Kuzma leads Lakers to comeback win over Pacers
Kyle Kuzma propelled the host Los Angeles Lakers to a come-from-behind victory over the Indiana Pacers 105-100 on Friday in each team’s first game back from the All-Star break.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s steal with 8.5 seconds left and subsequent pair of free throws sealed the win.
Caldwell-Pope said he felt “tremendous” about getting some rest during the time off. “The break did exactly what I expected it to do. I recovered. I caught up on rest and I’m mentally prepared. It was what I needed, so I’m ready.”
The Lakers trailed by as many as 12 points early in the fourth quarter, but Kuzma led the comeback, scoring 15 points in the final period. He sank back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Lakers the lead for good, 94-90 with 5:58 left in the game.
Kuzma finished with team-highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds. LeBron James added 18 points and 10 assists.
✨ 24 PTS, 13 REB for @kylekuzma
✨ 15 in the 4th quarter
— NBA (@NBA) March 13, 2021
The Lakers played the game short-handed.
Just before tipoff, the Lakers announced that Anthony Davis had his strained right calf examined by team doctors and that he has been cleared to enter the next phase of his return. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Davis missed his 10th consecutive game, and Los Angeles improved to 4-6 in that span. The Lakers are 8-7 this season when Davis isn’t on the floor.
Also, reserve point guard Alex Caruso hit his head on the floor chasing after a loose ball in the second quarter and had to go to the locker room. He did not return. The Lakers announced that Caruso had a head contusion and was being evaluated for a concussion.
The Lakers also played without Marc Gasol and Kostas Antetokounmpo due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers, scoring 18 of his game-high 29 points in the opening quarter. The Pacers raced out to an eight-point halftime lead.
Indiana big man Domantas Sabonis finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
The Pacers, who lost for the sixth time in seven games, play six of their first seven games on the road to start the second half.
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