Even on an off night, Bahamian professional basketball player with the Indiana Pacers Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield is finding ways to have an impact for his team in a close game on the road.
The Pacers had an improbable and shocking comeback 116-115 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, on Monday night, and Hield certainly did his part that lead to the dramatic conclusion. The Pacers became the first team in the National Basketball Association (NBA) this year to overcome a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and walked it off with a buzzer-beating three-point shot from rookie point guard Andrew Nembhard.
As for Hield, he finished with 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting on the night and was just 1-for-6 from three-point range. He had four key points in the fourth quarter, inclusive of two key free shots to pull them within four, 110-106, with 2:35 remaining, and a driving finger roll layup to pull them within one, 112-111, with 1:24 left on the clock.
Still, the Lakers were able to hold off the Pacers until Nembhard’s thrilling shot.
With the Pacers trailing by two, 115-113, Pacers’ starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton admitted he was looking for Hield in the waning seconds, but had to alter that plan after Lakers’ big man Anthony Davis charged hard in that direction. He spotted an open Nembhard beyond the three-point arc and decided to go in that direction. The decision certainly paid off as Nembhard buried the shot over a charging LeBron James.
Grand Bahama native Hield, who himself has two buzzer beaters in his career, was among a bevy of teammates who charged Nembhard afterwards in jubilant celebration. The Pacers, one of the surprise teams in the league this year, improved to a 12-8 win/loss record on the season – fourth in the Eastern Conference of the NBA, four and a half games behind the front-running Boston Celtics.
Haliburton, the league leader in assists at 11.3 per game, led the Pacers in scoring on Monday night. He scored 24 points and added 14 assists. Haliburton is nearly two assists per game ahead of the second-place person on the season’s top list, Trae Young, of the Atlanta Hawks at 9.4.
On Monday, sensational rookie shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin came off the bench to score 23 and added eight rebounds, Aaron Nesmith dropped in 16 and Hield and Turner contributed 15 apiece for the Pacers. Turner also had 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Davis had an all-around game for the Lakers with 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocks. Russell Westbrook came off the bench to score 24 and added four rebounds and six assists, and James contributed 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Austin Reaves had 13 off the bench for the Lakers.
Hield, the starting two-guard of the Pacers, has been the subject of trade rumors again this season. One of the latest propositions is him and veteran Myles Turner going to the Lakers but that is rumored to have fallen though because of Indiana’s insistence on getting unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029.
Hield, 29, is having another productive year, averaging 17.2 points on 42 percent shooting from the field. He is shooting 36.8 percent from distance and is tied for third in the league in made three-pointers at 71 for the season. Hield is also averaging 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and a career-high 1.1 assists per game.
Hield has gone under double digits scoring just twice this season and has hit at least one three point shot in every game. However, he has struggled from that distance in his last two games, going just 2-for-15. His two previous games, he went 8-for-19 from three-point range.
Hield and the Pacers stay on the west coast as they take on the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, tonight. That game tips off at 10 p.m.