Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 10:30 PM ET at the Staples Center
Game Preview: Pacers (34-9) at Lakers (16-29)
Scott Agness | January 26, 2014
The Pacers’ five-game road trip that has zigzagged back and forth to California wraps up in Los Angeles against the 16-time champions Tuesday night. The Pacers (34-9) have had recent success in L.A., winners of their past three meetings at the Staples Center after losing the first 11 times.
Ravaged due to injuries, the Lakers have the third-worst record in the Western Conference, 16-29, and are almost 10 games out of the final playoff spot. They’ve used 22 different starting lineups and had six different players start at point guard. Their leader, Kobe Bryant, missed the first 19 games of the season after having his Achilles repaired in the offseason. Six games later, he fractured his knee and has been out ever since.
Point guard Steve Nash, who’s 39, has missed all but six games. Offseason signee Nick Young leads the Lakers with 17 points per game off the pine. Four-time All-Star Pau Gasol is always a threat inside, and he’s averaging 16.7 points and 10 rebounds a game.
This game will be the Lakers' first game home after seven straight on the road for what’s commonly referred to as their Grammy tour, as the awards show invades the Staples Center. Morale is perhaps low on the team, as they’ve now 10 of their last 12 games, including four straight. However, it’s important to note that 10 of those dozen games were played on the road.
The Pacers, meanwhile, look to rebound from a loss Saturday night in Denver. Slow starts have been resulting in big deficits over the last three games. They’ve allowed an average of 115 points in those games, and trailed by 10 or more at halftime.
With many players having California roots, they enjoy swinging by Los Angeles. Danny Granger has an offseason home nearby, rookie Solomon Hill was born in L.A. and Orlando Johnson played college ball at UC Santa Barbara a few hours away. Paul George grew up about 60 miles north up in Palmdale, so he always has a big number of fans in the crowd. And although he was a Clippers fan, as he prefers the underdog, George idolized Kobe Bryant.
Lakers: Steve Blake (out, torn ulnar collateral ligament), Kobe Bryant (out, fractured left knee), Jordan Farmar (out, left hamstring tear), Xavier Henry (out, right knee bone bruise), Steve Nash (out, nerve root irritation)
“We weren’t as sharp as we could be, and that’s what the point of emphasis was (Monday) in the film session and practice. It’s a minor defensive slippage, nothing that’s too alarming, but [we’re] just trying to tighten the screws.” – Frank Vogel
“Every team’s been playing well as of late against us so we’ve got to expect them to come out hot like Phoenix did, like Sacramento did, like Denver did. This is not going to be (an) easy game for us.” – Paul George
"We dig ourselves a hole, and sometimes we can get out of it. (Saturday) we couldn’t.” – Roy Hibbert
“It’s more than family that comes out. I got teachers, family, friends, friends of friends. In the building, I might have close to about 50 to 60 people there supporting me. It’s always fun going back home, playing in L.A. and just growing up being around the Staples Center, it’s always fun going there.” – Paul George on playing at the Staples Center
- The season series last year was split, with both teams stealing one on the road. Five of the last nine meetings have been decided by three points or less.
- The Lakers are 8-11 at home and just 2-5 when hosting Eastern Conference opponents.
- Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) played with the Pacers from 2002-06 and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. Lakers assistant Johnny Davis played with the Pacers from 1978-82.
March 15: The Pacers committed far too many mental mistakes — poor communication, defensive breakdowns, lack of execution — in a 99-93 home loss to the Lakers. Less than 48 hours after badly spraining his left ankle, Kobe Bryant started and played the first 12 minutes but wasn’t much of a factor. After Indiana came up empty on three consecutive offensive possessions, Dwight Howard converted a 3-point play and Antawn Jamison buried a triple to give the Lakers just their third road win of the season against a team with a winning record.
George Hill led all scorers with 27 points and Paul George had 20 on 6-of-20 shooting. Five Lakers scored 15 or more, and Dwight Howard was above them all with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Metta World Peace, playing against his former team, added 19. Indiana’s bench was outscored 37-19. The Lakers assisted on 27-of-33 field goals.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)