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Lakers blow 17-point lead late as they fall to Pacers at the buzzer

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

As far as trades that haven't happened go, this one has been talked about plenty.

The idea goes something like this: Buddy Hield is one of the best high-volume 3-point shooters in the NBA, the kind of marksman that is a must on a winning LeBron James roster. Myles Turner is one of the best shot blockers in the league and pairing him with Anthony Davis would make life hell on attacking offensive players.

And for the price of two future first-round picks and Russell Westbrook's matching salary, they could both be Lakers.

Monday, with the Pacers and the Lakers meeting for the first time this season, talk of that deal dominated — only to be outdone by a tight game with Westbrook smack in the middle of all of it and a rookie ready to punctuate it.

Indiana second-round pick Andrew Nembhard swished home a 3-point shot at the buzzer to cap a 17-point comeback and stun the Lakers 116-115.

"They made some big shots," Westbrook said.

 

The Lakers lacked shooting, they struggled defensively on the wing and the good vibes they built crumbled late in a brutal loss.

Westbrook scored nine of his 24 points in the third quarter, pushing the Lakers out to a 16-point lead, and an assist from Westbrook on a basket by Wenyen Gabriel put the Lakers up 17 with 10 minutes left in the fourth.

But the Pacers outscored the Lakers 32-14 from there to the finish line to steal the win, re-exposing so many familiar late-game problems from earlier in the season.

James, in his third game back after missing time with a groin strain, couldn't shake past smaller Indiana defenders and struggled from the midrange and perimeter. He had 21 points and hit a tiebreaking shot with 20.9 seconds left, but missed 14 shots — including six in the fourth quarter.

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