Kobe Bryant vs. Pacers - 11.28.10

Kobe Bryant shoots over Brandon Rush.

The Indiana Pacers had never beaten the Lakers at Staples Center since the facility opened in 1999, including three Finals losses in 2000.  On Sunday night, they changed all that, beating the Lakers 95-92 in a very lackluster performance by the world champs.

The Pacers took over in the second quarter, outscoring the Lakers 28-19, and holding a 51-45 lead at halftime.  They never relinquished that advantage, and held a double-digit lead through much of the second half, before the Lakers rallied late in the fourth quarter to make a game of it.

Kobe Bryant scored 41 points, but missed two potential game-tying three-pointers in the final 10 seconds, and the Pacers players and coaches celebrated their second impressive road win in less than a week.  They beat the Miami Heat in Miami last Monday 93-77.

Lamar Odom scored 15 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds in the losing effort.  Pau Gasol added 13 points, and 12 rebounds, but shot only 5-15 from the field.  Both he and Odom appeared tired at the end of the game, having to over 40 minutes with the Lakers injuries up front.  It seems the heavy minutes are starting to take their toll on the Lakers’ best two inside players.

The Laker bench, which has played so well this season, also struggled, scoring only 14 points and hitting just 1-8 from beyond the arc.  The Lakers as a team shot a paltry 38.6% from the field, only 7-23 (30.4%) from the three-point line, and were outrebounded again 48-45.

The star of the game for the Pacers was center Roy Hibbert.  The third-year pro from Georgetown scored 24 points, with 11 rebounds, and six assists, as he continues to make remarkable progress this season.  Danny Granger had 18 points, and Darren Collison scored 14, as the Pacers upped their record to 8-7.

The Lakers’ loss dropped them to 13-4 and 1 1/2 games behind the Spurs for first place in the Western Conference, as they head out on a two-game roadtrip this week to Memphis and Houston.   The Lakers also are awaiting word on when they will have center Andrew Bynum back on the court, as the team is desperate for help up front.

Link: Lakers vs. Pacers Box Score