The inconsistent efforts from the team and still #2 in the NBA.
L.A. Times: Arf!
If “dog days” was in the dictionary, they might have a picture of a marquee reading:
INDIANA AT LAKERS
Tuesday, March 2
Of course, having misplaced their game, the Lakers can’t ease up against anyone . . . or, at least, that was the plan, before easing up in Tuesday night’s first half, then awakening to bury the lowly Pacers, 122-99.
Kobe Bryant, coming off his three-for-17 game against Denver, went five for 14 from the field but scored 24 points, his most since his Feb. 23 return in Memphis.
For all their struggles, the Lakers still moved six games ahead of the West, even if the question all Lakerdom is asking is:
THIS TEAM IS 46-15?
Coach Phil Jackson, normally the sunniest of optimists, acknowledged his team’s malaise at Monday’s practice, noting: “With Kobe playing like he is, it’s hard to judge who we are right now.”
On the other hand, it wasn’t hard to judge who the Pacers were. As the late Chuck Daly used to say, “You are what your record says you are, no better, no worse” — and they were the team with the 20-39 record, No. 26 in the NBA.
Reggie Miller, the greatest Pacer of them all, dates their fall to the 2004 Auburn Hills melee, noting recently they “have never, ever recovered from that night. Things will never be the same until they get lucky in the draft.”
At the moment, the Pacers are also the team trying to play small ball, making the Lakers their ultimate test.
“They’re the ultimate test, period,” Coach Jim O’Brien said before the game. “It doesn’t matter what lineup you put out there when you play the world champions, you know you’re going to be tested at every spot. . . .