Lakers Gameday | 01/09/09 | Lakers 121, Pacers 119
Western Conference Standing : 1
Streak: Won 2
Eastern Conference Standing : 13
Streak: Lost 1
|Injury Report||Injury Report|
---Francisco Gomez, Lakers.com
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Quotes
|Los Angeles Lakers||Indiana Pacers|
Kobe takes over down stretch as Lakers edge Pacers
LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant made a tiebreaking jumper with 3 seconds left and scored the Lakers' last 11 points, giving Los Angeles a 121-119 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
Bryant finished with 36 points and 13 assists. After his turnaround jumper, the Pacers took a timeout but were unable to get off a shot before the final buzzer.
The Lakers improved their home record to 19-2 and remained tied with Cleveland for the best overall record in the league at 29-6. The Cavaliers beat Boston 98-83 in Cleveland earlier Friday to improve their home mark to 19-0.
The Pacers' Danny Granger scored 28 points before fouling out with 47 seconds remaining. Troy Murphy had 24 and Mike Dunleavy, whose 3-pointer with 27 seconds left drew the Pacers even at 119, finished with 22 points.
Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, and Andrew Bynum had 20 points.
The game was tight all the way, but the Lakers never trailed after an 11-2 run that began with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter. Bryant had nine points during that spurt, which gave Los Angeles a 96-84 lead heading into the fourth.
Gasol had 17 points and Bryant 14 during the high-scoring first half, but Granger had 16 and Murphy 14 and the Lakers were up just 68-66. No more than six points separated the teams in the half, when there were 10 lead changes.
Gasol had 11 of Los Angeles' 41 points during the first quarter, but the Lakers couldn't shake the Pacers, who trailed by just five after the first 12 minutes. Granger had 10 points to help Indiana stay close.
With shooters on both teams getting open looks during a mostly defenseless first quarter, the Pacers went 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) from the floor and the Lakers were 17-of-24 (70.8).
Los Angeles finished 56.8 percent from the floor and Indiana shot 48.8 percent.
by Mike Trudell, Lakers.com
On Dec. 2nd in Indiana, Pacers forward Troy Murphy tipped in a Marquis Daniels miss to buzzer-beat the Lakers, who had led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter. The Lakers look for revenge Friday night at STAPLES against a team that welcomed back Mike Dunleavy Jr. from injury just this Wednesday in a last-second win at Phoenix.
To break down the squad from Indianapolis, we talked to Pacers Director of Internet Marketing Conrad Brunner.
Lakers - Pacers Preview
The Indiana Pacers look like they've finally shaken their season-long struggle to win close games. That might not do them much good if they can't stay competitive against the Western Conference-best Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers look to improve to 19-2 at Staples Center as they go for their eighth win in nine games overall Friday night against the Pacers.
Indiana (13-22) is stuck at the bottom of the Central Division in large part because of its inability to win tight games. The Pacers are 0-4 in overtime and were 3-11 in games decided by six points or fewer after dropping four straight by a combined 12 points from Dec. 23-30.
Indiana, though, has reversed its fortunes in January, opening the month 3-1 with wins by two, five and three points. Danny Granger made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 113-110 road victory over Phoenix on Wednesday night.
"When I got that open look, I let it go," said Granger, who scored 37 points with five 3-pointers. "I'm always confident it's going in the hole. I got two screens and made the shot. This is a big momentum builder for us."
Pacers coach Jim O'Brien thinks experience in close games has helped his young team take some big steps lately.
"We've won three out of the last four ballgames and they were all tight," he said. "We're learning by being in so many close games."
The Pacers pulled off a close victory over the Lakers (28-6) in Indianapolis on Dec. 2, when Troy Murphy's tip-in at the buzzer gave them a 118-117 win.
However, the Lakers - tied with Cleveland for the best record in the league - still present an enormous challenge, particularly at Staples Center, where they've won 18 of 20 games. Los Angeles, which leads the West in point differential at 9.3, is beating opponents by an average of 10.8 at home.
Though the Lakers lost their last home game 116-105 to New Orleans on Tuesday night, they rebounded with a 114-106 road victory over Golden State on Wednesday.
Pau Gasol, held to 10 points, eight rebounds and 3-for-8 shooting against the Hornets, was one point shy of a season high with 33 against the Warriors. He added a career high-tying 18 rebounds and went 12-for-21 from the field.
"I always like to bounce back aggressively after a game that I don't consider satisfying for me," Gasol said. "The positive thing we did tonight was throw the ball (into the low post) and go to work. You have to have balance in your game, and you have to take advantage of your strengths."
The Lakers did that in their first game against the Pacers. They shot 51.3 percent from the field and had six players score in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant's 28 points.
Los Angeles didn't do its part on defense, however, giving up a season-high point total and getting outrebounded 50-41. Granger had 32 points in that game.
Granger, averaging 36.0 points over his last three games, should get plenty of help with Mike Dunleavy back from a knee injury that sidelined him for the first two months of the season. He had 14 points off the bench in his season debut Wednesday.
"It felt great to be back and to get a win and a win in that fashion is terrific," said Dunleavy, Indiana's second-leading scorer with 19.1 points per game last season. "We need to get some wins and to get this one tonight, we'll take it. ... To win a game like that is like a cherry on a sundae."
Including the 2000 NBA finals, Indiana has lost all 12 games it has played against the Lakers at Staples Center.
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NOTES & CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail their season series with the Pacers 0-1 after losing in Indiana on a Troy Murphy tip-in at the buzzer on December 2. The Lakers swept last season’s series with Indiana (2-0) after having split each of the previous four season series with the Pacers 1-1. This will be the 71st meeting between the two franchises with the Lakers leading the all-time series 51-19. The Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 overall games against the Pacers. At STAPLES Center, however, the Lakers are 9-0 all-time against Indiana in the regular season and 3-0 in the playoffs. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 11-6 against Indiana in the regular season and 4- 2 in the playoffs. Last season, the Lakers snapped a four-game losing streak at Indiana with a 134-114 victory November 20, 2007 but are still just 3-7 at Conseco Fieldhouse since it opened in 1999 following their loss there earlier this season. In 22 career games (19 starts), Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.2 points against the Pacers and owns the series scoring record with 45 points 1/9/06 vs. Indiana at STAPLES Center. In 14 career games (all starts) against Indiana, Pau Gasol (21.2 points) is also averaging 20-plus points versus the Pacers for his career with a highgame of 31 points. Only Bryant, Derek Fisher and current Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw were on the court for Los Angeles in the 2000 NBA Finals versus Indiana while no players remain from the Pacer’s 2000 Eastern Conference Champion team. Additionally, Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. is the son of former Lakers head coach and current Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. as well as a former Lakers ball boy.
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