Pacers look to get back on track against injury-afflicted Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are 0-8 without Lonzo Ball in the lineup, and they won't have their rookie point guard Friday night against the visiting Indiana Pacers at Staples Center.

Ball will miss his third straight game with a sprained left knee. The injury occurred during overtime of a 107-101 win at the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, which marked a season-long fourth straight victory for Los Angeles.

Ball averages 10.2 points, one of seven Lakers in double figures. More important, he leads the team in assists (7.1) and rebounds (5.3).

"I think it's much harder to win without Lonzo, but it's not impossible," Lakers coach Luke Walton told the Orange County Register. "There are games that we could have won (that) he hadn't played in. We just didn't finish them out."

Los Angeles (15-29) will also be without its other starting guard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who strained his right Achilles in a 114-90 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

The two leading scorers for the Lakers, forwards Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, are questionable to play against the Pacers.

Kuzma, the team's leading scorer at 16.5 points, injured the pinkie finger on his left hand against the Thunder.

Ingram, the second-leading scorer at 15.9 points, missed a 123-114 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday with a left ankle sprain. He returned against the Thunder and scored eight points in 27 minutes, but aggravated the injury.

As insurance, the Lakers will reportedly sign forward Nigel Hayes to a 10-day contract. Hayes plays for Westchester of the G League.

The Pacers (24-21) had their three-game win streak come to an end in a 100-86 loss at the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan told reporters after the game that he didn't think his team played with the same determination it had in the last three games, which resulted in wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz.

"You can't give up 14 offensive rebounds, 24 second-chance points," McMillan said. "That's the hustle game that you've got to win."


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Pacers point guard Darren Collison matched his career high with five 3-pointers on six attempts and scored 23 points. He's a Southern California native and played at UCLA from 2005-09.

Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo entered Thursday just outside the top 10 in the NBA in scoring, averaging 24.3 points a game. He also scored 23 points on 9-for-25 shooting.

The Lakers will likely employ rookie Josh Hart to defend Oladipo. Hart has been one of the team's top backcourt defenders.

Another key player for the Lakers is power forward Julius Randle. He had two double-doubles in November and three in December and has four in January.

"He's our physical presence," Walton said. "He's our guy that needs to bully other teams. … We need him to be not necessarily our tough guy, but our guy (who), when we're getting pushed around, pushes back a little bit."