2007 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
There are some forces of nature you can't avoid or diminish. Forces so great, they sweep you up, toss you around until you've lost control, leaving you praying for a higher power to intervene. Surviving to live another day becomes the task at hand. Only after the destructive force has blown through town, can you assess the damage left in its wake.
Kobe Bryant fueled the Los Angeles Lakers into a category five scoring storm that left the Indiana Pacers and the Fieldhouse in shambles Tuesday night. The Pacers lost control early and were left praying for survival. While the Pacers survived the encounter, they were left picking up the pieces of a 134-114 loss.
Kobe made five of his first six three point attempts in the first half, scoring 26 points before the break. Danny Granger covered Kobe pretty well, but when this force of nature wants to score, he scores. Hand in the face or not. Kobe's teammates fed off his fire and continued the ridiculous shooting clip throughout the game. It wasn't until Lakers relaxed with a 20 plus point lead in the fourth quarter that they began shooting at merely a good percentage.
Here are some other thoughts on the game:
- Opponents perimeter shooting success has been a common thread in all seven Pacer losses. Against the Lakers, Derek Fishers hit all 5 of his FGAs, Sasah Vujacic made 3 of 6, Luke Walton 4 of 7, and Jordan Farmar didn't seem to miss until the game was salted away, making 7 of 10 FGAs including three 3-balls.
- Jermaine O'Neal began the games strong with 7 first quarter points. He was hobbled after being fouled and never seemed to have the same hop in his step. He had plenty of shots, but only made 4 of 13. The Lakers sure don't appear to need J.O. at this point anyway. Andrew Bynum is a beast in the middle. Easy to see why they're reluctant to let him go.
- The Pacers had plenty of opportunities to score but they just couldn't keep pace with the Lakers. Another common thread in Pacer losses has been missing open looks (duh?). Tuesday night they fired off 103 FGAs but only made 42, including a paltry 6 of 27 from 3-land.
- Danny Granger had a tough night chasing around Kobe Bryant, but he did have some good moments. In one spectacular sequence, Danny drove past Kobe and made a tough shot over Bynum. At the other end of the floor he blocked a reverse layup attempt by Bryant, then ran the full length of the court and finished the fast break with a layup.
- Shawne Williams continues to expand his colorful wings as he emerges from the cacoon of his rookie year. Shawne scored a career high 24 points off the bench. Most impressive were the no-hesitation 3-balls and the strong finishes at the hoop after running the floor.