The Los Angeles Lakers finally showed glimpses of their roster’s potential, coming back from behind to chalk up an impressive overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers.
L.A. did have to will itself back into the game yet again, falling behind Indiana right after the tip-off and failing to jump ahead until late in the fourth quarter. But big plays from Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and the Lakers’ bench allowed the Purple and Gold to head back home for Thanksgiving with a second win of the road trip.
“We had a lot of those woes tonight, up and down,” Westbrook said after the game.
“We were just trying to weather the storm, they were making some tough shots and we did a good job of just sticking together. We’re a resilient group that’s been in different situations many different times and as you saw tonight, when you have that group you’re able to kind of get stops on demand and make big shots.”
Westbrook made two crucial free throws with 22.6 seconds left in regular time, which put the Lakers three points ahead. Despite the significance of the moment, the 2017 NBA MVP said he didn’t feel extra pressure on himself while heading to the charity stripe.
“Just normal, honestly, for me,” Westbrook said. “The game’s on the line, lock in and concentrate in OT, making shots when your name is called, simple as that.”
The Lakers avoided a disheartening crunch-time defeat as a miracle 3-pointer from Chris Duarte only prolonged the game for five more minutes thanks to Westbrook’s free throws. James then took over and secured the win for L.A. with his best performance of the season.
Westbrook heaps praise on James after win over Pacers
James’ teammates couldn’t contain their excitement after the 36-year-old All-Star sank three after three from over 27 feet late in the game. Westbrook paid his respect to James for sealing the victory for the Lakers.
“Being able to close. He’s been doing this his whole career, but tonight, coming back, he did a hell of a job of making not just big shots, but big plays,” the guard said.
“Down the stretch, he defended, and obviously making big shots when we needed him to.”
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