The first time these two teams met in November, the Indiana Pacers shocked even themselves, as they beat the Lakers at Staples Center 95-92. There would be no repeat performance on Wednesday however, as a determined Lakers team came in to Conseco Fieldhouse and soundly pounded the Pacers 109-94.
Kobe Bryant put on a show again, as he lit up the Pacers for 31 points, on 11-18 from the field, and 4-8 from the three-point line. He also added six assists and three rebounds. His shooting touch continues to get better as he again shot over 50% from the floor, 4-8 from the three-point line, and made all five of his foul shots. Bryant scored 41 points the first time the teams met in Los Angeles.
The Lakers were focused and didn’t underestimate the Pacers this time from the start. They jumped out to a 29-10 lead before Indiana even knew what hit them. By the time it was 59-37, at halftime, it was too late for the Pacers to recover, and the Lakers just kept pouring it on in the second half en route to their second-straight blow-out win. The final score certainly didn’t indicate how thoroughly dominating the win was.
Pau Gasol, who had a poor game against Pacer center Roy HIbbert in the first meeting, took it to the big man from Georgetown on Wednesday, pouring in 28 points, including 21 of them in the first half, to go along with eight rebounds. Gasol was aggressive from the opening tip and set the tone inside early for the Lakers, hitting 10 of his 17 shots from the floor.
Lamar Odom had another strong game with 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Ron Artest was solid for the second straight night with 13 points on 6-8 shooting. Andrew Bynum played a little over 17 minutes off the bench in his second game, and scored three points to go along with five rebounds.
The Lakers’ shooting was also impressive, as they hit 51.2% of their shots from the floor, including 8-17 (47.1% ) from the three-point line. They also destroyed the Pacers on the glass 51-29, and had 12 offensive rebounds. The Pacers hit only six of their 21 shots from beyond the arc.
Indiana was led by Darren Collison with 17 points and six assists. Brandon Rush scored 16 points, and Roy Hibbert had points and six rebounds, but was nowhere near the offensive factor he was the first game in Los Angeles.
The win for the Lakers was their third straight, and they’re now 4-1 on their current road trip. It also seems like the team is slowly regaining the momentum they had early in the season when they started 8-0. They play at Philadelphia on Friday, and will finish up the trip in Toronto on Sunday.
Newly-acquired forward/center Joe Smith is expected to join the team in Philadelphia and should be in uniform for Friday night’s match up with the 76ers.