INDIANAPOLIS — The INDIANA Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers cross
paths Tuesday night after similar starts to the new campaign.
Both teams won their season openers, only to drop the next two
The Pacers return home after dropping two straight on the road in
Brooklyn and Chicago over the weekend.
New point guard Jeff Teague has struggled, averaging just 8.0
points on 20 percent shooting, and the second unit is trying to get
healthy. Backup point guard Aaron Brooks has yet to play this
season due to a sore right knee, Rodney Stuckey has missed time
with hamstring issues, and C.J. Miles has been limited in his
minutes as well.
Brooks was a full participant in practice on Monday and could
return against the Lakers. Stuckey is still awaiting results on his
“It’s a new group and it’s going to take some time to jell,” coach
Nate McMillan said after the loss to the Bulls. “As a group, we
have to work better together.”
Paul George and Myles Turner have done their jobs in the early
going, averaging a combined 43.3 points, but they’ll need a lot
more from guys like Teague if they’re going to be successful.
“He’s been an All-Star,” George said of Teague. “He’ll fight
through it. We’re not worried about that.”
The Pacers may not be worried about their offense moving forward,
but their defense may be cause for concern. They gave up 118 points
to the Bulls on Saturday, as Chicago shot 52 percent from the field.
Pacers teams of the past prided themselves on defense, but it’s
been a struggle in the early going.
The good news for Indiana is that 11 of its next 15 games are at
home. They’ll need to take advantage of a favorable November
For the Lakers, the post Kobe Bryant era began with a big opening
night win over Houston. Since then, they’ve dropped two road games
in Utah and Oklahoma City. They’ll travel to Indianapolis for the
third game of their four-game road trip.
Julius Randle has been a bright-spot thus far, as he scored 20
points to go along with nine rebounds in the loss to the Thunder.
For the season, Randle is averaging 15.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and
is shooting 68 percent from the field.
“There’s more confidence, and it just comes with playing, getting
back used to your body,” Randle told ESPN.com. “I feel great. My
body feels better than ever.”
New coach Luke Walton has been pleased with his team’s effort so
far. “I told our guys I loved the way they competed tonight,”
Walton said after Sunday’s game.
Tuesday’s matchup will feature two teams that want to push the
tempo. The Lakers and Pacers are ranked 8th and 12th, respectively,
in pace of play so far this season, according to NBA.com.
The turnover battle will also be something to watch. The Lakers
have the second most turnovers in the NBA right now (18.3 per
game), but they also force their fair share of them, averaging the
third most points off turnovers per game (21.3).
The point guard match-up could be a huge factor in this game, as
both Teague and the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell are talented, but
struggling with their shot in the early season.
The Pacers have won five of the last six meetings between these two
teams, including both match-ups last season.