Preview: Lakers hope to continue improved play in Indiana vs. Pacers

Last week, the Lakers (11-42) won two straight before falling in a close game against the Spurs (43-8) in San Antonio. On Monday, the Lakers look to avoid another losing streak, visiting the Indiana Pacers (27-24).

The Lakers should have Kobe Bryant (shoulder) available for his final career appearance in Indiana. Rookie Larry Nance Jr. (knee) is out while it's unclear if Roy Hibbert (ankle) will be able to play against his former team.

Julius Randle also tweaked his ankle on Saturday against the Spurs, but the Lakers are hoping he'll be available on Monday.

The Pacers are mostly healthy, although veteran guard Rodney Stuckey (ankle) won't play.

Key matchup

The Pacers originally experimented with All-Star Paul George at power forward, but have since promoted rookie Myles Turner to the starting lineup at the four.

Now George plays in his natural small forward position, where he'll match up against Bryant.

On the season, George is leading his team at 23.4 points a game on the season, while hitting 38.9% from three-point range.  He's also at 7.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists nightly.

Over Bryant's past four games, he's averaged 28.3 points, helping the Lakers win two of four.

Additionally, George is a high-level defensive player -- a true challenge for Bryant.

X-factor

After a slow start in his first year with the Pacers, guard Monta Ellis is averaging 14.1 points and 4.9 assists a game.

The veteran is not much of an outside threat, hitting just 30.6% from behind the three-point line, but he can explode for big scoring nights if not properly checked.

Meanwhile, Turner has scored at least eight points in each of his last 13 games, with spikes at 20, 25 and 31.

If Hibbert is unable to play for the Lakers, Robert Sacre might get the start, although Coach Byron Scott could turn to Brandon Bass or Tarik Black.

Outlook

The Pacers have not won consistently recently, but at a higher clip than the Lakers. Look for the Lakers to drop their second-straight game on Monday night.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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