On Tuesday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Indiana Pacers met the Lakers for the first time in 2014. It was the fifth and final game of the Pacers’ second Western Conference road trip.
Indiana came away with the victory, 104-92. The win gave the Pacers a winning record (3-2) on the five-game swing and helped them accomplish two separate trips out west in which they returned home with an above-.500 mark. Indiana also went 3-2 on their first Western Conference excursion.
That was the important part – for the team to come together and win as a group, according to guard Lance Stephenson.
Speaking of Stephenson, what a treat he has been to watch this season. The other day, I wrote about how the Indiana Pacers play well when Lance Stephenson plays well.
No better was this exemplified than Tuesday night in the win over L.A.
Stephenson scored 15 points (6-9 FG) and dished out six assists. Pretty good stat line on a given night, but add in his career-high 14 rebounds Stephenson accumulated and it’s truly an incredible statistical game for Lance.
His play against the Lakers was more fun to watch than it is to read about.
Stephenson’s activity around the basket, where most of his points came, and awareness on the defensive end are the points of emphasis that stood out to me. Lance was stealing the ball away from his fellow teammates David West and Roy Hibbert on the defensive glass.
His contributions were a big reason why Indiana out-rebounded Los Angeles 63-50. Lance also added two steals, not that anyone noticed.
After the game, Fox Sports Indiana’s Brooke Olzendam caught up with Stephenson.
“It’s about being a team and making everybody happy … I’m just happy we got the win,” Stephenson said.
“I just wanted to get the ball and push it and make something happen, so I tried to get every rebound, as much as possible, and try to make something happen,” responded Stephenson, in reference to his rebounding numbers on the night. “I knew I had to bring energy to win this game.”