Lakers – Pacers Running Diary

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Previous L.A. – Pacers Running Diaries/Postgames
Lakers – Pacers Running Diary 12-02-2008

Joe Crawford Goes Nuts For Defenders
Despite a 110-100 loss to the Utah Flash, Los Angeles guard Joe Crawford set a franchise record scoring 44 points on 15-of-25 shooting in the loss, the top scoring performance in the D-League.

Inactives
Lakers: Jordan Farmar, Lamar Odom
Pacers: Maceo Baston, Marquis Daniels, Jamaal Tinsley

Is there such a thing as a revenge game between teams that play just twice in a season? Sure. Why not. Particularly when that first game featured a buzzer-beating loss in a game your squad led by as many as 16 in the final quarter. The Pacers already have wins over L.A., Boston, Houston and other solid squads this season, and their 13-22 record is not necessarily indicative of their talent or capability. They give the Lakers some problems in particular because of mismatches like Troy Murphy, a power forward who shoots threes and killed the Lakers on the offensive glass, plus sharp-shooting, bigger wings in Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Danny Granger, who’s put up at least 35 points in three consecutive games.

But the bottom line for L.A.’s game plan should be the same as it was against the Warriors on Wednesday: Get the ball inside to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and let them go to work while not getting caught up in the opponent’s style of play.

Starters:
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Vladi, Pau and Bynum
Pacers Jarrett Jack, Stephen Graham, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy and Roy Hibbert

First Quarter
9:38 Bryant cans a tough, fading-away triple at the end of the shot clock. Decent.

8:59 Radmanovic three. If anyone needed to make a three at a certain time, it was a struggling-considerably Vladi in his favorite corner spot. The Serbian’s swish made it 11-8 Lakers.

7:20 Granger, who should be an All-Star this year, canned a three for his seventh early point on 3-of-3 shooting to knot the game at 15. Kobe’s guarding him.

6:10 Bynum’s 17-footer (he can make this shot consistently) gave him five points, the same total as Gasol on a combined 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line. Game plan in effect. No reason to stop pounding it inside anytime soon if you’re the Lakers. In fact, Gasol would score again on the next possession for a 20-18 Lakers lead heading into a timeout at the 5:32 mark.

If you read the last running diary, you know we spent some time talking about favorite actors, movies, and such from Bynum for an article that’ll go up this weekend or early next week. One thing I didn’t mention is that when asked about his top fives, Bynum generally responded as follows: “I mess with ___.” Meaning, if I asked him his favorite actors, he’d go, “I mess with Keanu Reaves.” So that’s fun.

4:32 Vladi from three again. Swish again. However, Ariza was waiting to check in at the scorer’s table, so we’ll have to wait and see if his rhythm continues later in the game.

3:46 Josh Powell in for Gasol, a substitution we haven’t seen this early as Bynum’s usually the big going out first. JP paid off a minute later when he collected a loose ball (he was credited with an offensive board, though it looked like a steal) and stuck it back in for a 29-27 Lakers lead. That’s precisely the kind of play Powell seems to make with the consistency that Butterfingers taste good.

1:50 There’s that JP jumper for which we’ve been waiting (swish from 19 feet).

0:01 After fouling a jump shooter (we like your aggression, JPeezy, but don’t do that), Powell exploded off the baseline for a layup as time expired to give the Lakers a 41-36 lead after one.

By the way — both teams were absolutely on fire in the first quarter, as in, 17-for-24 from the Lakers (71 percent) and 13-of-17 from the Pacers (76.5 percent). Since Indiana made almost everything they took, they grabbed not a single offensive board, while L.A. did manage three offensive boards … but only four defensive. The Pacers collected three defensive boards, which has to be some kind of season low. Furthermore, the teams combined for 34 points in the paint.

Second Quarter
11:00 Shockingly, both teams missed their first shots.

10:00 Powell again, from Vujacic this time. That’s eight points off the bench from Peezy.

8:37 Murphy’s three gives Indiana its first lead in a while at 48-47, exploiting their matchup advantage at the four position with the court fully spread. The Lakers know it’s coming, but still aren’t able to close out in time, particularly since Murphy’s 6-11. That’s eight points (two threes), three boards and three dimes from the Notre Dame product to complement Granger’s 14 points.

6:38 Vujacic three … Swish. It looked like he got hit on the release, but either way it was his fifth straight point, which preceded a slick alley-oop from Fish to Bynum that capped a quick 7-0 run to give L.A. a 54-48 lead at the 6:05 mark. After Murphy’s three, the Pacers finally started missing as five straight shots (all from the perimeter) all went wayward, allowing the Lakers to run and get great looks.

5:34 Murphy again. For three. In related news, guarding Murphy is allowed and will not result in a technical foul.

5:12 The officials are checking to see if Bryant’s foot was on the line as he was fouled taking a three … and indeed he’d have three shots. On that Granger play with JPeezy’s foul, Lakers play-by-play man Joel Myers told us that Granger’s foot was on the line, but the refs didn’t review that play. In related news, it’s fine to review questionable shots of both squads.

3:21 “Why hasn’t Vladi gotten back in after he actually started hitting shots early?” Oops. There he is at the scorer’s table. With the score tied at 59, both team missed good looks before a 2:29 timeout would allow Radmanovic to enter the contest.

2:29 Heidi Klum’s sitting courtside with hubby Seal, and I bring this up because two PR interns said “Heidi’s here” to Ty, and he rightly thought they were talking about Heidi from “The Hills.” They indignantly looked at him as if he were crazy, but clearly it’s them.

59.2 Fish answered another wide-open Indy triple (Dunleavy) with a jumper to put L.A. up 67-63. Though he had just four points, Fish contributed four dimes and three boards.

The best stat line clearly came from Gasol, however: 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting (uh huh), four boards and four dimes. Bryant added 14 points with a game-high seven dimes as the Lakers shot 64.3 percent for the half … Only slightly better than Indiana’s 61.5 percent from the field. The Pacers made up the difference by hitting six triples, including 3-of-5 from Murphy.

20.9 Another Murphy three, wide open. No, I didn’t copy/paste that. Does he just smell really badly and bury his Old Spice? It’s not like the Lakers didn’t know Murphy was going to be spreading the floor and bombing triples, but they’re gambling for steals far too often and paying the price.

Nonetheless, L.A. exited with a 68-66 edge at half.

Third Quarter
Something to keep an eye on here: due in part to Ariza’s foul trouble (6:48 of action), Bryant and Fisher both had to play 21 minutes (Gasol played nearly 23).

10:24 Even with Gasol closing out, Murphy still hit his fifth three before cutting backdoor past Gasol for a layup on the next possession. The Lakers, however, countered with a Fisher triple and Bynum jumper to tie the score at 75. If you can’t stop ‘em, at least score with ‘em?

7:27 Huge one-handed dunk by Bynum off a slick Kobe pass. That’s 14 points for ‘Drew, though with Indy still shooting at a 60 percent clip he hasn’t done much work on the glass (two boards).

6:35 Bynum again, filling Gasol’s usual role in running the floor ahead of the opponents bigs, plus the harm. Make it 17 points for Bynum (he had 18 last night) for a 83-80 Lakers lead.

I mentioned Granger’s All-Star candidacy earlier, but forgot to mention Gasol’s (Kobe’s obviously locked in already). If you missed it, we did a Western Conference Forwards piece yesterday to take a deeper look. With 29 minutes in the bank tonight, Gasol was sitting at 20, five and four, which won’t hurt the cause on the heels of his 33 and 18 at Golden State.

5:15 Whatever happened to All-Stars and MVPs getting the benefit of the doubt on fall calls? Bryant couldn’t buy a whistle in Oakland, and has been hit three times this quarter without any love. Odd. That’s sort of like Seal not being allowed into a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, or Brody being denied at Area’s VIP … um … area.

3:19 There’s Kobe’s “sense the moment” shot that he used to talk about with Tex Winter. After making a free throw and a jumper and Vladi stole the ball from Jeff Foster, Bryant pulled up in transition with a 22-foot J to suddenly make it a 90-82 lead. Let me explain: the crowd started to sense a possible run, and Indy was very quickly on its heels after back-to-back misses, which always seems to be the time where Kobe knows one more shot can make a big mental difference. He tends to hit those shots, and this was no exception.

2:20 Defensive rebound Kobe. Bucket at other end Kobe. Ten-point lead.

1:51 JPeezy jumper. Swish. From Kobe. That’s 13 assists for Kobe, a season-high by a lot. In fact, Kobe’s previous high was Dec. 7th against Milwaukee, when he had eight.

5.9 Bryant finished a fantastic quarter with two free throws to give him 25 points, those 13 dimes and five boards, plus a steal for the game. He had 11 points, six helpers and two boards in the third alone to deliver a 96-84 lead L.A.’s way heading into the final quarter. At the same time, the defensive intensity picked up late, and Indiana missed 11-of-12 shots in the final 7:08 of action.

Yet and still, the Pacers came back from a 15-point lead heading into the fourth in Indianapolis, which shouldn’t be too far removed from L.A.’s mind.

Fourth Quarter
11:15 Uh, yeah, two straight threes from Granger and Murphy and the lead was chopped in half.

10:18 Bynum ties his season-high with 19 points after hitting another 17-footer. Lots of season highs tonight, including L.A.’s points in a half (68).

8:25 Ariza put together a personal six-point scoring streak to put L.A. up 105-94 before earning his fifth foul, plus a tech, on the ensuing defensive play. Yet and still, a key lil’ stretch from Trevor to counter Indy’s quick start.
Heidi Klum/Seal
8:21 Kiss cam on Seal and Heidi. Crowd loving that. Go ahead Seal. To be fair, she also fake-kissed the girl next to her, for some reason. Didn’t bother Seal though.

5:52 Gasol missed his third foul shot of the night but put L.A. up 108-101. We mention the miss as the Lakers have now missed eight on the evening, hitting 21-of-29 (72.4 percent).

4:17 Ariza draws an offensive foul on a screen by Foster in which he was standing still, as the Pacers had drawn within four.

3:37 Make it one, at 108-107. Dunleavy’s triple capped a quick 6-0 run and gave him 16 off the bench in his second game of the season. The Pacers are certainly pesky.

2:46 After Bryant’s baseline jumper put L.A. up four, Ariza bit on a Dunleavy pump fake and committed his sixth personal in 15 minutes. Dunleavy hit both free throws to make it a two-point game. If L.A. wins, I can’t wait for the “L.A. again pushed to a big lead before allowing a team to come back” postgame articles. It happens, especially in January.

2:09 Remember the All-Star/MVP foul bit? Kobe got it that time, drawing a block on Dunleavy that was pretty close.

1:57 Doing his best Ariza impression, Radmanovic came up with a big late-game steal, leading in 1-of-2 free throws from Fish and a five-point lead.

1:22 Some controversy on the whistles occurred as Gasol seemed to be shoved out of bounds after a Vladi missed three, while Granger was awarded two free throws for a bump at the other end. One-point game.

1:10 Kobe jumper. Cash.

58.8 For only playing twice, these teams really don’t like each other. The latest to mix it up were Vladi and Foster, who exchanged pushes with Jack and Fisher in the mix. Thus the “Pacers (stink)” chant from STAPLES. What resulted ended up being key for the Pacers, however, as Vladi got a technical (Jack made FT) and Fisher the personal (Dunleavy made 1-of-2).

47.0 Granger didn’t really get his money’s worth on his sixth personal, after he grabbed Kobe on the perimeter. Bryant calmly sunk his 14th and 15th foul shots of the night for 34 points and a three-point lead.

26.4 Dunleavy three after some great Pacers ball movement. This will allow the Lakers to run the clock nearly all the way down and set up for, let’s just guess here, a Kobe jumper…

3.0 Swish. From 18 feet, top of the key. Indiana didn’t double-team Mamba, and he was more than happy to turn and fade-away over Jarrett Jack. Indy, however, will inbound at half court and have time for an extra pass and a shot. Dunleavy?

0.0 Inexusable. The Pacers didn’t even get the shot off. The inbounds play looked to be designed as a Foster catch from Dunleavy and (ideally) a pass back to Mike Jr., but Sasha Vujacic face-guarded Dunleavy, preventing Foster from giving him the ball back. With the clock ticking down, Foster couldn’t find another teammate, finally turned towards the hoop and didn’t even have time to get off a shot.

So the Pacers were oh-so-close from shocking the Lakers again, but the win went to Kobe and the purple and gold.