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Lakers don't look up to the minutes in 95-92 loss to Indiana

They appear fatigued, Pau Gasol in particular, against the Pacers, who hold off L.A.'s late rally and end their 14-game losing streak at Staples Center.

November 28, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Plenty has happened in the 11-year history of Staples Center, be it a bevy of championship Lakers teams, an armful of losing Clippers teams and, for the music enthusiasts, a host of memorable concerts, from Bruce Springsteen to U2.

Then there was the latest piece of history, or infamy from the point of view of a Lakers fan.

The Pacers had never beaten the Lakers at Staples Center until Sunday, when they won, 95-92, to break an 0-14 skid that included three playoff losses in 2000.

Kobe Bryant had a season-high 41 points, but Pau Gasol was firmly outplayed by Pacers center Roy Hibbert, and the Lakers' reserves again abandoned the cause, failing to get the best of the Pacers' backups.

The Lakers looked tired, or uninterested, or something. They trailed, 51-45, at halftime and by 15 in the third quarter.

Weird night for the home team, in many ways.

It started with Gasol, who had 13 points on five-for-15 shooting and looked fatigued during another heavy-minute night. His assignment, Hibbert, had 24 points, shooting nine for 13.

Gasol is averaging 39 minutes a game after a restful summer in which he didn't play for the Spanish national team for the first time in five years. But he didn't look fresh Sunday.

"We really saw it tonight," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "I thought there was a number of situations where he really didn't get a good base to shoot his shot from or make a good play out of. Probably fatigue more than anything else."

Gasol was a step slow on the deciding play of the game, losing track of Hibbert in a pick-and-roll set and watching helplessly as Hibbert dunked with 16.4 seconds left. The Pacers' three-point lead stood up after Bryant missed two three-point attempts in the final seconds, including a 29-footer with 0.9 seconds to play.

The word of the night was lethargy.

"In some ways I feel more tired than others," said Gasol, who played 45 minutes Sunday. "It's a reality, but I don't complain about it. I saw the Detroit [double-overtime] game against New York. Amare Stoudemire played 54 minutes and I don't think he got asked [about it]. Obviously I'm averaging quite a few minutes and I'm out there for a while. I'll try to do my best out there and try to keep my energy as high as possible out there and do my job."

Gasol was 10th in the league in average minutes coming into Sunday.

The Lakers (13-4) were hurt by their inability to rebound late in the game, the Pacers (8-7) scoring on three consecutive possessions after they got at least one offensive rebound.

There were other issues for the Lakers. Ron Artest looked a step slow on offense, scoring three points in 26 minutes, and Shannon Brown had another bad shooting night, making only two of nine attempts.

The Lakers reserves were outscored by Indiana's, 24-14, and Derek Fisher continued a recent shooting slide, making two of eight.

Bryant didn't shoot all that well, making 14 of 33, but he was irritated by the Lakers' lack of defensive detail. "We're going to score points. But defensively, we have to sharpen that up."

The Lakers, who are 5-4 since their 8-0 start, don't have much time to tinker with their defense or rest their big men. They're in Memphis on Tuesday and Houston on Wednesday before getting a break with one game in five days.

"I thought we played a lethargic game," Jackson said. "I thought they outhustled us and obviously it paid off for them in a win."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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