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Thursday, January 28, 2010
Lakers beat Pacers: The Reactions

By Andy Kamenetzky

Before last night's 118-96 win over the Indiana Pacers, I appeared on the 710 ESPN's Kia Motors Lakers Shootaround Show with Steve Mason. One of our guests was Dan Dakich, who covers the Pacers for 1070 The Fan. Dakich wasn't sure if Coach Jim O'Brien would opt to go small with Troy Murphy at center (the way the Pacers play most effectively) or outside their comfort zone with Roy Hibbert at center to match the Lakers size. That indecision struck me as indicative of the Pacers' central problem against the Lakers: Playing either dwarfed or uncomfortably. As it turned out, the answer to "WWJO'BD" was "a fair amount of both." As it also turned out, neither approach was "the answer."

Ron Hoskins/Getty Images
A lot of this happened while the Lakers beat Indiana.



With Murphy kicking off at the five, the Lakers wasted no time shuttling the rock to Andrew Bynum and working the size/"Murphy can't defend a stationary bike" advantage. Drew's first five shots were good and even with Hibbert eventually inserted to check him, didn't really matter much. 12-14 shooting for 27 points (although Hibbert wasn't exactly stymied in the reverse matchup). Phil Jackson admitted afterward to being surprised by the call to go small, but like I said earlier, "damned if you do, damned if you don't" for O'Brien. Eight points, Nine Seconds provides a terrific breakdown of why the Pacers coach faces a classic "no win" situation.

Kinda like the poor souls dispatched with the task of guarding Kobe Bryant.


Bad news for Dahntay Jones (starting specifically because of his prowess at "stopping" the Mamba) or anybody else drawing the typically Herculean assignment: Kobe is feeling good these days. The back spasms are gone and the metallic splint seems to be cooperating with the fractured index finger. This development tickles the Black Mamba pink, and the L.A. Times' Mike Bresnahan shared Kobe's buoyant mood:

Victory's aftermath wasn't all sunshine and moon pies, however. L.A.'s big men may have found statsy triumph- Pau Gasol scored 21, Lamar Odom grabbed 14 rebounds- but PJ wasn't entirely satisfied. He was quick to tag their protection of the middle "soft" and called for an immediate clampdown. It's not the first time Jackson has gotten on his bigs over defense (particularly Bynum), so would such criticisms perhaps prevent either from a trip to Dallas in February? Well, All-Star bids typically have jack to do with defense, but the Press-Enterprise's Jeff Eisenberg shares Drew's concerns over what might get in the way: Either way, Bynum considers his season All-Star caliber, and there's some degree of solace to be found there.

Finally, lest anybody worry the blowout reduced Indianapolis' paying customers to a moody, sulking cluster of sadness, fear not. Indy Cornrows reports of a predictable (if understandably disappointing) contingent gracing the seats. LAKERS NEWS

-Adam Morrison is named to the Joe Toucan Diabetes Project advisory board.
-Sasha Vujacic is trying to remain positive in the wake of smaller minutes.

NBA NEWS

-No word yet on the severity of Tony Parker's ankle sprain, but he's likely to miss a little time.
-Dwight Howard could live with a few more touches.
-Jason Terry may be out out of the 6MOY race.
-True Hoop's Henry Abbott takes a detailed look at what happens next for Gilbert Arenas- suspended, along with former Laker Javaris Crittenton, for the season's remainder- and the Washington Wizards.
-For that matter, who knows what happens next for Antawn Jamison and the rest of the Wiz?