The Lakers took their first loss on the road, 118-117 to the Pacers. LA looked like they had them on their heels, ending the third on a 17-0 run. Then, the Pacers picked up some momentum and a couple minutes into the fourth Phil Jackson called timeout. Kobe and the rest of the starting five came in to pick up the slack. They didn't do a great job. The Pacers played nice defense down the stretch, which enabled them to get transition baskets.
I didn't love how the Lakers attacked offensively. Early, I thought Kobe sensed the LA offense was kind of stagnant and he seemed to be in attack mode more than I've seen him yet this season. He put up 21 shots on the night, making 10. When Kobe did go out the second unit was terrific on both ends. I don't know why LA couldn't pull it out, but they were due for a loss.
I also feel that LA is so good it might hurt them. They have the ability to play and crush lesser teams like the Pacers, but how will they stay interested after they've already gone 14-1 going into this game? It's a challenge Phil Jackson and his coaching staff are going to have to fight hard if they want to win another title.
Indy has got to be happy. They played well enough to stay with LA and got a lucky game winning shot. For a team that will fight to make the playoffs, that's a great accomplishment. They're still on the outside looking in, but if they can get more confidence and wins like this, they'll be around the eight spot in the East. Chicago and Miami look to be the biggest threats, unless Philly doesn't get their act together.
Photo by: Darron Cummings