GAME REWIND: LAKERS 109, PACERS 94
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FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
PACERS COACH JIM O'BRIEN
“They were clearly a superior group to our players tonight. They jumped on us and never really gave us a chance to get back in the game. They were obviously going to bring it and we didn’t match their intensity in the first half. We’ll have to evaluate and tweak some things to make sure we’re not getting shot in the foot early in the game. Gasol (Pau) is a great player and he certainly wasn’t happy about what happened in L.A. He had 14 points in the blink of an eye."
(On the last three losses) "I’m not very happy with the way we competed, in all candor. You’ve got to bring a certain ethic to the games and frankly we haven’t. You compete against 29 teams and if you don’t bring it, you can lose the game.”
PACERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON
“I think we could have played a little better. The Lakers are a heck of a team. They play well with one another. I still feel like our effort wasn’t there all the way. Coach had a good game plan. It’s nobody’s fault but the players."
(On the Lakers coming out hot) "You have to give them credit. They were hitting some nice shots. We stuck to the game plan and they were just hitting some shots. If we can play a little bit harder, we should be fine. We have to watch the film, see what we did wrong and go from there.”
PACERS GUARD MIKE DUNLEAVY
(On the Pacers recent stretch) "We just have to stick with it. We move on. Friday night we play Cleveland. We need to get a win then and go from there. It’s a long season. You go through some ups and downs. You can’t get too high when you win five straight and you can’t get too low when you lose a few in a row. That’s the kind of mentality we’re taking."
(On the Lakers hot start) "They just knocked us on our heels. I don’t know if it was us not being ready to play. Obviously they remember what happened out in L.A. and they hit us first. It just seemed like we didn’t recover from that all night long."
(On the play of Pau Gasol) "He’s a load down there. He’s a world champion and he’s a great player. He came out really aggressive and did a nice job for them. He was tough to handle.”
LAKERS COACH PHIL JACKSON
(On the start of the game) "We’ve had a couple good starts. It was our defense. It was terrific. It wasn’t revenge. These guys remembered the Pacers celebrating in Staples. We don’t like to give up 30 point quarters. And we like Kobe to make his presence felt. He went out and made a great effort in the second half. Last time their centers scored 38 points. It makes a big difference. This game we came out with defense."
(On his history with the Pacers) "Market Square Arena - there were a lot of high moments there. Miller (Reggie) and MJ (Michael Jordan) going at it under the basket in 97-98. The Lakers had their way here in 2000. This is a franchise you want to see do well. Such a big basketball state.”
LAKERS GUARD KOBE BRYANT
(On the difference between this game and the game in L.A.) "We came out with more energy, more focus, and a sense of urgency. From the beginning at both ends we were very involved. We wanted to put some pressure on Hibbert by getting Pau in some isolation situations and if you noticed tonight we were moving him around a lot more, making the defense move."
(On his approach to the game) "The defense was collapsing on me in the first half, so I was a facilitator. In the second half, things started to open up a little bit and I was able to get some shots. It just depends on the flow of the game. In certain games, you can do both at the same time."
(On the Pacers) "I like them. I like them a lot. They play well together. They play hard. They’re well coached. And I’ll be very surprised if they are not in the playoffs at the end of the year.”
LAKERS CENTER PAU GASOL
(On avenging the loss in L.A.) "We wanted to come in here and make sure that we played a good game and were able to get a win. We knew that it would be a tough game, but we were more accustomed to their playing style. So we wanted to play more aggressive and be more assertive and fortunately it paid off. We’re not too happy with losing the third and fourth quarters. But overall it was a positive game for us. It’s not easy to win at Staples."
(On Pacers reaction to winning in L.A.) "I don’t blame them for celebrating. That game was more our fault. So we wanted to come in here and get a W.”
Lakers get payback on Pacers
If the Lakers wanted to make a statement, it was delivered with an exclamation point.
Jumping all over the Pacers from the opening minutes, riding Pau Gasol in the first half and Kobe Bryant in the second, the Lakers got payback by dominating Indiana 109-94 Wednesday before a sellout crowd of 18,165 in Conseco Fieldhouse.
With a 95-92 victory on Nov. 28, their first ever in Staples Center, the Pacers were trying to sweep the season series for the first time since 1991-92 but that notion was quickly dispelled as the Lakers built a 29-10 first-quarter lead and were never threatened.
Bryant scored 31 and Gasol 28 for the Lakers. Darren Collison was Indiana's high scorer with 17.
The Pacers lost their third in a row and fell to 2-6 in December. They're 11-13 overall, the first time they've been two games under .500 this season, 6-6 at home. The Lakers improved to 19-7 overall, 9-5 on the road with their sixth win in seven games. They improved to 4-1 on their current seven-game road trip.
- "They were clearly a superior group to our players tonight. They jumped on us and never really gave us a chance to get back in the game. They were obviously going to bring it and we didn’t match their intensity in the first half." – Pacers Coach Jim O'Brien.
- "They just knocked us on our heels. I don’t know if it was us not being ready to play. Obviously they remember what happened out in L.A. and they hit us first. It just seemed like we didn’t recover from that all night long." – Pacers guard Mike Dunleavy.
"These guys remembered the Pacers celebrating in Staples." – Lakers Coach Phil Jackson.
- "I like (the Pacers). I like them a lot. They play well together. They play hard. They’re well coached. And I’ll be very surprised if they are not in the playoffs at the end of the year.” – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
STAT OF THE GAME
Gasol scored 14 of the Lakers' first 21 points and wound up scoring 21 on 9-of-11 shooting in the first half. Bryant scored 17 of the Lakers' first 23 points in the second half and wound up with 25 on 9-of-14 shooting after intermission.
Slow starts have plagued the Pacers of late, falling behind 25-8 in the first quarter Monday in Chicago and 43-21 in the second quarter Saturday in Chicago. The early malaise bit them again as the Lakers rode the red-hot Gasol to a big early lead. It took the visits a little more than four minutes to build a 17-4 lead and and the Lakers led 29-10 less than eight minutes into game – and Bryant had not even attempted a shot.
The second unit provided a brief spark, closing to 31-19 but when Gasol returned in the second quarter the Lakers took off again, stretching the lead to 48-24 with a 10-point run. The Lakers shot 61 percent and outrebounded the Pacers 27-10 in the half.
The Pacers had better offensive flow and overall energy in the second half but Bryant wouldn't let them get back in the game. He scored the Lakers' first 10 points of the half as the Pacers simply could not make a significant dent in the margin. Only a late flurry in the final minutes shaved the deficit.
BY THE NUMBERS
Collison shot 7-of-12 and had six assists without a turnover for the Pacers. Brandon Rush started and scored 16 points with four rebounds. Danny Granger continued to struggle with his shot (5-of-13 overall, 1-of-4 from the arc) and totaled just 13 points with four turnovers. Roy Hibbert also struggled (6-of-14) and totaled just 12 points and six rebounds, though he blocked three shots. Dunleavy had 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting off the bench and James Posey was solid with eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Pacers shot 57 percent in the second half and wound up at 46.9 percent for the game but were 6-of-21 from the 3-point line and were dominated on the board 51-29. They committed a season-low seven turnovers.
Bryant's 31 came on 11-of-18 shooting, 4-of-8 from the 3-point line. He added six assists and three rebounds
Gasol was just 1-of-6 in the second half to finish 10-of-17 overall, adding eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks to his 28 points, Lamar Odom had 13 points and 17 rebounds, and Ron Artest scored 13. The Lakers shot 51.2 percent overall.
- Tyler Hansbrough who did not play in the first half, started the second half in place of Josh McRoberts at power forward and wound up with four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes.
- The Pacers dropped to 4-12 when they fail to make at least 10 three-pointers.
- Indiana has been outrebounded 249-183 in the last five games, an average deficit of 13.2.
- Granger has shot 8-of-35 (.229) from the 3-point line in his last six games.
- Indiana tied its season-low with four offensive rebounds and scored a season-low two second chance points.
- The Pacers' 29 total rebounds are their fewest of the season. L.A.'s starters had more rebounds (31) than the Pacers team.
The Pacers' three-game homestand continues Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Indiana already is 2-0 against Cleveland this season, winning 100-89 at
home on Nov. 23 and 99-85 on the road on Nov. 13.
- Conrad Brunner, Pacers.com