LeBron and Davis ignite Lakers comeback win
The Los Angeles Lakers trailed by 14 early in the fourth quarter before storming back to defeat the Indiana Pacers 112-111 on the road.
Los Angeles’ defense let them down early on Thursday as they gave up 35 points in the first quarter and another 32 in the second, heading into the long break trailing 67-54.
The Lakers were finally able to hold the Pacers under 30 points in a 30-29 third frame, before their defense woke up in the final period and kept the home side to just 15.
The visiting team did not claim their first lead of the game until LeBron James drained a three-pointer to jump ahead 108-106 with 2:35 remaining, but a jump shot from rookie Andrew Nembhard put the Pacers up by one with under a minute to play.
With the game on the line, Anthony Davis drained a clutch post fadeaway over elite defensive center Myles Turner to retake the lead, and although the Lakers left the door open with a pair of missed free throws from Pat Beverley, Buddy Hield’s potential game-winner was off the mark thanks to Beverley’s smothering defense.
It was a gutsy comeback to give the Lakers their second win in a row, led by Davis’ 31 points on 13-of-27 shooting with 14 rebounds and two blocks.
Meanwhile, James was efficient with 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting, adding seven rebounds and seven assists. He is now 62 points away from tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring mark.
For the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton enjoyed a strong return from injury after three weeks on the sideline, leading his team in points (26) and assists (12) after being named to his first All-Star team earlier in the day.
Jokic toys with the Warriors
Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic continued his march towards a three-peat as he dominated the Golden State Warriors in the Denver Nuggets’ 134-117 triumph.
Jokic finished with 22 points on nine-of-13 shooting with 16 assists and 14 rebounds. Over his past 17 games, he has only finished with fewer than nine assists once, and no player is averaging more than his 11.9 assists over their past 15 games.
It was also another strong performance from Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, scoring 33 points on 12-of-23 shooting with eight assists and five rebounds. Over his past five outings, Murray is averaging 27.6 points and 7.2 assists.
The Nuggets sit four games clear atop the Western Conference at 36-16, while the 26-26 Warriors are ninth.
Mavericks hold on as Doncic leaves hurt
The Dallas Mavericks led the New Orleans Pelicans by 31 points during the second quarter, but ended up getting pushed all the way in a 111-106 victory.
Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic had 27 points in the first half, and made his way up to 31 early in the third period before he suffered a heel injury due to a hard fall, ending his night.
The Mavericks led by 28 when he exited the game, and from that point on the Pelicans closed the contest on a 50-27 run. They ultimately came up short after a controversial refereeing mistake in the final seconds robbed them of a chance to shoot for the tie.
It was the Pelicans’ 10th loss in a row as they desperately await the return of Zion Williamson from his hamstring injury, while the Mavericks improved to fifth in the West at 28-25.
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