THE FACTS: Pacers guard George Hill ended a painful night for the Lakers with one final kick in the ribs, scoring on a last-second layup to give Indiana a 79-77 victory Tuesday night at Staples Center.
QUOTABLE: "It's a play, where if they help, [Hill] has to throw it back to [David West]. If they don't, then he's trying to turn the corner. It's a slip play to bait them into help and have George try to turn a corner and get a shot."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel
THE STAT: The Lakers, hoping to improve their offense with the firing of coach Mike Brown on Nov. 9 and the hiring of Mike D'Antoni two days later, took a big step backwards against Indiana. They shot 31.6 percent from the floor (24-for-76), 53.5 percent from the free-throw line (23-for-43) and committed 21 turnovers. Just as surprising was their six fast-break points. D'Antoni's up-tempo style is supposed to lead to easier baskets in transition. Instead, the Lakers appear to be getting beat by the same medicine.
TURNING POINT: The Lakers never would have faced down Hill with the game on the line on the final possession if they made their free throws. The final blow was back-to-back misses by both Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace on the same trip down the floor with just under a minute remaining and L.A. trailing by a point. Kobe Bryant, who scored 40 points, drained a 3-pointer to tie the score with 24.5 seconds remaining, but that just gave Hill enough time to drive on World Peace and lay the ball high off the glass and through the rim with 0.1 seconds remaining on the game clock. HOT: Hill emerged as a full-time starter in Indiana after the Pacers traded Darren Collison to Dallas in the offseason. He continues to show much poise as the floor leader, finishing with a team-high 19 points, five rebounds and five assists. He managed to shoot 7-for-12 from the field on a night when Indiana shot 29-for-79 (36.7 percent).
NOT: Besides their shooting woes from nearly every spot on the court, the Lakers had some miserable individual performances as well. Darius Morris, holding down the starting point guard duties while Steve Nash and Steve Blake recover from injuries, took a step back, finishing 0-for-6 from the floor, 1-for-4 from the free-throw line and he did not record an assist in 23 minutes. The starting forward combo of Pau Gasol and World Peace combined to shoot 3-for-17 from the floor and L.A.'s bench was 2-for-15.
GOOD MOVE: The Pacers didn't dare give Bryant another chance to shoot the ball in the final seconds, allowing Hill to hold the ball at the top of the 3-point line and let the shot clock run inside five seconds before driving toward the basket.
BAD MOVE: Veteran referee Joe Crawford is known for calling technical fouls without hesitation, but he probably should have waited another couple seconds to call one on Bryant with 1:26 remaining in the third quarter. The Pacers were well on their way to a fast break when Crawford stopped play to give Bryant the technical. The Pacers made the free throw to push their led to five but then turned the ball over on the ensuing possession. That extra point nearly made a difference in the game.
QUOTABLE II: "It was just awful, just bad shooting."
NOTABLE: Bryant, who missed the morning shootaround with flu-like symptoms, played a season-high 44 minutes. He scored at least 40 points for the 114th time in his career but needed 28 shots to get there. He grabbed 10 rebounds but also committed 10 turnovers. ... World Peace finished with a team-high 12 rebounds, the first time he finished in double digits in that category since taking 12 in March 2008. ... The Pacers, who came in leading the NBA in rebounding at 48.4 a game, finished with 62 boards. The Lakers had 70.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. Denver, Sunday vs. Orlando, Tuesday @ Houston. For the Pacers, Friday @ Sacramento, Saturday @ Golden State, Tuesday @ Chicago.
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