Lakers' seven-game win streak snapped by Pacers as Anthony Davis sits

Eric He
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
Dec 17, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (39) battles for rebounding position against Indiana Pacers guard Justin Holiday (8) and forward Doug McDermott (20) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Howard filled in admirably for Anthony Davis, but the Lakers fell to the Pacers on Tuesday. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Playing without Anthony Davis in Indiana on Tuesday, the Lakers saw their seven-game win streak and 14-game road win streak snapped in a 105-102 loss to the Pacers in a thrilling contest.

Malcolm Brogdon’s reverse layup in the final minute gave the Pacers the lead, and Rajon Rondo missed a long 3-pointer for the tie as time expired.

Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 26 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Indiana improved to 19-9 on the season, while the Lakers suffered just their fourth defeat to fall to 24-4.

That puts them in a tie with the Milwaukee Bucks for the best record in basketball — the Lakers will play at Milwaukee on Thursday in a much-anticipated game.

Filling in for AD

Davis was a gametime decision, but ultimately did not play after tweaking his right ankle in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. It was just the second game he has missed this season, with the Lakers not wanting to rush the big man back. Davis has a history of injuries and the Lakers want him sharp for the playoffs.

Jared Dudley started in place of Davis, but Dwight Howard put up big numbers off the bench in AD’s absence. Howard finished with 20 points, six rebounds and two blocks and was 10-of-10 from the field — showing flashes of his former self.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 20 points, and four more Lakers (JaVale McGee, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley and Alex Caruso) finishing in double-digits. It was a valiant effort for the Lakers without one of their two superstars, playing a tough team away from home.

Statement win for Indiana

This was also a big win for the Pacers, who have won four straight and established themselves as a contender in the East. Their depth was on display on Tuesday, with six players scoring double figures. Though they didn’t have to contend with Davis, the Pacers pulled out a close win against a LeBron James-led team that had entered the game on a roll and does not shy away from the road.

For the Lakers, the road ahead doesn’t get any easier, with the Bucks on Thursday, followed by the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers coming into Staples Center next week. If Davis’ injury is as minor as the Lakers claim, he should probably be out there against the league’s elite.

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