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In ugly mess of game, George Hill’s pretty shot lifts Pacers over Lakers

Nov 28, 2012, 3:34 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

At least Lakers fans got to leave Staples Center Tuesday night with a Chick Hearn bobblehead (the Lakers honored their legendary former broadcaster).

I say that because I’m trying to help them find something positive.

And there isn’t much else – the Lakers lost in an ugly game 79-77 to the Indiana Pacers. This was the kind of embarrassing performance that would have the Lakers trying to fire Mike Brown if they hadn’t already done so. They shot 31.6 percent, 21.4 percent from three, missed 22 free throws (6-of-28) including four in crunch time, Kobe Bryant alone had 10 turnovers and their defense was spotty.

The Indiana Pacers weren’t much better (they shot 36.7 percent) but they played better team basketball and in the end were redeemed by George Hill, who hit a pretty layup high off the glass (over the sweeping hand of Dwight Howard) with .01 seconds left to give Indiana the win.

That shot was one of the few pretty things in a game that was ugly. Top to bottom. It was the kind of game that while watching it you thought neither team deserved to win. The two teams combined for 33 turnovers. It was ugly right down to Joey Crawford being in full “look at me” mode and handing out technical fouls like a Pez dispenser.

For the Pacers, who have struggled on offense this season it was another confirmation that their defense can keep them in games. But their offense was once again a mess — they shot 36.7 percent. They were 4-of-19 from three. They turned the ball over on 20.8 percent of their possessions.

What Indiana did well was defend. You knew they would going in (they had the second best defense in the NBA). That and George Hill (19 points on the night) and David West (16 points) were enough.

For the Lakers, it was a night where they fell back into the worst habits they had of the Phil Jackson era:

They expected Kobe Bryant to do everything and the Lakers stood around and watched him. There was too much Kobe for the Lakers — her finished with 40 points and the rest of the team had 37. When this happens you don’t get the efficient Kobe the Lakers have seen earlier in the season — he was 12-of-28 shooting and had 10 turnovers.

This wasn’t Kobe the ball hog, this is what Kobe always has been — he wants to win and if the rest of his team is going to stand around and miss their shots, he will take on the extra load himself to push them toward a win. Kobe has an unwavering belief in himself and his teammates gave him no reason to trust them in this game with their play.

The rest of the Lakers settled. They didn’t move well off the ball. They didn’t hit the good look shots they did have. And they missed their free throws — the Lakers were 6-of-28 from the stripe. Dwight Howard was 3-of-12 but the rest of the team was 3-of-16, and that includes some crucial misses by Metta World Peace late.

The Lakers clearly miss Steve Nash in this offense, Kobe cannot be the primary ball handler every time down (especially when battling the flu). Kobe makes some good decisions but is gets taken out of what he does best (scoring) when the team’s entire playmaking responsibility falls to him.

But Nash is not a cure all. The return of Nash and Steve Blake is not going to be transformative for this team if they put up an effort like they did Tuesday night. If they don’t defend better and knock down shots when they are open.

Right now the Lakers are just not a very good team. And they displayed that in all their glory Tuesday night.

  1. BigBeachBall - Nov 28, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    Dweedle dee and dweedle dumb can never replace chic

    • cosanostra71 - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      I like Stu.

      • 00maltliquor - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        I LOVE Stu. That was Chick’s right hand man.

        Agree 1,000,000,000,000.9999% that Francis “Chick” Hearn can NOT ever be replaced. The two duds after Chick sucked. Hard. Billy Mac does a fine job though, I’m happy with him.

  2. crillbill - Nov 28, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    A well balanced all around lowsy effort. Somehow blame it on Pau and Dantoni has his scapegoat. I wonder why Dantoni was available.. Phil Jackson is even smarter than I realized.

    • cosanostra71 - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Yes, those who are blaming Pau for this loss are very short-sighted. Pau did not play his best, but he was one of the few hitting his free throws late. Kobe was the only one who decided to show up completely, and Dwight had an ok performance, but the rest of the team did not bother to come to the game mentally. There were several wide open 3s that they missed (Duhon and Jamison especially), and there was a critical part late in the fourth where the Lakers missed four consecutive free throws that would have given them the lead (I believe it was Dwight and MWP). Quote simply, you can’t shoot 50% on free throws and expect to win a game. You also can’t have MWP lead your team in assists and expect to win either (no offense to Metta).

  3. davidly - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    For nerds like me keeping track, Bryant’s line was remarkably similar to Jordan’s famous flu-game, right down to the 44 minutes played.
    Bryant: 12-28 (11 of 13 FT) for 40pts with 10 rebounds and 3 assists
    Jordan: 13-27 (10 of 12 FT) for 38pts, plus 7 rebounds and 5 assists

    Both had three steals.
    There were huge exceptions, of course–not least of which was KB having seven more turnovers than MJ, the latter’s game having been in the finals on the road, and Batman having to be carried off the court by Robin at the end of the game.

    The teams’ respective turnover and shot percentage discrepancies notwithstanding (Jordan didn’t get much more help from his team-mates than you might think, but took better care of the ball), when evaluating team play, the following metric keeps sticking out to me:
    MJ took 27 shots to the team’s 17 assists.
    KB took 28 shots to his team’s 13 assists.

    Win or lose, I don’t believe a team should be happy with any one player taking more shots than the team has assists. I’d be interested to see an aggregated winning percentage of games in which that was the case versus games in which it wasn’t.

  4. lemfax - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    He is alright. He is a 50-50 guy, as long as he got his points no matter what happened win or loss he will be alright. But don’t bring him to the losing situation with his very ugly performance I don’t really know what gonna happ..

  5. lemfax - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    But he still a great player!

  6. paulhargis53 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    Well, no lakerluver until they win another game. That’s a good thing.

  7. rjlink1 - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    Correction for anyone who cares: the Lakers were not 6 for 28 from the free throw line. They were 6 for 28 from three.

  8. magicbucs - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Just imagine if Kobe didn’t play cause of his “flu”. The lakers would of scored 37 total points. Ok maybe about 50 since Kobe took 28 shots but still…I’m loving this.

  9. ebrownwareagle - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Kobe shot 12-28 the rest of the team(other than D12)4-34. He should have shot more! The rest of the team was atrocious!

  10. cosanostra71 - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I was at this game and it was incredibly disappointing. From where I was sitting, Hills shot looked like there was offensive interference, but I have not seen any replays and I didn’t have the best view. I do think the refs were a bit over active last night, Joey Crawford especially. The Lakers did not deserve to win this game though. Kobe and and Dwight were the only players who bothered to show up.

  11. 00maltliquor - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    That was one of the UGLIEST Laker games I’ve ever seen in my life! The Lakers should be ASHAMED of theirselves, doing that on Chick Hearn’s birthday!! Missed free throws, 3 pointers and turnovers GA-LORE! Hooooooow in the wooooorld the Lakers almost won and only lost by two is beyond my level of comprehension!

    I am so, so sorry Chick. This shouldn’t have happend like this on your day.

    When Dwight Howard missed those two free throws, then Ron-Metta got foule going for the rebound, and in turn got to go to the line for another two, I KNEW they would both clank. That was the luck going on that day. 4 missed FTs in a row, in the clutch?! Are you serious!? Go back to training camp! I am so disgusted. Chicky Baby prolly rollin’ in his grave last night. Not right.

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