Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/30

Game 1: Sunday, November 30th
Game 2: Monday, February 2nd

Pacers 77

(14-3, 7-1 away)

Lakers 99

(14-3, 10-0 home)

Coverage: FSW

6:30 PM ET, November 30, 2003

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
IND 17 20 14 2677
LAL 23 23 22 3199

Top Performers

Ind: A. Harrington 18 Pts, 10 Reb

LAL: S. O'Neal 23 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 Blk

Indiana held to 39.1 percent shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Indiana coach Rick Carlisle likened the Los Angeles Lakers to a Dream Team.

That was before the Lakers overpowered the Pacers in a matchup of the NBA's best teams through the season's first month.

Shaquille O'Neal scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, and the Lakers' defense did what Indiana's usually does in a 99-77 victory Sunday night.

"They are an exceptional team right now and we're going to have to get better," Carlisle said afterward. "We didn't play our best, but they had a lot to do with it.

"Everybody's talking about their offense. Tonight, their defense impressed me."

The Pacers (14-3) entered as the league's best defensive team, having allowed their first 16 opponents an average of 80.4 points.

But the Lakers (14-3) were the best defensive team on this night, forcing 23 turnovers and limiting the Pacers to a 39.1 percent shooting performance.

"We knew we had to play well to beat this team," O'Neal said. "When we're playing like that, I don't think there's anybody that can beat us."

The victory was the sixth straight and ninth in 10 games for the Lakers, and extended their regular-season home winning streak to a Los Angeles franchise-record 25 including 10 this season.

The previous record of 24 was set 15 years ago.

The loss snapped the Pacers' eight-game winning streak and was their first setback in eight road games.

O'Neal, who played only five minutes in the first half because of foul problems, shot 8-of-13 from the floor and 7-of-12 from the foul line before coming out of the game for good with 6:24 remaining.

He also had five rebounds and four blocked shots in 23 minutes.

"I thought he was really keyed and ready for this game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of O'Neal, who was playing his second game after missing two because of a strained right calf muscle.

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher added 12 points each and Karl Malone had 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers. The 40-year-old Malone played 31 minutes before sitting out the fourth quarter.

"We're playing defense extremely well right now," Bryant said. "What's impressed me the most is the consistency. We're getting after teams night in and night out."

Al Harrington led Indiana with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jermaine O'Neal added 14 points for the Pacers. Ron Artest was held to six points and five rebounds.

"Give them the credit. Obviously you want to play well against the team that's the beast of the West," Indiana's Reggie Miller said. "Everyone expected to see our best, but tonight wasn't. We got their best, and they showed it."

Two free throws by Shaquille O'Neal with 2:58 left in the third quarter capped a 15-4 run and gave the Lakers a 64-45 lead. It was 68-51 entering the final period, and the Pacers were unable to pose a threat after that.

The Lakers have won their last six games by an average of just under 20 points per game.

Devean George's 3-pointer with 2:35 remaining in the second period -- his only points of the game -- capped a 7-0 run and put the Lakers on top 41-30.

The Pacers drew within six points before Bryon Russell's 3-pointer just before the first half ended made it 46-37.

The Lakers, who never trailed, led 23-17 after a sloppy first quarter in which the teams combined for 15 turnovers -- nine by the Pacers.

Shaquille O'Neal sat out the second quarter after picking up his third foul with 1.9 seconds left in the first period. He got his first two in the opening 4{ minutes.

Game notes

The Pacers entered averaging 14.19 turnovers per game to rank fifth in the NBA. The Lakers were tied for 12th, averaging 15. They finished with 14 in this game. ... The Lakers brought a 103.4-point average into the game to rank second in the NBA behind Sacramento (105.4) and had scored 100 or more points in each of their previous five games. ... The Pacers had held nine of their previous 10 opponents to 78 points or less. ... The Pacers had been the only unbeaten NBA team on the road. But their seven road victories are all over Eastern Conference teams who have a cumulative record of 54-67. ... The game was the first of five for the Pacers on an eight-day road trip against Western Conference teams and completed a five-game homestand for the Lakers. ... The Western Conference has 11 teams with winning records while the East has only three -- Indiana, Detroit (12-6) and New Orleans (11-6). ... Indiana's Jamaal Tinsley didn't suit up because of a sore lower back.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 77 99
FGM-FGA 27-69 (.391) 36-75 (.480)
3PM-3PA 3-14 (.214) 6-14 (.429)
FTM-FTA 20-26 (.769) 21-28 (.750)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-40 6-35
Assists 10 25
Turnovers 23 14
Steals 7 8
Blocks 3 6
Fast Break Points 1 3
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/0) 27 (1/0)

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Al Harrington Harrington
Points: 18
Reb: 10
Ast: 0
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 23
Reb: 5
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 4