Kyle Kuzma gave LeBron James the night off from wearing his Superman cape, shouldering the load for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 105-100, come-from-behind win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday at the Staples Center.
With the Lakers trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, Kuzma scored a season-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back three pointers to give the Lakers the lead for good, 94-90 with 5:30 left in the game.
Kuzma finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds. LeBron James added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lakers played the game shorthanded. Just before tipoff, the Lakers announced the Anthony Davis’ right calf strain was examined by team doctors, is progressing in his recovery and has been cleared to enter the next phase of his return to play process. However, Davis will be re-evaluated by team doctors in two weeks and an update will be given at that time.
Davis missed his 10th straight start; the Lakers are 8-7 this season when Davis isn’t on the floor.
The Lakers also played without the services of center Marc Gasol and Kostas Antetokounmpo due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was in attendance for her team’s victory.
Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers, scoring a career-best 18 of his game-high 29 points in the opening quarter, as the Pacers raced out to an eight-point halftime lead. Indiana big man Domantas Sabonis added 20 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.
With the win, the Lakers improved to 25-13 on the season, while the Pacers fell to 16-20 overall.
Top player: Montrezl Harrel had another solid performance off the bench, finishing with 17 points and six rebounds.
What I liked: The Lakers had a 34-21 advantage in fourth quarter scoring. Los Angeles shot 30 of 39 (77 percent) from the free throw line.
What I didn’t like: The Lakers had 15 turnovers and the Pacers scored 21 points off those miscues.
Injuries: 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 for further evaluation. The Lakers announced that Caruso had a head contusion and was being evaluated for a concussion. Caruso did not return to the game.
They said it: “I feel tremendous. 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.” – Lakers shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, saying he regained some energy with the time off during the All-Star break.