LeBron James landmark as Lakers thrashed by Pacers

LOS ANGELES (Agencies): LeBron James became the fifth player in NBA history to pass 32,000 points and fell to the biggest defeat of his career on the same night.

James, 34, scored 18 points for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 136-94 defeat at the Indiana Pacers.

He had not previously lost by more than 36 points in his 16-year career.

James – who was rested for Saturday’s defeat at Golden State – said he was “on my way to being myself again” after returning from a groin injury.

The Lakers have now won 27 and lost 27 during the season and sit 10th in the Western Conference.

“Bottom line, we have to be better,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton.

Pacers fans chanted “Lebron’s going to trade you” at Lakers guard Brandon Ingram during the match, referring to rumours that the franchise had offered as many as six players in a trade to land New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.

When asked about the speculation, James said: “I know it’s got to be tough on a lot of our guys, especially our young guys.

“They’ve just never been a part of it, and they’re hearing it every single day. I know that the worst thing you can do right now is be on social media.

“And I know all young guys love to be on social media. That definitely can’t help.”

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 24 points for the Pacers as the team matched their own record of scoring 19 three pointers, while the Lakers managed just four.

To say the Los Angeles Lakers struggled on Tuesday night would be an understatement.

The Lakers fell to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 136-94 on Tuesday, marking their second-straight loss. The 42-point blunder also marked the worst loss by any LeBron James-led team in his 16-year NBA career when he’s played. He has previously lost by 36 points twice.

It was that bad.

The Lakers, who had fallen into a 23-point hole at halftime, never led in the contest. Late in the fourth quarter, the Pacers had easily built up a 46-point lead. And while their field goal percentage wasn’t awful — the Lakers shot 35-of-75 from the field — they went just 4-of-19 from behind the 3-point line.

“We know we have to be a lot better,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the game, via Spectrum Sports Net. “There’s a million excuses that we can come up with — the travel, the first game coming across the country, all the trade, all everything else. But bottom line we have to be better, and we will be.”

Pacers fans had plenty of fun throughout the rout, too. They were heard chanting at multiple Lakers players, including once at Brandon Ingram while he was shooting free throws, yelling “LeBron’s going to trade you.”

James led the Lakers with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, shooting 7-of-12 from the field. He did pass the 32,000-point mark on Tuesday, however, becoming just the fifth player in league history to do so.

JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson added 16 points and 13 points off the bench, respectively, and Ingram and Kyle Kuzma each added 12.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 24 points, shooting 10-of-17 from the field, and Myles Turner added 22 points. Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner and Domantas Sabonis each dropped 17 points off the bench.

The Lakers have been in turmoil ever since James injured his groin on Christmas Day. With him out for nearly five weeks, the Lakers plummeted in the Western Conference standings. The team has been vying for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis before the trade deadline, too, which, among other things, has reportedly caused multiple rifts in the locker room. There was even reportedly a “heated exchange” between multiple veterans and Walton on Saturday. While details of incident have been disputed, it’s clear that many on the Lakers are growing frustrated with the current state of the team.

“Tonight was not good,” Walton said. “We talk about our competitive spirit a lot. I praise our guys all the time about it … Tonight we didn’t have that spirit that we like to see. But look, there’s 82 games. It’s going to happen randomly throughout a season. The important thing is we just don’t let it happen again on Thursday.”

Walton, however, declined to say if Tuesday night’s blunder was partly a result of the uncertainty surrounding the team due to repeated trade rumors.

“It effects everyone differently,” Walton said. “I’ve seen and been part of teams where people can’t play because of it, and I’ve been on teams where nobody cares and you go out and do your job anyways. There’s not a specific answer to that. It’s different for everybody.”