Indiana 85, L.A. Lakers 72
INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 2 (Ticker) --
The already undermanned Los Angeles Lakers missed their O'Neal a lot more than the Indiana Pacers missed theirs.
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made just 9-of-27 shots but scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Pacers beat the Lakers for the first time in six tries, leading throughout an 85-72 victory.
added 16 points and seven rebounds and reserve Austin Croshere
added 12 and nine for the Pacers, who held the Lakers to 10 fewer points than their previous season low, set at Memphis on Jan. 21.
The Pacers were without All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal
, who suffered a neck strain in a 99-98 win over Boston on Saturday.
The Lakers were missing center Shaquille O'Neal, who was handed a one-game suspension by the NBA earlier Monday for criticizing officials in his team's 84-83 victory at Toronto on Sunday.
The Lakers, who also were missing injured stars Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone, shot just 21 percent (8-of-38) in a 26-point first half and 35 percent overall (25-of-72) as they suffered their 10th loss in 12 road games.
"I think Kobe and Malone are two great players, but with Shaquille in there, they are still a dominant team," Croshere said. "It requires you to account for someone who's physical presence alone changes the game. ... We were able to get to the basket without worrying about shotblockers. We didn't have to
double-team or worry about rotations."
"Anytime a guy like Shaq doesn't play, it's a break," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "But our guys also get geared up to play a guy like that. It's a quality win, Shaq or no Shaq. It's a good win, a solid win, even though they didn't have three of their great players."
Los Angeles, which also lost guard Kareem Rush after he rolled his right ankle in the third quarter, took nearly four minutes to score its first point and trailed 41-19 with 2:49 left in the first half. The Lakers pulled within nine points early in the fourth quarter but got no closer.
"It was no fun out there for us tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "It took us awhile to even hit the rim but I give our guys a lot of credit and take pride in the way they played in the second half. It was good to see how we kept playing and got it back down to (nine). It gave some of our guys an opportunity to play a lot of minutes."
Stanislav Medvedenko scored 14 points and Gary Payton added 10, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, who made only one of their nine 3-point attempts. Payton shot only 4-of-17 and had just two points in the first half.
"We just need to make shots, including myself," Payton said. "We rushed too many shots early in the game. We just have to compete a little better and we have to play with confidence. In the second half, we did a better job of being competitive, but we still need the big fella. We've just got to keep playing,
get through this stuff. This is one of the craziest seasons I've ever seen."
Los Angeles rookie Luke Walton's free throw with 32 seconds left in the first half prevented the Lakers from matching their franchise-low output for the first 24 minutes. Still, they set season lows for points in the first quarter (10) and half.
"The first half was a joke," said the Lakers' Horace Grant, who had eight points filling in for Shaquille O'Neal at center. "It was like that song, 'Who Are You?' The second half we put forth a much better effort We have to have confidence out there. In the first half, we didn't have any confidence. We were getting pushed around, complaining about the officials, (and) you just can't do that."