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The Lakers use game vs. Pacers to stage practice

In the midst of an 8 game road trip, one that forces them to play 8 times in 12 days, the Lakers might be struggling to find time to practice.  Nevertheless, it is important for teams to make the time to run through their offense a little bit, put in the effort to hone their shot making ability.  So, credit the resourcefullness of the coaching staff, who decided they could afford to have a practice right in the middle of an NBA game. They knew that Indiana would make no effort to disrupt them as they ran their offense.  They knew that defense wouldn't be much of an issue, as Indiana tends to take the first jump shot they can find.  It was the perfect opportunity to steal some time on the road to make sure that everything is working like it should.

The 1st half was the Lakers practice time.  They were running the triangle more consistently than I think I've seen at any time this season.  It was almost as if Phil were alone on the court with his team, a whistle in his mouth, yelling out which cuts should be happening, which reads should be made.  A possession would end either with a score or not (more often the former), the Lakers would trot down to the other side of the court like a slow paced conditioning drill, wait for Indiana to hoist a shot, and then go back to the offense and run it again. 

It was nice to see, but the lack of intensity was what you would expect out of a practice, too.  Because of this, the Pacers hung around by making a ton of jump shots, and entered half time only down two to the vastly superior Lakers.  Then, surprising absolutely no one, the Lakers came out in the 3rd quarter more focused on the defensive end, and dominated the entire 2nd half en route to an easy 22 point victory.

Individual plaudits are deserved by the bigs, who played another strong game together.  Hopefully, Pau's 21 and 13 next to Drew's 27 and 12 will go a long way towards dispelling the myth that those two players can't play together.  Kobe was also back to "MVP" Kobe, with 29 points on 15 shots, and threw in 9 rebounds and 7 assists to boot.  The bench was solid, but not spectacular, although for the bench that qualifies as good progress.

The defense in the first half was pretty poor.  The Lakers were caught ball-watching far too often and gave up open 3's to guys just because they weren't standing close enough to the 3 point line to prevent a catch and shoot.  Some of you might be thinking that Drew played poor defense because Roy Hibbert scored 21 points,but I'm here to tell you that Hibbert can do that to anybody if his hooks are falling.  It's damn near impossible to stop a guy who's 7'2" from throwing the ball over his head, and if he can throw it in the basket, that's what will happen.  The defensive effort in the 2nd half was better, although it could just be that Indiana stopped hitting all those jump shots.  Either way, the Lakers cruised easily down the stretch, with both the starters and the bench extending the lead until the end of the game.  Nobody played more than 35 minutes.

The Lakers are now 3-2, and have one more game against another Eastern Conference scrub before ending with two tough games in Boston and Memphis.  A win in Philadelphia and a split of the next two games would leave L.A. with a mildly respectful 5-3 road trip.  Sweeping all three games would send a message that they are still a force to be reckoned with.  Anything less than 2-1, and the trip is a disappointment.

I'm lazy, so I'm going to let Dex handle the numbers in tomorrow's post.  Check out what Indy Cornrows has to say if you really want to, though I imagine they don't really have much to say.

UPDATE: Here are the numbers. -DF











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