The Indiana Pacers are partying like it’s 1999. That year would be the last time a Pacer team won a game against the Lakers in the city of Los Angeles. Confounding the disastrous 95-92 Lake Show loss was the fact that this also marked the first time the Pacers have ever won in Staples Center.
A listless first half eventually gave way to desperation late. Much like Friday’s game in Utah, the Lakers did a lot of standing around and watching Kobe Bryant operate. Sensing the game was getting away, Mamba manned up in the third and tried to take the game over in the fourth. However, his game-high 41 points weren’t enough.
Almost no other Laker was involved offensively in this contest. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol were the only others to drop double digits. With regards to Pau, he was severely outplayed by his counterpart Roy Hibbert.
Hibbert’s 24 and 12 showed just how much the Lakers miss Andrew Bynum. In addition to his offensive production, Hibbert’s defense frustrated Pau as the Spaniard went an unacceptable 5 of 15 from the field. There is little doubt that the big minutes Pau is playing are taking their toll. Tonight, Gasol was on the court for a ridiculous 45 minutes. Not only are Pau’s tired legs missing Bynum, the Lakers missed Drew’s interior presence especially on the Pacers’ last possession of the game.
With Gasol coming out to defend on the pick and roll, Hibbert did a quick slip-screen and bolted to the hoop. Waiting for him was a red carpet rolled out leading to a clear, uncontested path to the bucket. Hibbert’s dunk would be the final nail in the coffin.
A couple of desperate three point attempts from Kobe and another Ron Artest debacle were the last gasp efforts that let the Lake Show down.
All night long, Indiana out-hustled the Lakers to loose balls and consistently extended possessions with offensive rebounds. There was no sense of urgency on behalf of Phil Jackson’s team until it was too late.
Up next is a back-to-back road swing that won’t leave the Lakers mush time to rest. Yet another two game losing streak, the second in the last three weeks has this squad back to square one. The Lakers took tonight off, plain and simple. Give the Pacers credit but in the end, despite sleep walking through the entire game, the Lake Show still had a W in their sights. Imagine what the score might have been had the Lakers actually tried a little harder.