The Los Angeles Lakers traveled to the Conseco Fieldhouse for their rematch with the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers shocked both the Lakers and the entire NBA world in their previous meeting, as the franchise won its first game in Staples Center. However, this time the Lakers had someone who was able to guard Roy Hibbert—center Andrew Bynum. The Lakers had to come out victorious in this game in order to regain their respect around the league.
The Lakers opened the game with active hands and they were forcing the Pacers to commit early turnovers. Ron Artest was playing in front of his former home-crowd and he was the catalyst to the Lakers’ early success. Artest recorded two steals and six points in just three minutes, and he helped expand the lead to eleven, 15-4.
Phil Jackson made an emphasis on defense prior to the game, and the Lakers responded to their coach. The team was aggressive on the defensive end of the court, and they were forcing the Pacers to take tough shots. Although the Pacers made a late spark in the quarter, the Lakers maintained a double-digit lead they headed to the bench up by 14, 36-22. The Lakers led by as many as 19 points in the quarter, and they shot an incredible 74% from the field.
Every Laker starter was on the bench to start the quarter, but the reserves continued to expand the lead. The Lakers were dominating the Pacers on both ends of the court, and their size and talent was too overwhelming. Mid-way into the second quarter the Lakers were leading by 20 points, 44-24, and momentum had completely shifted towards their way. The only cheers coming from the crowd were the Laker fans rejoicing after their team continued to embarrass the Pacers.
The “beat down” continued for the rest of the quarter, and the Lakers entered the locker-room with a comfortable 22 point lead, 59-37. The Lakers shot 61% from the field, while they held the Pacers to a dismal 36% from the field. Pau Gasol led the team in scoring with 21 points, followed by Lamar Odom with 12 points.
The Lakers came out of the locker-room with the same focus and energy they had in the first half. The team continued to take advantage of the Pacers by forcing them to take tough shots, and by dominating them in the paint. Kobe started the half hitting tough jumpers and he was determined to finish off the Pacers.
The Pacers could not make a dent in the Lakers’ lead, and many fans began to leave the stadium late in the quarter. As the final buzzer rang in the third period, the Lakers were up by 18 point, 87 -69. For the second consecutive game, the Lakers had the game sealed before the fourth quarter began.
The Lakers were in total control of the game prior to the start of the fourth quarter. Although the final 12 minutes were not needed, they were played due to NBA regulations.
Despite a diminutive run by the Pacers, the Lakers had no problem taking care of them. When the buzzer rang, the Lakers won by 15 points,109-94. The Lakers improved to 19-7 and won their fourth game on their seven-game road trip.
The Lakers won their second consecutive game with Bynum in the lineup, and their third overall. The team’s leading scorers were Kobe Bryant with 31 points and Pau Gasol with 28 points. The Lakers’ next opponent will be the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night, a homecoming for Kobe Bryant.