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Newest addition Turner chips in during easy Pacers win


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INDIANAPOLIS

As debuts go, Evan Turner made an impressive one for the Indiana Pacers.

Then again, just about everything the Pacers did Tuesday night was impressive during a 118-98 rout of the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

All five Indiana starters reached double figures, and Turner — playing for the first time since last week’s trade with Philadelphia — led the bench with 13 points.

Turner, acquired with Lavoy Allen in exchange for Danny Granger, entered in the second quarter and — to the delight of a sellout Bankers Life Fieldhouse crowd — made his first shot from the field. The 6-foot-7, fourth-year swingman finished 6 of 12 from the floor with six rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes.

“It was definitely fun. I’m glad we won,” said Turner, who fills the backup small forward role Granger occupied. “The crowd was great, (and) my teammates definitely helped me.

“They got me acclimated, and it went well.”

But Turner’s night was only one of several strong performances by the Pacers (43-13), who won back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 7 and swept the two-game season series against the Lakers (19-38).

Paul George struggled in the first half but flourished in the second for a game-high 20 points. He also had seven rebounds and a team-high six assists. George Hill was 6 of 9 from the floor for 14 points. Lance Stephenson had 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists; David West collected 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds; and Roy Hibbert finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a game-high-tying four blocked shots.

And those were just the starters’ contributions.

Led by Turner and C.J. Watson, the Pacers also got sizable lift from their bench. Watson was 5 of 6 from the field for 11 points, and Ian Mahinmi and Luis Scola added nine points each.

Mahinmi also had two blocks, and Scola led the reserves with nine rebounds.

“We had good balance among the starters,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re trying to be a better offensive rebounding and running team. Our transition defense was better tonight than the last couple games.”

For the night, Indiana — which broke a three-game losing streak against the Lakers — out-rebounded the visitors 62-42. The Pacers also out-shot them from the field 46 percent to 43 percent.

All 13 active players on the Pacers roster played, and 12 scored. The only scoreless player was Allen, who missed his only field goal attempt.

For the injury-riddled Lakers, Kent Bazemore scored a game- and career-high 23 points. Wesley Johnson had 15, and Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks tallied 13 apiece. Marshon Brooks had 11 off the bench.

The Lakers, who have lost two straight games and six of their last seven, continue to be without stars Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee) and Steve Nash (nerve root irritation). Tuesday, they were also minus Nick Young (left knee fracture) and Xavier Henry (right knee bone bruise).

With the win, the Pacers maintained the best record in the NBA and have a two-game lead on Miami for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Heat were idle Tuesday.

Indiana’s next game is Thursday against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.

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