Kobe Bryant played just one quarter on a severely sprained left ankle and missed his only four shots he attempted. That wouldn’t be a factor however; as Dwight Howard lead the Lakers with 20 points and would take over the leadership role and convert a critical three point play with 90 seconds left to edge the Pacers in front of over 18,000 fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 99-93 and fall to 40-25 of the season, while the Lakers improve to 35-32.
The Pacers shot just 37% for the game while recording three players in double figures. George Hill led the Pacers with 27 points, with 20 of them coming in the second half. Paul George added 20 points of his own and was one rebound short of a double-double, and Lance Stephenson had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards coming off the bench as well.
Defensively, the Pacers struggled, allowing the Lakers to shoot 50% from three point range (13-26), something Head Coach Frank Vogel was not pleased about.
“We had too many breakdowns” Vogel said. “Guarding the three point line was probably the biggest mental breakdown.” We left shooters open left and right in a variety of ways, we just didn’t play a good basketball game tonight.”
“We don’t shoot much better than that,” Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said when asked about going 13 of 26 from beyond the arc.” It definitely gave us a chance to stay in the game, but the guys played hard as well.”
It wasn’t just the defense that struggled throughout the game, it was also an off night for the two big men inside. Center Roy Hibbert and Forward David West, not only dealt with foul trouble early in the game, but also combined to convert only 7 of their 25 attempts from the field.
“I think we just mentally broke down a few times” West said. We just gave up on some plays we should not have given up on and did not take advantage of some situations. I’m, really disappointed we let this one go.”
The Pacers will try to forget about this one and hit the road to Philadelphia to take Jrue Holiday and the 76ers tomorrow night inside the Wells Fargo Arena.