What a difference a year makes.
When the Lakers were in town last season, they used a 17-2 run in the final three minutes of the third quarter to take a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter. The burst of greatness was quick and fierce and appeared to be the death blow to the Pacers' hopes of winning that night.
Fortunately, the Lakers felt that way to and through a combination of defensive stops, Laker miscues and a lucky bounce or two, the Pacers held Kobe and Co. to 16 fourth-quarter points. Meanwhile, T.J. Ford jump-started the comeback with 10 fourth-quarter points, then Danny Granger added 10 of his own and all of a sudden Troy Murphy was tipping in a miracle game winner. All 48 minutes used to the last second.
Fast forward to last night and a game that remained tight throughout the first half saw the Lakers once again take control in the third quarter. Instead of a late run, though, the visitors methodically pushed their lead out to 14 points heading into the final quarter. But the difference between last night (and this season for that matter) and last season's game was that there were no defensive stops or lucky bounces and no offensive spark from anyone in blue and gold worth rallying around.
The Pacers showed a little life to begin the fourth by cutting the lead nine with nine minutes left, but they would get no closer and actually only score two points over the next four and a half minutes while the Lakers maintained a comfortable double-digit lead en route to casually closing out the Pacers.
After the jump, a few links of interest from the loss last night.
- Box score
- AP game report
PACERS: Inside the Game: Lakers 118, Pacers 96
Bruno's Inside the Game report has all of the notes, quotes, numbers and highlights.
Pacers can't keep pace with Kobe's Lakers
Mike Wells reports on the Lakers exposing their matchup advantage all night in beating the Pacers.
Andrew Bynum comes up big for Lakers
Mike Bresnahan reports on the Lakers riding an All-Star caliber performance from Andrew Bynum to take down the Pacers.
Pacers Version Of Small Ball A Mistake
Ken Sothman comments on the Lakers exposing the Pacers' small lineup with their long front court.
Athletes with MVP pedigree can understand each other
Bob Kravitz celebrates the insane athletic excellence showcased in Indianapolis this week with Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant sharing their mutual admiration.
Pacers Notebook: Granger can't lose in Super Bowl
Mike Wells reports on Danny Granger's win-win Super Bowl matchup and Roy making good on his Cancun vacation over the All-Star break.
Hibbert out of lineup but still very much a factor
Bruno's CITW daily focuses on Roy Hibbert making an impact off the bench when JOB goes with a smaller starting lineup.
Another game where you just scratch your head
Mike Wells wonders what Jim O'Brien was thinking by starting Troy Murphy on Andrew Bynum.
Pacer Fans Not the Only Ones Rooting for AJ
Jared Wade shares some praise for A.J. Price.
The Lakers use game vs. Pacers to stage practice
Silver Screen And Roll saw the Lakers work through some offensive drills thanks to a lack of defense by the Pacers.
- The four factors of winning favor the Lakers as you might imagine.