Anthony Davis Returns Just in Time to Help L.A. Secure Sixth Consecutive Victory!

The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably on their best stretch of the season as they continue their trip with a stop in Indiana to take on the Pacers for the second time this week.

The Lakers posted a 150-145 victory on Sunday in the franchise's highest-scoring game since 1987 and will look for a similar offensive performance in hopes of earning their sixth consecutive victory and third on this road trip.

Most importantly, Anthony Davis is back in the lineup after missing the Lakers' win in Memphis due to a minor knee injury. The Pacers simply have no answer for Davis, who not only dominated on Sunday, but also in the Season Tournament Championship Game, also won by the Lakers. Simply put, he is the Lakers' biggest asset as he controls the paint like no other.

The Pacers are the highest scoring team in the league, so the Lakers' offense will have to be on point. LeBron James is going to deliver as always, but role players must also step up. Rui Hachimura has been excellent lately and that level of play has greatly raised the Lakers' ceiling.

Additionally, the Lakers will need at least two of their top three guards, D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Spencer Dinwiddie, to have big offensive nights. Both Dinwiddie and Reaves were excellent Sunday when Russell was out with an illness, but the Lakers need their guards to win the battle in the backcourt against one of the best pure point guards in the NBA today.

Tyrese Haliburton is the man who makes the Pacers offense tick. Pascal Siakam has given the Pacers another great option through which they can run the offense, but make no mistake, it is Haliburton who drives this team and containing him is the Lakers' top priority on defense. Reaves, Dinwiddie, Cam Reddish and Max Christie should see All-Star time and give him plenty of different looks to deal with, as keeping him in check also helps limit players like Aaron Nesmith or Myles Turner from catching fire from deep.

A big key for the Lakers is taking care of the ball. The Pacers rank third in the NBA in points off turnovers and fourth in fast break points, so limiting turnovers and not letting Indiana get away in transition is of utmost importance. Plus, these are the two best teams in the league in points in the paint, so winning that battle could decide the game.

The Lakers have proven to be a difficult opponent for the Pacers so far this season, despite having some similarities. Both teams live in the paint and thrive in transition, but the difference has been Davis.

Both the Lakers and Pacers are fighting for playoff position in their respective conferences and need every win they can get. The Lakers weren't happy with their defensive performance against this team on Sunday, so if they can improve on this one, they should be able to complete a season sweep.

Los Angeles Lakers (41-32) vs. Indiana Pacers (41-33)

4:00 pm PT, Friday, March 29, 2024
Gainbridge Cottage, Indianapolis, Indiana
Television: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:

PG: D'Angelo Russell
GS: Austin Reaves
SF: LeBron James
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Antonio Davis

Key reserves: Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Max Christie, Jaxson Hayes

Pacers Projected Starting Lineup:

PG: Tyrese Haliburton
GS: Andrew Nembhard
SF: Aaron Nesmith
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Myles Turner

Key reserves: Obi Toppin, Jalen Smith, TJ McConnell, Ben Sheppard

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