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IC Cold Links: Lakers Expose The Difference A Year Makes For Pacers

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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.

NBA