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Lakers vs. Pacers Preview: Something’s got to give

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The Lakers will be looking to stop their losing streak at two games on Saturday, but it won’t be easy with TJ Warren on the opposing team. No, seriously.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers have been on a role since the NBA restarted its season last month.

Through the four seeding games they’ve played, the Pacers have averaged 114.3 points per game, which is 4.7 points better than their season average. For context, the Los Angeles Lakers are averaging 15.4 points less than they did in the regular season (113.2).

The Pacers have been led by TJ Warren, who’s averaged 33.8 points per game over the last four games — tied for the highest average in the league during that span with James Harden — on 58.7% shooting from the field, including 53.6% shooting from behind the arc. Warren has also averaged 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. If they gave out NBA Bubble Awards, he’d probably be the favorite for MVP. If not MVP, the Most Improved Player.

The Lakers will have their hands full with Warren on Saturday, with or without LeBron James in the starting lineup. What Los Angeles won’t have to worry about, though, is being undersized for their matchup with the Pacers without James.

Since Domantas Sabonis left the NBA bubble to receive medical treatment for plantar fasciitis in his left foot last month, the Pacers have rolled out a three-guard lineup featuring Malcolm Brogdon, Aaron Holiday and Victor Oladipo. So, if James needs to sit out against on Saturday, the Lakers should feel comfortable playing their same three-guard starting lineup from their game against the Houston Rockets on Thursday. However, given how unsuccessful that lineup was, Vogel might considering experimenting with a different five-man unit.

The Lakers and Pacers will tip-off at 3 p.m. PT on TNT nationally and Spectrum SportsNet locally.

Notes and Updates

  • Danny Green will not play against the Pacers due to a sore right hip, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. Everyone else has been cleared to play. The Lakers previous had LeBron James (groin) and Alex Caruso (neck) listed as as questionable. Anthony Davis (knee), Markieff Morris (hip) and Dwight Howard (knee) were probable.
  • The Pacers beat the Lakers 105-102 in their matchup on Dec. 17. Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma were sidelined for the game, as was Victor Oladipo. If the Pacers beat the Lakers again on Saturday, they’ll join the Toronto Raptors as the only other team with an undefeated against Los Angeles this season.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.