2 Keys to Victory for Lakers vs. Pacers

Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports

The (38-32) Los Angeles Lakers face off against the (40-31) Indians Pacers tonight in an In-Season Tournament Championship rematch as the Lakers aim to extend their two-game win streak.

Sitting at 9th in the Western Conference, the Lakers are 3.5 games back of the 6th seed with only 12 games to go. Coming off strong performances, let’s dive into our two keys to a Laker victory tonight. 

Defensive Intensity 

Much of the purple and gold’s recent success has been their tenacity and efficiency on the defensive end. The Lakers have held their last two opponents to a mere 94 and 105 points, respectively, on 33.3 and 42.9 FG%.

LA’s ability to limit their opponents’ three-point production has been critical to their defensive production, restricting the 76ers and Hawks to 21.6 and 22.0 3P%.

The Lakers' defensive rating has been subpar over the past month, sitting at 24th in the association at 116.1.

Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers has not been shooting efficiently from three-point land as of late, possibly making room for the Lakers to capitalize on their recent strength.

Look for the Lakers to restrict the Pacers’ three-point shooting and ultimately curb their offensive production en route to a strong defensive victory. 

DLO and 3-Point Production 

Since the All-Star Break, the Lakers have been unbeatable when point guard D’Angelo Russell shoots well from beyond the arc.

DLO is shooting 44% from three-point range post-All-Star and has carried the Lakers to several victories off incredible three-point scoring.

This has led the Lakers to be one of the best three-point shooting teams in this span, shooting second-best % in the league at 40.7%. 

The Lakers’ shooting numbers dipped in losses this season, shooting 35.1% compared to 40.0% in wins.

Fortunately, the Pacers have been abysmal defensively this season, sitting at 25th in the league at 117.6. They additionally have been poor at defending the three-pointer, sitting at 20th in the league this year, allowing 36.9% from beyond the arc.

If Russell can shoot well from deep tonight, we should continue our streak of shooting well in wins and get the win tonight. 

Look for the Lakers to play aggressive defense tonight and limit opportunities on the perimeter against a team struggling to get things going from three-point land.

The Lakers will need to get DLO to spark their three-point shooting. LA should be able to pull away in their third straight victory. Following tonight, the Lakers play Milwaukee on Tuesday. 

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