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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 16 30 22 31 99
Play by Play Denver Nuggets 19 22 28 24 93
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Bryant leaves early, but Lakers beat Pacers 99-93

By MICHAEL MAROT


Posted Mar 15 2013 10:03PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Kobe Bryant lasted just one quarter on a severely sprained left ankle, then watched Dwight Howard complete a go-ahead, three-point play with 90 seconds left Friday night to help the Los Angeles Lakers hold off the Indiana Pacers, 99-93.

Bryant started two nights after he was hurt but was ineffective. He went 0 for 4 in the first quarter, then went to the bench and did not return. He spent the second half holding a black box with wires running down to the injured ankle as he cheered on the Lakers (35-32).

Howard finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Metta World Peace had 19 points.

George Hill scored 27 points and Paul George had 20 for Indiana.

It looked like Indiana (40-25) would take advantage of Bryant's absence, pulling ahead early in the third quarter. But Howard's three-point play broke an 87-all tie and the Lakers closed the game on a 10-3 run.

After the final buzzer sounded, Bryant gave his teammates high-fives and hobbled into the locker room.

It wasn't clear whether Bryant would play Saturday night when Los Angeles returns home to play Sacramento.

Bryant wasn't the only player struggling on this strange night.

Los Angeles opened the game by missing its first five shots. The Pacers opened the second quarter 0 for 6. And neither team topped the 30 percent shooting mark until the final 2 1/2 minutes of the half.

The other stars had trouble, too. George, the Pacers' All-Star, started 0 for 4, and Howard, another All-Star, was called for two personal fouls and a technical less than five minutes into the game.

Even the officials found themselves making corrections, twice adding time to the clock in the final five seconds of the first half.

How odd was it?

Bryant wasn't just coaching and contesting calls from the bench, he even diagrammed a play for Howard after the center went to the bench midway through the second quarter with his third foul.

And then there were the oddities of the game.

Indiana used an early 8-0 run to take a 19-8 lead, then gave up 12 straight points. When the Lakers followed that rally with an 18-5 run - with Howard on the bench for part of it after picking up his third foul and Bryant on the bench for all of - the Lakers led 39-28.

The Pacers, the NBA's fifth-best home team, closed on a 13-7 run to get within 46-41 at the half.

Indiana continued its charge early in the third, using a 15-4 spurt to take a 56-50 lead, then let the Lakers come back and eventually took a 69-68 lead into the fourth.

Notes: The Pacers are now 26-8 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season. ... In the final 5.2 seconds of the first half, there were two replay reviews, a 20-second timeout, time added to the clock twice and no points. ... The Lakers are 6-8 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with three straight wins on the Pacers' home court. ... Earlier Friday, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said forward Pau Gasol could return in the next few days. He hasn't played since early February after tearing the plantar fascia in his right foot.


Copyright 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

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Points Hill (IND), 27
Rebounds Howard, 12
Assists Nash, 9
Steals Blake, 4
Blocks Howard, 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the best road win of the year:
"Well we fell in love with the three, I told them, but they fell in love with it. I couldn’t keep them from it. (Laughing) But no, we played hard, we played very well defensively. I thought Steve Blake and Metta (World Peace) on the defensive end were unbelievable. And Steve Blake was just unbelievable. You watch him, it’s just like a clinic. Everybody contributed, everybody came in, Antawn (Jamison) was huge and Dwight (Howard) was huge the whole game, able to stay out of foul trouble."

On the worst shooting quarter of the season:
"Well they shot bad too. Hopefully we played a little defense but both teams shot bad. We, I think both of us had open shots and we missed them. That gave us a chance to stay in there and eventually a couple of guys caught fire.” "




Metta World Peace:

On how they were able to win without Kobe Bryant:
"It was definitely a team effort, every time we go into another team’s building we just want to get stops. I feel real good. Steve Blake hit some big shots tonight. We just played. I had a good game but I missed a couple of chippies. But we’ll just move on to the next game. The ball moved out there. Kobe helped us on the bench a lot by yelling out our screen and roll coverages."

Was this your best win of the season:
“Definitely, it was our best win of the season. It’s been an up and down year, not to our fans liking as far as the record is concerned. But I would say it’s our best win of the season.”




Steve Nash:

“It was a great team effort. Steve Blake was outstanding, Antawn made some huge plays, Dwight stayed with it despite his foul trouble. It was real physical and he missed a couple of shots down there but he stayed with it. You look around and Metta played great, everyone was great, it was fun.”

On late in the game:
“They tried to put us in a tough position at the end with George Hill in the pick and roll a lot. But we were able to make him miss a few and I thought we just did a solid job defending them.”

On improvement in the team:
“I just think we’re more comfortable, we are playing more together. After going through all the change and the injuries…you guys are probably sick of us saying it but it’s true. I’m confident that we can repeat this performance, but we have to keep winning games.”




Frank Vogel:

“The Lakers played a better basketball game than we did. We had too many breakdowns. We quit following the game plan. Guarding the 3-point line tonight was probably the biggest of the mental breakdowns. We left shooters left and right, a variety of different ways. We didn’t play a good basketball game. We missed a lot of layups but give them credit. They have a monster in the middle and a great wing defender in World Peace.”




David West:

“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity we had. We just didn’t defend the three and mentally made some errors that cost us. I thought we just mentally broke down a couple of times. We just gave up some plays we should not have given up. Again, I don’t think we came out and took advantage of the opportunity. I thought in order for us to beat a team like this, I have to play better than I played. I’m really disappointed we let this one go.”




George Hill:

On the reason for the loss:
“Mental mistakes. We were talking all game long about staying home on the shooters. Steve Blake has been shooting it very well over the last couple of games. We just didn’t do the job tonight…We let them get off from the three point line and normally we’re one of the best teams guarding the paint and the three. It got away from us tonight.”

On the Pacers’ offense:
“Our goal is to get a shot every possession. We were making a lot of turnovers, making a lot of crazy plays. When you do those things you’re not going to stay in the game long against a good team. Even without Kobe they’re a great team.”

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LAKERS-PACERS PREVIEW

By JORDAN GARRETSON

Posted Mar 14 2013 12:11PM

The Los Angeles Lakers have looked much more promising in recent weeks as they've made a push for the playoffs. Amid all the challenges they have faced in a tumultuous season, though, the latest might be the most difficult yet.

After a stunning injury to Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles will play its first game without its superstar guard Friday night when they visit the Indiana Pacers.

Bryant is out indefinitely with a severely sprained left ankle suffered on a missed game-tying shot in the closing seconds of a 96-92 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday. He landed on Dahntay Jones' foot and there is no timetable for his return.

The Lakers have 16 games remaining.

"I'll just do what I have to do," said Bryant, among the league leaders with 27.5 points per game.

Jones wasn't called for a foul on the play, which Bryant felt was dirty because Jones slid under him.

"I can't get my mind past the fact that I have to wait a year to get revenge," he said, as Los Angeles won't face Atlanta again until next season. "It's just a very, very dangerous play, especially when I'm fading away."

The Lakers (34-32) have recently found their stride in a season marked by lack of chemistry, occasional discord and injury, winning four straight and 17 of 23 prior to Wednesday. They own a half-game lead over the Jazz for eighth place in the Western Conference.

Jodie Meeks would likely figure to start in place of Bryant. Meeks is averaging 8.0 points in 19.1 minutes per game.

With Bryant out, the Lakers will almost certainly lean more heavily on center Dwight Howard, who has finally returned to form with 21.8 points and 16.2 rebounds over his last five contests. He averaged 15.9 points and 12.1 boards in his first 55 games.

Indiana center Roy Hibbert, like Howard, has been surging lately after some inconsistent play. Hibbert has scored 16.8 points per game while shooting 56.3 percent in his last six, compared to 10.0 and 42.0 in the previous 57.

He scored a season-high 27 with 12 rebounds in a 107-91 home win over Minnesota on Wednesday.

"You could see in his body language, he's just playing more confident," coach Frank Vogel told the team's official website. "We said all along that it was going to be a process and that he would snap out of it. He's playing well, not just tonight, but over the last few weeks."

The Pacers (40-24) need Hibbert to continue his strong production with Danny Granger out at least two more games due to knee soreness. Granger, who will have the knee re-evaluated at the end of the week, has missed all but five games and sat out four straight since that brief five-game return.

Granger didn't play in the teams' first meeting, a 79-77 Pacers road win Nov. 27. Bryant had 40 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers shot 31.9 percent. George Hill led Indiana with 19 points and David West added 16, 10 boards, eight assists and two blocks.

The Lakers have won three of the teams' last four matchups in Indianapolis, but that was with Bryant averaging 30.0 points in those contests.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #24 George  
  #4 JamisonPF #21 West  
  #12 Howard C #55 Hibbert  
  #5 Blake SG #1 Stephenson  
  #10 Nash PG #3 Hill  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(severe sprain, left ankle) is out indefinitely.
Earl Clark
(moderate sprain, right ankle) is questionable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
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Pacers Danny Granger
(sore left knee) is out.
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11/27 - IND 79 @ LAL 77
03/15 - LAL @ IND
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