 3-point range while scoring 25 points, Haliburton was 4-of-8 from distance and 9-of-18 overall. Over the past two games, Haliburton is shooting 58.1 percent overall and 45.5 percent from 3-point range.

“We’re building this team to be a playoff team and a contending team,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “These games against high-level teams that are physical and emotional are essential.”

Indiana’s Myles Turner had five blocked shots and now has 1,249 in his career to pass Jermaine O’Neale’s franchise record.

“It’s amazing I can leave with something no matter what happens in the future,” Turner said. “I can tell my kids and grandkids about this moment.”

The Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-94 on Friday for their second straight win and are trying to construct their first three-game winning streak in over a month.

In ninth place in the Western Conference standings, Los Angeles (38-32) was a beneficiary of the Pacers’ victory over the 10th-place Warriors. Entering Saturday, the Lakers led the Warriors by 1 1/2 games and trailed the eighth-place Sacramento Kings by 1 1/2 games.

Anthony Davis scored 23 points with 19 rebounds and LeBron James had 20 points with eight rebounds and six assists against the 76ers, but the Lakers did not secure the victory until late, despite Philadelphia playing without injured star Joel Embiid.

“Ugly, but we got the job done,” James said after scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. “We defended in the second half. They only had 18 in the fourth. That’s big-time when the offense was struggling like it was.”

D’Angelo Russell made four more 3-pointers Friday, and finished with 14 points, to set the Lakers’ record for most 3-pointers made in a season. He currently has 187.

“This franchise is one of the most prestigious, so to have my name be a part of it, more than grateful, blessed beyond measure,” Russell said. “Just want to keep continuing to shatter it if I can and make it really hard for the next person.”

The Lakers will be without Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) and Christian Wood (knee) on Sunday. Taurean Prince, who missed the win over the 76ers due to personal reasons, is expected back against the Pacers.

–Field Level Media

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