The Lakers scrapped all night long to work back from a 16-point deficit in Indiana, but Paul George had little regard for their efforts. The Los Angeles native — who piled up 30 points, seven rebounds and four steals on the evening — was just about unguardable in the final two minutes, scoring the Pacers’ final 12 points to push past the Lakers, 115-108.
“He took tough fadeaways with guys all over him, and he hit them,” head coach Luke Walton said. “That’s what he does.”
L.A. (1-3) had finally broken through with 3:14 left when Jordan Clarkson’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim and Larry Nance Jr. charged through the paint, caught it mid-air and slammed it home for a 106-105 lead.
But George was just waiting to strike.
Out of a timeout, he was draped by Clarkson with the shot clock winding down but nonetheless stole the lead again with a 20-footer. When Julius Randle answered with a dunk on the next possession, George made it happen again for the Pacers (2-2) with back-to-back baskets for a 111-108 led in the final minute.
George even provided some clutch rim protection, as Clarkson had an open look at a transition 3-pointer but elected to attack the hoop, where George went straight up and forced an errant layup.
“I should’ve shot the (3-pointer),” said Clarkson, who had 15 points. “It is what it is. It’s on me. I should’ve took that shot. That’s why I’m here: to shoot the ball and score. I’ve got to shoot that.”
George hit four more foul shots from there to wrap up the win.
“He was the only All-Star on the floor,” said D’Angelo Russell, who was one of several Lakers to try guarding George. “I feel like when you’re in that position, you’ve gotta feed him.”
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Timofey Mozgov left the game in the third quarter due to injury. He was down for an extended amount of time after taking an unintentional elbow to the left eye from Jeff Teague. Minutes later, he was hit in the lip and eye by Lavoy Allen’s hand and was unable to shoot his ensuing free throws.
The Lakers were mostly able to contain Indiana’s Jeff Teague who finished with nine points, six rebounds, six assists and Myles Turner who added nine points, six rebounds.
by Joey Ramirez
First appeared on NBA.com Global