Lakers 118, Pacers 96: Running Diary

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We took a look at the Lakers – Pacers contest in Indiana while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers looked for their second straight road win.

Inactives
Lakers: D.J. Mbenga
Pacers: Jeff Foster, Tyler Hansbrough

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Pacers: Earl Watson, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy

Throw Out the Numbers at Home
While the Lakers happen to dominate the Pacers in most statistical categories and of course with their overall record (34-11 to 16-29), you can basically throw out the numbers at Conseco Fieldhouse, where the Lakers have won just three times in seven tries since 1999. CLICK HERE to read more.

59424925First Quarter
7:35 So much for being tired on a back-to-back … the Lakers conceded nothing energy-wise in the first four-plus minutes, scoring 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting including Andrew Bynum’s 4-of-4, to just eight Pacers points. L.A. was getting anything it wanted offensively, like Peyton Manning deciding which receiver to feed and calmly delivering. In related news, there were more than a few Colts 18 jerseys in the arena, but far fewer than I expected.

2:46 The Pacers went back to a more conventional lineup when center Roy Hibbert checked in for Granger, and immediately scored on consecutive possessions to highlight an 8-2 run that brought Indiana within a single point. The Georgetown big has nice touch around the hoop, and at least gives Bynum some length with which to contend.

2:03 Moments later, Hibbert got a welcome-to-the-game spin move and baseline hammer dunk from Gasol. Pau actually struggled with his shot in the period, making only 2-of-8 attempts, but both Bryant and Bynum made all five of their attempts to get the Lakers a 31-29 lead after one.

Second Quarter
10:53 Back on Jan. 3 in a blowout of Dallas, Bynum was a perfect 8-of-8 from the field in the game. In 11:22 of action tonight, Bynum’s again a perfect 8-of-8 from the field, for a game-high 18 points. For how easily Bynum was scoring (he was almost indifferent, just dropping in layups), Murphy and Hibbert may as well have been AAU guards.

7:45 Though Bynum and Bryant still had yet to miss, the rest of the Lakers were only 4-of-21 as a Brandon Rush three gave Indiana its first lead of the night. Suppose you could blame a part of L.A.’s defensive indifference on last night’s game but we’ll likely see that pick up in the second half. The Lakers also generally take a bit to feel out their opponent if it’s the season’s first meeting, then make appropriate adjustments at the break.

0:00 Sasha Vujacic, who’d checked in for the last nine seconds of the ball game, received a corner pass from a slashing Bryant but instead of shooting, kicked the ball out to Lamar Odom, who nailed the three at the buzzer. Vujacic, who is constantly playing shooting games with assistant Brian Shaw before games and generally bantering with him, sprinted over to Shaw and said something while Shaw laughed hysterically. Lakers 59, Pacers 56 at the break.

L.A. was led by Bynum’s terrific 22 points and seven boards, while Odom grabbed nine boards off the pine and Bryant put forth 10 points on six shots, with three assists and four boards.

59424948Third Quarter
9:54 What’s the deal with Murphy’s shots rolling around the rim for two seconds before falling in? His three just did so, much like last season’s game winner in this building, to bring Indy within two points.

7:58 While Josh Powell yelled “Let’s go D!!!” for a steady minute, the Lakers followed a general season trend by stepping up their defense in the third quarter. In concert, the offense found easy looks in transition to go on a quick 8-0 run that produced a 10-point lead, capped by a Kobe three and a Pau and-1.

1:14 Odom’s second three-pointer of the game pushed L.A.’s lead to 16 points, as the predicted third quarter push came to put the Pacers in serious jeopardy. Bynum (11-of-13) and Bryant (8-of-12) had combined for 48 points at that stage, and the Lakers headed into the fourth with a 92-78 lead after a Hibbert jumper pulled two points back.

Fourth Quarter
9:10 Bynum rightfully reached his season high early in the fourth on a baseline hoop, getting to 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting, which brought him to 57.2 percent on the season. He added 12 rebounds for good measure.

6:21 Shannon Brown’s two free throws capped an 8-0 bench run that also featured two Farmar buckets and an Odom jumper, creating a 104-87 lead for the purple in gold as the game looked increasingly over. At least the fans here have the Colts in two weekends.

3:19 Bryant left the game to a standing ovation from the scores of Lakers fans in the house after swatting Hibbert from behind. His totals: 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes, the team up 111-92. The game would end moments later with a 118-96 final, allowing the Lakers to improve to 34-11 on the season.

Up next is a Friday contest in Philadelphia, but until then, your numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
71 Points shy of Jerry West’s all-time points total after another 29, which came on 10-of-15 shooting and 6-of-8 from the line. Bryant added nine rebounds and a team-best seven assists in yet another impressive performance.

54 Points in the paint for the Lakers, thanks in part to Andrew Bynum (see below), to just 32 from the Pacers.

30 Free throw attempts for the Lakers, of which they made 25. The Pacers were just 11-of-14.

27 Season high in points from a super efficient Bynum, who made 12-of-14 shots and all three free throws, not to mention 12 rebounds.

7 Game streak snapped when Jordan Farmar didn’t connect on at least one three-pointer.