LeBron James scored a game-high 38 points as the Los Angeles Lakers started big and finished strong while outlasting the visiting Indiana Pacers for a 104-96 victory Thursday.
The Lakers opened with a 13-0 lead and had a 38-15 advantage after one quarter before the Pacers started to rally. Indiana held a brief lead in the third quarter, erasing a 24-point deficit, but the Lakers turned it on again to finish off the win.
Domantas Sabonis scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds off the bench for the Pacers, while Bojan Bogdanovic added 14 points. Indiana shot just 5 of 25 (20 percent) from the field in the first quarter, missing both of its 3-point shots in the opening 12 minutes.
Brandon Ingram scored 14 points and Josh Hart had 13 for the Lakers, who closed out the third quarter on a 17-6 run after Indiana took a 69-66 lead on a Tyreke Evans 3-pointer. James contributed nine rebounds and seven assists.
The Pacers pulled within a point at 89-88 with just under five minutes remaining on a jump shot from Sabonis. However, James subsequently scored six consecutive points — a 3-pointer and a three-point play — and the Lakers were never threatened again.
Thaddeus Young had 11 points for the Pacers, while Cory Joseph and Doug McDermott had 10 each. McDermott was coming off consecutive games of 21 points as the Pacers saw their brief two-game win streak come to an end.
The Pacers were nearly as dominating in the second quarter as the Lakers were in the first, outscoring Los Angeles 35-18 while going 6 of 10 from 3-point range, while the Lakers were 0 of 6 from long distance in the quarter.
The Lakers were aggressive from the outset two days after they were dominated at Denver in a 117-85 defeat to the Nuggets. The Thursday victory ended a brief two-game slide for the Lakers, which came after they had won 9 of 11 games.
James has scored at least 35 points four times this season, and he topped 30 points for the third time in the past six games.
Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 11 points each for the Lakers.
—Field Level Media