Kobe Bryant drained a patented (by MJ) fade away 18-footer over Jarrett Jack for the deciding points as the Los Angeles Lakers held on to slip by the Indiana Pacers, 121-119.
Bryant's dagger came with three seconds left, but the Pacers were unable to tie it up as the Lakers defended all of the scoring options on the final play, leaving Jeff Foster stuck with the ball as the buzzer sounded. Tough loss for the Pacers after they had to fight their way back into the game in the fourth quarter. They didn't play their best, but still showed plenty of guts and simply came up one play short.
It's late and Cornrows, Jr. and Kernel will be pouncing on my bed before I know it, so forgive me as I quickly shift to some random thoughts in the bullets.
- This game was a race to 120 points from the get go as the first quarter ended with the Lakers leading 41-36 and both teams shooting over 70%. Jumpers were raining down on both sides. It was kind of fun watching two teams shooting like that at the same time.
- The Pacers really missed Marquis Daniels tonight. He played Kobe real tough in their last meeting, so he may have had better luck guarding Kobe at the end. Kobe made the final six points for the Lakers and four of those points were on fade away jumpers over Jarrett Jack. Kobe was in full rhythm knowing he could jump over the smaller Jack. Kobe finished the night with 36 points and 13 assists. Sick.
- Danny Granger guarded Kobe after the first bucket over Jack, but a reaching foul sent Danny to the bench with his sixth foul. Danny's level of play has been so high lately that he seemed a bit off tonight. He missed several open 3's (2-8 on the night) that he's been knocking down. He also had a few cheap fouls that ended up costing him the final 47 seconds of the game.
- Despite Danny's "off" night, he did finish with 28 points and started the game real well. Kobe came out real aggressive with Danny from the start and Granger rose to the challenge.
- Troy Murph had no problems from distance. Murph made 6 of 9 from 3-land and finished with 24 points. The Pacers started the fourth quarter down 12 (96-84) and Murph help jump start the Pacers' comeback.
- Mike Dunleavy snuck in about three minutes over his 20 minute allotment. Once again, he played well and shot it better than he did in Phoenix. A missed free throw and a turnover late in the game were negative plays, but he more than made up for it by knocking down a three to tie the game with 26 seconds left. Huge. Dun finished with 22 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes, so there's no complaints here.
- Jeff Foster may have been left holding the ball at the buzzer but the king of the blue and gold needlers played a role in the Pacers closing in on the lead. With 58 seconds left, the Pacers were down three and Dun had just been fouled. As Foster and Vladamir Radmanovic were battling for the rebound as the whistle blew, Foster's hand fighting frustrated Radman and he took a few swipes at Foster which drew a technical foul. Jarrett Jack made the free throw for a precious extra point.
- The Pacers couldn't draw a charge all night despite appearing to have the position to do so. Party at my house the first time Roy Hibbert draws a charge. The guy had solid position twice tonight but couldn't get the call. Then late in the game, Mike Dunleavy was planted with a little help side as Kobe ran him over. Kobe? Late in the game? That's a block. Quinn Buckner mentioned that after the block on Dun, Jarrett Jack went over the Jack Nicholson, took his sun glasses off and said even he could see that play through his sun glasses. Jack (Nicholson) had a good laugh over that one.
- Once again, the Pacers gave us a great effort and and heart-pounding finish. In the end, they had to deal with too many tough plays, that led to a tough loss against a tough opponent on a tough road trip. But that's life in the NBA, it's tough. If it was easy we wouldn't watch. Time to move on to Golden State and find a way to win.