Anthony Davis and Spencer Dinwiddie help Lakers score 150 points in win over Pacers

Los Angeles Lakers forward-center Anthony Davis (3) dribbles past Indiana Pacers.

They met in the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament championship game in Las Vegas in December, a matchup the Lakers won over the Indiana Pacers.

There was less at stake when the two squads met Sunday night at Arena, but the game still held significance for the Lakers.

With the regular season winding down, the Lakers are seeking home-court advantage for the play-in tournament.

The Lakers’ high-energy 150-145 win over the Pacers was a step in the right direction, giving them a 2 ½-game lead over the 10th-seeded Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference playoff race. The Lakers have 11 games to prove where they belong in the postseason.

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“I mean, it’s everywhere right now,” said Anthony Davis after finishing with 36 points and 16 rebounds against the Pacers. “But for us, just try to control what we can control and that’s winning one game at a time. Obviously we try to figure out how far we are behind the sixth seed. But you stress yourself out putting too much pressure on yourself when you are constantly looking at it.

"But we’re ninth right now, so we just got to continue to play our style of basketball and focus on us and taking it one game at a time and worrying about winning that game. And if we continuously do that, then the rest will take care of itself.”

Spencer Dinwiddie, who started in place of D'Angelo Russell (non-COVID illness), played a leading role in helping the Lakers record a season high for points. Dinwiddie had 26 points — the most he has scored since his arrival — going eight for 11 from the field and two for three from three-point range. He went eight for nine from the free-throw line, with his final free throw giving the Lakers (39-32) a four-point lead with 20 seconds left.

“Knowing that DLo was gonna be out and knowing that there were gonna be spots for me to be aggressive, [I was] just trying to step up to that moment, be consistent with my workout and my routine and going from there,” Dinwiddie said.

LeBron James finished with 26 points, 10 assists and five rebounds and Austin Reaves scored 25 points. Pascal Siakam led the Pacers (40-32) with 36 points and 12 rebounds.

James was impressed with Dinwiddie's performance.

"It just shows what type of player he is and what type of person he is to be able to adjust his game to whatever their game fits and needs,” James said. “And tonight we needed him to score and be aggressive. And you asked me the other day about just unlocking him and I told you I wouldn't tell you and we did it tonight."

The Lakers led by 19 points at one point in the third quarter and had a 17-point lead entering the fourth. They gave up 46 points in the fourth quarter and saw their lead sliced to three with 21.6 seconds left. The Pacers shot 64.3% from the field in the fourth and went eight for 12 from three-point range in the final 12 minutes.

The Lakers' 150 points was the most scored by the franchise since Jan. 2, 1987, when the Lakers beat the Suns 155-118.

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“I mean, we allowed 145,” Davis said. “They had a big fourth quarter from them. ... Terrible defensively. They hit some shots towards the end. … But we can do what we want offensively, as you've seen tonight. But we got to be able to defend, especially when we got a team up like that, try to give them no life. But at this point in the season, a win is a win and we’ll take it. But we got to learn from it as well.”

The Lakers embark on a six-game trip starting Tuesday, with stops in Milwaukee, Memphis, Indiana, Brooklyn, Toronto and Washington.

“Yeah, I mean, we want to win every game,” Davis said. “Yeah, so we know we’re capable. But it’s the road. It’s going to be tough, but we got [the ability] to win each game and we got to approach it that way.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.