The Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight to face the Indiana Pacers and improve their home record to 19-2, and win eight of their last nine games. Both teams won their last game, the Lakers beat Golden State and the Pacers beat Phoenix on a Danny Granger buzzer-beating three point shot.

The Pacers are 13-22 overall and 6-13 on the road; but they’re learning how to win close ball games. Indiana is 3-1 in the month of January, with wins by two, five and three points.

The last time the Lakers saw them, they lost a close game to the Pacers on December 2nd 118-117, a game that the Lakers should’ve won. Poor execution defensively down the stretch, being outrebounded and missing 12 free throws allowed the Pacers to erase a 15 point lead and get the win.

The Lakers need to come out strong defensively and shut down the Pacers. Troy Murphy had 17 rebounds in the last contest. Pau Gasol is coming off of an 18 rebound performance, he will have to keep his body on him and focus on boxing him out. The Lakers need to see that effort again by Gasol.

The Lakers need to throw the ball into the low post and allow Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol to go to work. The Lakers need to recall the “four pound beat” that the coaching staff drills into them, use excellent ball movement, player movement and proper spacing while outworking the Pacers.

The Lakers did exactly that in the 12/2/08 game, shot 51.3% from the field and had six players scoring in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant’s 28 points but their defense let them down. Danny Granger, the Pacers leading scorer, netted 32 points in that game and has averaged 36 points in his last three games.

The Lakers will have to slow him down, it will be a team effort but Vladimir Radmanovic should start guarding him but look to see Trevor Ariza & Kobe spend some time on him as well.

The Lakers will win by controlling the tempo, glass, stopping dribble penetration and rotating out to three point shooters. Including the 2000 NBA Finals, the Pacers have lost all 12 games at the Staples Center.

Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: Fox Sports West 1 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Indiana: Comcast Sports Net Bay Area HD (Chris Denari, Clark Kellogg, Jim Barnett & Stacy Paetz)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Indiana: WFNI 1070 The Fan ( Kevin Lee, Mark Boyle & Bobby Leonard)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Jordan Farmar (Knee)
  • Lamar Odom (Knee)
  • Luke Walton (Foot)

Pacers:

  • Mike Dunleavy (Knee, should play)
  • Marquis Daniels (Strained Groin, should play)