Los Angeles Lakers vs Indiana Pacers: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/19/18

The Indiana Pacers look to maintain sole possession of first place in the Central Division on Monday night when they host the Los Angeles Lakers.

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The Pacers (40-30) are tied with the Washington Wizards for fourth in the Eastern Conference, but since they currently lose out on the head-to-head tiebreaker, they are the fifth seed. They hold a one-half game lead on the Cleveland Cavaliers atop the Central Division and a three-game advantage over the Milwaukee Bucks, and those teams play each other Monday night.

Indiana have dropped back-to-back games after a 109-102 loss at Washington on Saturday night. Lance Stephenson had a season-high 25 points off the bench as the starting five were a combined 18 for 43. The Pacers made 12 of 24 from 3-point range, but they allowed the Wizards to make ten of 20 as they shot 54.8 percent overall.

Coach Nate McMillan is still dealing with a shortage at the center position as starter Myles Turner will be a game-time decision due to an ankle injury and backup Domantas Sabonis is sidelined with a sprained ankle. Al Jefferson made his first start of the season and finished with ten points and nine rebounds in just under 26 minutes.

The Lakers (31-38) open a four-game road swing with this contest and are looking to avoid a third straight loss after a 92-91 home defeat to Miami on Friday night. Julius Randle had 25 points and 12 rebounds, but Isaiah Thomas’ last-second fadeaway jumper scraped off the rim after Goran Dragic had given Miami the lead with 14.3 seconds to play.