The Los Angeles Lakers finally notched a win without Lonzo Ball, riding the hot hand of Jordan Clarkson off the bench to a 99-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers. More impressive than doing it without Lonzo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram were also scratches for the outing.
A starting lineup of Tyler Ennis, Josh Hart, Corey Brewer, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, and the Lakers did get off to an ugly start. Indiana took a 25-18 lead going into the second quarter, but scored just 14 points in that period before heading into halftime.
Add in an inspired stretch during the third quarter featuring Hart making positive plays, including a memorable coast-to-cast finish, and the Lakers somehow won despite some alarming statistics elsewhere.
The Lakers made only two of their 14 free-throw attempts on the night, their worst night at the line going back for decades. Their three-point shooting was only mildly better, shooting 9-of-28 from deep, and the Lakers also gave up 12 offensive rebounds. Somehow, someway, they survived that.
Give Clarkson plenty of credit for being the adrenaline surge for a Lakers team that would’ve been lifeless without him. JC clocked in 33 points in 33 minutes, going 14-of-19 from the field with seven assists and seven rebounds.
Snapping the two-game losing streak, without three starters available, is a nice win for the Lakers. They’ll suit up for an early game against the New York Knicks in Los Angeles on Sunday, and hopefully they’ll have a few familiar faces back.