When the Los Angeles Lakers played the Indiana Pacers, they had many reasons to be happy. They had won 5 of their previous 6, improving their season record from 2-10 to 7-11 and moving up the standings. The Lakers were on the rise as Russell Westbrook was excelling off the bench, Anthony Davis was looking like the player he would be in 2020, and LeBron James dominated in his second game back from injury.
With less than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, they took a 101-84 lead, and everything seemed to be in place for yet another victory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. The Pacers came back strongly to shock the Lakers, winning 116-115 with a 32-14 surge in the final minutes.
LeBron James on the loss against the Indiana Pacers
Only twice in history had a LeBron-led team blown a fourth-quarter advantage of 17 points or more. After the game, their supporters were furious because it was a humiliating defeat. They would have been even more enraged by Indiana’s game-winning buzzer-beater, as the Pacers were able to capitalize on their second of two wide-open opportunities. When asked what happened in the last play, LeBron responded that the coverage was messed up.
“We messed up a coverage to start and that’s how Myles Turner was able to get the open three, so we had already messed up the coverage to start. So, that’s why we are in scramble mode after that even with them getting an offensive rebound. We should have come up with the offensive rebound but it was a skud, I mean it hit off the front of the rim and flew back all the way to the three-point line, so we were already in scramble mode. We had two on the ball at that time, I think DS (Dennis Schroder) and AR (Austin Reaves) was on the ball, and AD (Anthony Davis) had 2, I was playing 2, and (Tyrese) Haliburton found a shooter on (the) weak side,” he said.
That they made a mistake right away is absurd. Given that LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook were all there on the field, you would anticipate a stronger performance than that. At the buzzer, Andrew Nembhard made them pay for their terrible mistake. The Lakers are currently not in a situation where they can afford to make blunders of this nature. There is no justification for blowing such a sizable lead, and it serves as another warning that NBA teams cannot afford to let up, as no lead is ever secure when there is still a sizable amount of time on the clock.