The Los Angeles Lakers began the new year with a close loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, but have begun to show signs of life. Kobe Bryant almost had what would have been a second consecutive triple-double, while Jeremy Lin and Ed Davis came through with arguably their best performances of the season.
Los Angeles looks to get back into the win column against an Indiana Pacers team that has fallen a long way since last season. Considered contenders, Indiana lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and despite the departure of mercurial shooting guard Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets, they were widely expected to contend for an NBA Finals berth once again. Then, their star wing Paul George was lost, likely for the season, due to a broken leg sustained during Team USA's preparation for the World Cup of Basketball. Their formerly much feared frontcourt duo of David West and Roy Hibbert have been mostly pedestrian this season, but both shot above their season averages in field goal percentage during their last matchup with Los Angeles, a blowout 110-91 Pacers victory. But the real star of that game was Rodney Stuckey, as the long time Detroit Piston and first year Pacer took advantage of the Lakers horrific effort on the night to almost mess around and get a triple-double of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists in less than 30 minutes.
Reasons to hope for a Lakers win? Well, Nick Young played well in Indiana, notching 18 points on a tidy 6-12 shooting, so this could potentially be a matchup to get Lakers fans beloved sixth man out of his two game slump, shooting just 20% on three pointers in the two most recent contests. The then recently benched Carlos Boozer also played well (at least on offense), attacking the Pacers bigs to draw 10 free throws en route to 13 point, 10 rebound double double. If Kobe keeps playing within the offense, Ed Davis and Jeremy Lin stay as aggressive as they were on Friday, and Swaggy P is able to bust out of his slump, there are reasons to think that the Lakers can grab a rare victory against this wounded former giant. Or at least to hope the rematch is not as much of a bloodbath as the initial contest.
Here's hoping you enjoy the game, no matter what result you are rooting for.
Time: 6:30 p.m.