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Lakers go cold in loss to Pacers

Kobe Bryant scores 40 point, but that's the only bright spot as Indiana wins, 79-77, on last-second shot by George Hill.

November 27, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
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Now that's how you keep a secret.

It looked as if the Princeton offense had returned to Staples Center, unannounced and hush-hush style. The coaches did a nice job of hiding its comeback. Players too.

But, no, that was Coach Mike D'Antoni's push-the-pace scheme leading to 33 first-half points Tuesday for the Lakers. On 32.5% shooting.

It barely got any better, the Lakers losing to the Indiana Pacers, 79-77, on George Hill's last-second shot.

As reporters scrambled for record books to gauge team records for futility, the Lakers tried to work their way out of their jam, slowly, painfully, much like a root canal trying to settle after an agonizing time in the chair.

"That was not nice," D'Antoni said. "I haven't witnessed many times that you're one from 100 almost on the floor….it was awful, just bad shooting."

Despite 40 points from Kobe Bryant, the Lakers brushed up against the team record for worst accuracy since moving to Los Angeles, making 24 of 76 shots (31.6%) to edge out their 29.4% in Utah in a 2004 game.

Their offense looked nothing like the "seven seconds or less" mantra D'Antoni adhered to in earlier NBA stops.

Forget about shooting the ball within the first seven seconds of every possession. The Lakers barely scored seven points in the first six minutes of the third quarter.

They made six of 28 three-point shots (21.4%) on the night and were 23 for 43 from the free-throw line (53.5%).

"We shouldn't miss 20 foul shots. Twenty is remarkable," D'Antoni said.

Pau Gasol continued to stumble, one possession saying it all. He had his shot blocked out of bounds by Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Then he fumbled an entry pass from Bryant, had it stolen by Hibbert and turned around to foul Hibbert in frustration.

Gasol was one for eight at the time with two points. There were more than eight minutes left in the third quarter.

Fans started booing on the Lakers' next possession after Bryant lost the ball out of bounds. It was his fifth turnover, on his way to 10.

Luckily for the Lakers, the Pacers weren't much better, shooting 36.7%.

But Hill slipped past Metta World Peace, Gasol and Dwight Howard to score the game-winning layup with one-tenth of a second to play. Like the rest of the game, it wasn't pretty, the ball bouncing off the front of the rim and then the back of it before falling through.

"I don't know what happened, to tell you the truth," World Peace said.

Hill finished with 19 points on seven-for-12 shooting, one of only two players who shot better than 50% for Indiana.

Howard was the only player to make more than half his shots for the Lakers, hitting seven of 10.

Gasol had 10 points on two-for-nine shooting. World Peace had four points on one-for-eight accuracy. Darius Morris missed all six of his attempts and Antawn Jamison made one of seven.

Bryant had his big night after missing the morning shoot-around because of flu symptoms. Howard had 17 points but missed nine of 12 free-throw attempts, including a pair with 58.2 seconds left. World Peace then missed a pair too.

As bad as the Lakers were before halftime, they still beat the team record for fewest points in a half (23 against Denver in 2009). They also rubbed away the chances of setting a team record for fewest points in a game — 70 against Denver in 2002. Both futility marks were since the shot clock was introduced in 1954.

Those were small victories. Very small. The Lakers still have plenty of work to do. An astonishing amount, apparently.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Besnahan

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