As LeBron James chases history, Anthony Davis remains 'X factor' for Lakers

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

INDIANAPOLIS — The intensity was there, Patrick Beverley pressuring the ball, Anthony Davis flying at the rim, LeBron James pushing the ball down the court. The Lakers looked focused and forceful. They looked dangerous.

And they looked late.

It was the third quarter before they started to stir, and the fourth before they started to dominate, but the hole they dug early wasn’t deep enough to bury them — at least not Thursday.

Escaping the 2-10 pit they built at the start of the season, that’s still a work in progress.

On this night, the Lakers stopped Buddy Hield on a baseline trap in the final seconds, his shot rimming out as Davis grabbed the rebound to earn the team a 112-111 win.

The Lakers didn’t lead until a James three-pointer with 2:35 left after trailing by as many as 15.


The Pacers, with the game on the line in the fourth, scored only 15 points in the quarter and just five in the final 5:45.

“We take pride on the defensive end. We hold each other accountable on the defensive end. I hold myself to a high standard on the defensive end; hold the group to a high standard on the defensive end. And were able to lock in in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter — hold them to 15 points,” Davis said. “Just wanted to win a game, knowing the position that we’re in, that we have to win ball games. We don’t want to be in the play-in tournament. We want to secure a spot.”

The Lakers are far from doing that. They’re still out of the play-in tournament if the season ended Thursday.

Davis, who was not selected as a reserve for the All-Star Game, finished with 31 points and 14 rebounds to go with great late-game defense. James had 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Three other Lakers were in double figures.


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