Tuesday, November 27 at 10:30 PM EST at the Staples Center
Game Rewind: IND 79, LAL 77
by Scott Agness
Opening a weeklong West Coast trip in LA, the Pacers were seeking a quality road win to jumpstart their season. Kobe Bryant was a game-time decision after he missed shootaround with flu-like symptoms. In spite of the illness, he went off for 40 points, more than half the Lakers' total, but it wasn't enough. George Hill scored the Pacers' final four points, including a game-winning floater over Dwight Howard and the Pacers left the Staples Center with a win for the third straight year, 79-77.
The Pacers played at a high level on both ends of the floor for the first nine minutes. They went up 25-13 by connecting on 10 of their first 15 shots. After that, it was a struggle to put the ball in the hoop. The Lakers ended the first quarter on an 8-0 run, but were still behind, 25-21.
After missing their final eight shots of the first quarter, the Pacers would miss three more until D.J. Augustin ended the drought with a layup, 73 seconds into the second quarter. The Pacers fought through a stretch where they missed 21 of 22 shots, but managed to hold onto the lead.
The Pacers weren't the only ones struggling from the field. Kobe Bryant started 5-of-6 from the field but then hit just one of his final nine attempts in the half. Both the Pacers (29%) and the Lakers (22%) shot it poorly in the second quarter. A flush from Ian Mahinmi, who played extended time for a foul-plagued Roy Hibbert, gave the Pacers a 40-33 lead at the break.
Hibbert was called for his fourth foul less than a minute into the second half and would sit on the bench for the final seven minutes of the third quarter. Two buckets from George Hill and three free-throws from Mahinmi gave the Pacers a 53-40 lead, their biggest of the game. Bryant then rattled off eight points in a row, which kept his team in it.
The Pacers entered the final quarter up four, but hit only one of their first nine shots and then a three-pointer from Bryant brought the Lakers within one. Next, both teams went on a spurt. First, the Pacers scored seven in a row followed by eight straight from the Lakers to tie the game at 74.
In the late stages of the game, David West was fouled and hit the first of two free-throws. Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace then missed four straight free-throws for the Lakers. Hill took the ball down the floor and hit a floater in the lane with under a minute to go, but Bryant responded with a clutch three-pointer to tie the game at 77. With 24.5 seconds remaining, the Pacers had the ball and Hill held on to it until driving into the lane and making a layup over Howard with 0.1 on the clock, sealing their first signature victory of the season.
Inside the Numbers
Kobe Bryant finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds and 10 turnovers in almost 44 minutes of action, all while feeling under the weather. It was his 114th career 40+ point night and the fourth straight time that Bryant had at least 30 points against the Pacers.
Four Pacers scored in double-figures, led by George Hill who had 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and of course, the game-winner. David West came close to a triple-double, recording 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Paul George added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Ian Mahinmi chipped-in a season-high 11 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes of quality work. Hibbert was in foul trouble most of the night and Mahinmi filled in nicely.
Free-throws were brutal both ways. The Pacers were 17-of-27 (63%) and the Lakers were 23-of-43. Dwight Howard was just 3-of-12 at the line and he missed two in the final minute.
Lakers' starters Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, and Darius Morris combined to shoot 3-of-23 from the field.
"It's a huge confidence-booster. What enabled us to build steam towards the second half of last year, and have a great second half of last year, was early road wins. We hadn't gotten any yet this year, and we talked about it and said this is our opportunity to get that first quality road win, and the guys came through." – Frank Vogel on the win
"He works on the floater more than anybody I've ever met, it's his money shot. It won the Toronto game for us, and both of those shots won the game for us tonight." – Frank Vogel on George Hill
"That's why Ian Mahinmi is here; to have a legitimate backup center with size and physicality that you can put on, specifically guys like Dwight Howard and the other big centers in the league. He was huge the whole game, he did a great job on Dwight." – Frank Vogel on Mahinmi's extended time
"Coach drew up a play to isolate me and D-West for a middle pick and roll, if they came and pressured me to get rid of the ball, try to get D-West for the game winner, if not, go for the game winner myself. I saw Pau Gasol top foot up and just decided to attack that." – George Hill on his game winner
"We take pride in playing defense... We can defend with the best teams in the league. You know tonight, this team's got a lot of weapons—they got Kobe, they got Dwight, Pau. I just thought we did a good job of loosening up our coverages and making things tough for them." – David West on their defense
"It was a tough game for us because we didn't make shots and on top of that we didn't make free throws. But like I said I got to minimize my mistakes. Ten turnovers is way too many for me so I have to work on perfecting that and bringing that down." – Kobe Bryant on the loss
Stat of the Game
The Pacers held the Lakers to a season-low 31.6% from the field.
- David West and Kobe Bryant were given technical fouls in the third quarter.
- Sam Young was given a technical foul in the fourth quarter.
- Celebrities in attendance: Ashton Kutcher, Kaley Cuoco, David Beckham, and Jack Black.
- The Pacers have now won three of their last four games.
The Pacers will get two days of practice before playing Sacramento on Friday at 10 PM EST. Then, they'll fly immediately to Golden State for the second half of a back-to-back.
Next Pacers Game Against the Lakers
See the rematch live in Bankers Life Fieldhouse when the Lakers visit Indiana on Friday, March 15, at 7:00 p.m. The only way to secure seats is through a Season Ticket Pack or Plan. Get a free Pacers stocking and save money over the premium single-game price when you purchase a Gold Swagger Holiday Pack by visiting Pacers.com/Holiday or calling (317) 917-2827. Each Holiday Pack starts at $60 and includes Pacers games against the LA Lakers, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks, among other great matchups. Single-game tickets are not available for this game until January, so buy your Gold Swagger Holiday Pack now at Pacers.com/Holiday or by calling (317) 917-2827.