Pacers struggle to put away Lakers, still win 107-103


Last night in Los Angeles, the Indiana Pacers fought the Lakers on the day Kobe Bryant announced his retirement, and nearly fell victim to the hosts.

The game was played in shifts by the Blue & Gold. In the first quarter, Indiana jumped out to a solid start while the Lakers began shooting 2 of 17. Then, things slipped in the second quarter as the bench unit plus George Hill struggled to contain the opposition and L.A. won the quarter.

Momentum swung back in Indy’s favor during the third quarter where Paul George scored 15 of his 39 (!) total and the Pacers extended their lead, only for the purple and gold to turn the tide in the fourth and make it a close contest.

The Good
In short, Paul George. The all-star went off last night against his idol, Kobe Bryant, and did well to leave his mark on his hometown marker. George produced his 39 points on just 21 shots and hit 14 of 17 from the line in a big performance.

Additionally, Monta Ellis stepped up big time for probably the first time in an Indiana uniform. The veteran added 15 points on 5-7 shooting and helped take some of the load off George in the fourth quarter when crunch time came about.

The Bad
The defense was sub-par, which is uncharacteristic for a Pacers team that has placed emphasis on that end of the floor in years past. They totalled a season-low four steals and turned the ball over five more times than their opponents.

The Lakers didn’t shoot the ball well by any means, but Indiana was in a similar spot. In all fairness, though, Nick Young was both launching and hitting when guarded heavily and he played a huge role in helping feed the potential comeback. If not for Paul George, the Blue & Gold would have been in major trouble.

Next: IU v. Purdue: Battle for the Bucket

Still good for the Pacers, it’s a road win, their fourth straight win, and they have two days rest before they’re in action again in Los Angeles. After barely knocking off the Lakers, Indiana will face the Clippers on Wednesday, perhaps the best opposition they’ve faced all year matchup-wise.