The (34-11) Los Angeles Lakers are in Indianapolis for a back-to-back road game at Conseco Fieldhouse against the (16-29) Pacers.
All season has been a struggle for the Pacers; they’re 5-5 in their last 10 games and a pedestrian 10-11 at home. The last time the Lakers played the Pacers, Kobe Bryant knocked down a game-winning 18-foot turnaround jumper with three seconds on the clock.
On L.A.’s last trip to Conseco Fieldhouse, Danny Granger led the Pacers back from a 15-point deficit, but it was Troy Murphy’s tip-in that sent L.A. home with a defeat.
The Lakers scored enough points and played well enough to win. However, all of the elements for a defeat were present. The Lakers missed 12-free throws, shot poorly from behind the arc, Indiana played with more energy, forced turnovers, answered every Laker run, and stayed in the game with their 3-point shooting.
Consequently, for the Lakers to secure back-to-back road wins, they will have to reverse the trend and eliminate the above-mentioned items. However, the Lakers have lost five of their last six games in Indiana.
It is simply a matter of teamwork, everyone getting involved, and playing Lakers basketball. When the Lakers are aggressive on both ends of the floor, dictate to their opponent how the game will be played, display excellent ball movement and excellent player movement they’re a rough to match-up with and fun to watch.
Kobe is averaging 29.5 points in his last eight games against the Pacers, in tonight’s game he will be defended by Dahntay Jones, the alleged defensive specialist, the same one that felt the need to flagrant foul the Black Mamba while playing for the Nuggets. It’s not in the rule book of a defensive specialist nor was it effective as Jones and the Nuggets were sent home defeated.
The Lakers will have to focus their attention defensively on Danny Granger who has averaged 30 points against the Purple and Gold and limit his effectiveness. The Pacers have been using a smaller lineup with Granger playing power forward, although that won’t work with the Lakers long frontline. More than likely the Pacers will attempt to match up with a frontline consisting of small forward Danny Granger, power forward Troy Murphy, and center Roy Hibbert.
The Lakers need to come out aggressive from the start, play with a high energy level, control the glass, and outwork this team.
Tonight’s game should be another solid team effort with at least five Lakers scoring in double figures.
Tip-off: 4:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Indiana: FS Indiana (Quinn Buckner & Chris Denari)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Indiana: 1070 The Fan (Mark Boyle & Bobby Leonard)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of index finger, Elbow & Back)
- Ron Artest (Plantar Fasciitis in both feet)
- Sasha Vujacic (Strained Right Hamstring)
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, back)
- PF Jeff Foster (Sore Lower Back) OUT
- PF Tyler Hansbrough (Inner Ear Infection)