Wayne Ellington started the second half in place of Wes Johnson, who was ruled out for the remainder of the nigh due to a strained right hip flexor. With the more offensive-minded Ellington playing, the Lakers still struggled against one of the NBA’s top defenses and the Pacers pushed their lead back into double-digits.
In a small battle of point guards, Price and Donald Sloan traded jump shots that left the Pacers ahead, 58-47. In what was one of the few easy baskets the Lakers scored on the night, Ellington put the ball on the floor and threw down a dunk to get the Lakers back within nine.
After coming up with a steal, Price’s dunk attempt on a fast break didn’t go quite as well as he lost control of ball on his way up. Fortunately for the Lakers, the Pacers didn’t convert on the miscue and Bryant setup Carlos Boozer for a jump shot from the elbow.
Following another Pacers miss, Bryant utilized another screen and hit Ed Davis on a roll down the paint for a slam dunk. The basket gave Davis 11 points on the night and Bryant his sixth assist. Moments later, Price atoned for his missed dunk by flushing one down with two hands after getting his second steal of the game.
While the Lakers gave up multiple offensive rebounds in the final two minutes of the quarter, they remained within striking distance and trailed, 69-63 headed into the fourth quarter.
Boozer became the fourth Laker in double figures as his jump shot early in the quarter pulled the Lakers to within four points of the Pacers. Young kept momentum on the Lakers’ side with a 3-pointer that cut their deficit to 69-68 and forced the Pacers to call a timeout.
Young again brought the crowd to their feet with a reverse layup that tied the game. However, the Pacers quickly re-gained the lead with a Rodney Stuckey 3-pointer. Tempers then flared after Boozer pushed Roy Hibbert to the floor that the Pacers’ big man responded to by shoving Boozer before the two were separated.
Upon review of the player, Boozer was called for a flagrant-1 foul and Hibbert received a technical. The dust eventually settled with the Lakers trailing by four and both teams failing to connect from the field over the next minute and a half.
Young remained perfect at the charity stripe as he made his ninth and 10th free throws on the night to get the Lakers within two and later added two more free throws to cut their deficit to one point with four minutes remaining.
Bryant’s first free throws of the game came with just under three minutes left in the quarter and they left the Lakers down, 82-81. On the Lakers next possession, Bryant nearly lost control of his dribble before regathering himself and connecting on a corner 3-pointer to give the Lakers the lead at 84-82.
Solomon Hill pushed the Pacers back ahead with a 3-pointer of his own and the Pacers again took the lead on a Sloan jumper that came on the Pacers’ 16th offensive rebound. Coming off a Pacers miss, the Lakers pushed the ball up the court and Bryant’s baby hook shot gave them an 88-87 lead with 14.2 seconds remaining.
Hibbert threw up an ill-advised attempt with time running down and the Lakers ended their losing streak with the 88-87 win. Young finished with a game-high 22 points, followed by 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists from Bryant.[divide]
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