Basketball

Indiana Pacers snap LA Lakers’ road winning streak

With the loss, LA are now joint NBA-best with Bucks whom they face tomorrow

A determined Indiana fightback and last-minute heroics by Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers to a 105-102 upset of the NBA-best Los Angeles Lakers yesterday morning (Singapore time).

LeBron James produced 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who were without injured star forward Anthony Davis and saw their road winning streak snapped at 14 games, two shy of the NBA record.

Pacers forward Sabonis, son of Lithuanian legend Arvydas Sabonis, scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Brodgon added 14 points and six assists, and sank a reverse lay-up to put Indiana ahead with 36 seconds remaining.

"Definitely a big win for us," Brogdon said.

"We really wanted to send a message to the elite teams in the league and get some respect. We've had some big wins, but this is the biggest one."

The Lakers (24-4) fell level with Milwaukee Bucks for the NBA's best record just two days before they visit the Eastern Conference leaders in a potential NBA Finals showdown.

"The difference between winning and losing was made shots v missed shots. Sometimes it happens that way," James said.

The Lakers hit 43-of-91 shots (47.3 per cent) from the floor, while Indiana made 41-of-85 (48.2 per cent).

Davis - the Lakers' leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots - was absent due to a right-ankle sprain suffered in the victory over the Atlanta Hawks last Sunday. Dwight Howard had 20 points on 10-of-10 shooting for the Lakers.

"Our guys competed their tails off. I'm very proud of them," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

The Lakers, who led by as many as 10 points, were ahead only 52-50 at half-time with James hitting 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the first half.

After Brogdon's lay-up gave Indiana a 104-102 lead, James missed a three-pointer and a video reversal on an out-of-bounds call gave the Pacers the ball. Sabonis made a free-throw, but missed the second to give the Lakers a final chance.

However, Rajon Rondo missed a last three-point shot and LA's seven-game overall winning streak was over.

"We just had to execute down the stretch, get some stops and make good shots," Sabonis said.

"We played a whole 48 minutes. We got the stops out there. That was key for us."

Elsewhere, Paul George scored 24 points and Kawhi Leonard added 20 in the Los Angeles Clippers' 120-99 win over the visiting Phoenix Suns.

RETURN FROM DOPING BAN

Bahamian 21-year-old centre Deandre Ayton, the 2018 NBA Draft top pick, returned to the Suns after a 25-game suspension for testing positive for a banned diuretic following the season-opener.

Ayton scored 18 points on nine-of-19 shooting from the floor and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

"It was the biggest mistake in my life, an unintentional mistake," he said of his doping ban.

"I did not know what I put in my body. I was guilty of it. (I'm) closing the circle much tighter and cooking my own food.

"I have an organisation that love me. They helped me a lot on this journey so I could come back and play." - AFP

OTHER RESULTS: Charlotte 110 Sacramento 102, New York 143 Atlanta 120, New Orleans 101 Brooklyn 108 (OT), Utah 109 Orlando 102

Basketball