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Author Topic: LA Lakers 112, Indiana 96  (Read 1082 times)
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« on: January 07, 2008, 01:01:54 am »

With his team scheduled to play five games in a seven-day span starting Tuesday night, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson thought he found an opportunity to give his regulars a break.

While it didn't turn out that way, nobody was complaining afterward.

Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, his fellow Los Angeles starters all scored in double figures, and the Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers 112-96 on Sunday night for their 12th win in 15 games.

Leading 90-72, the Lakers began the fourth quarter with four reserves and Lamar Odom on the floor. Odom came out with 8:55 to play, and Jackson hoped to play his backups the rest of the way.

But the Pacers went on a 13-2 run to start the final period, trimming the Lakers' lead to 92-85 with 6:16 remaining. Jackson took a timeout to put his starters back in the game, and the move paid off. Bryant made two jumpers and Derek Fisher added three 3-pointers during a 16-0 spurt that clinched the victory.

"We play quite a few games here," Jackson said. "My outlook is if I can rest some guys, the more the better. Both of my guards (Bryant and Fisher) have put a lot of miles in during their careers."

Bryant said it was important for the Lakers to regain the momentum when the starters returned to the game.

"That's my responsibility with this team and I was able to deliver it tonight," he said. "It's more important for us to understand that we took a blow from them -- but I'm going to go out there and throw an uppercut and let them know that this is our game."

Fisher finished with 22 points, Odom had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Luke Walton added 10 points and seven assists for the Lakers (21-11), who moved a season-high 10 games over .500.

The Lakers also raised their record to 7-0 when all five starters score in double figures.

"The bench has pulled us out of a lot of jams this year, too," Walton said. "They struggled a little bit tonight. They've got our backs and we've got their backs."

Fisher said returning to the game was no big deal.

AP - Jan 7, 12:27 am EST
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"That's what we're supposed to do -- come in and finish games off," he said. "We still had a seven-point lead on our homecourt with (six) minutes to go. If you tell me that before the game, I'll take it every time."

Mike Dunleavy led Indiana (16-19) with 17 points. Danny Granger added 14 points, Jermaine O'Neal scored 13 and Kareem Rush had 12 for the Pacers, who lost their fifth straight road game and their sixth in the last seven overall.

"It's rough. We were two games above .500, and the next thing you know, we're three below," Granger said. "And now we have a rough stretch coming up, playing against all these West Coast teams."

Bynum scored all but two of his points in the first half, when Bryant and Fisher combined to shoot 3-for-16 and score 17 points. Bryant shot 6-for-10 including 2-for-3 from 3-point range and Fisher was 5-for-8 including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc after halftime.

The Lakers shot 46.2 percent to Indiana's 41.6 percent and went 30-of-38 from the foul line to the Pacers' 11-of-17.

"We had difficulty with their starting lineup the entire night," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We had a chance to cut it to four with an open 3 (in the fourth quarter), but we couldn't get over the hump."

Granger and Troy Murphy scored five points apiece during a 16-5 Indiana run that tied the game 44-all late in the second quarter. The Lakers led 55-53 at halftime, and were on top the rest of the way.

The Lakers, coming off a 66.2 percent shooting performance in a 124-93 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, missed their first seven attempts while falling behind 9-0 in the first 3 1/2 minutes.

The Pacers led 14-4 before the Lakers got untracked. Bynum scored 12 points during a 29-9 run to finish the first period, giving them a 33-23 lead. ^Notes: Pacers G Jamaal Tinsley missed his fifth game due to a sore left hamstring. O'Brien said he hopes Tinsley will return during the team's five-game road trip that began with this game. ... Los Angeles reserves Vladimir Radmanovic (sprained right ankle) and Sasha Vujacic (sprained left ankle and back spasms) each sat out their second game. ... The Lakers are a perfect 9-0 against the Pacers at Staples Center, which opened before the 1999-2000 season. ... The Lakers swept the season series with the Pacers for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The teams split each of the past four years, winning at home and losing on the road. ... Jackson, who moved past Red Auerbach into seventh place on the career coaching victory list Friday night, needs four more to move into a tie for sixth place with Bill Fitch, who had 944 wins. ... Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, whose team lost 88-82 earlier Sunday in the opener of an NBA doubleheader, stuck around to watch his son play against the Lakers.
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