The Lakers (11-23) overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat the Indiana Pacers (13-22) on a Kobe Bryant game-winning shot with 12.4 seconds left. Here are five takeaways from their 88-87 victory Sunday night at Staples Center.
1) At 88 points, the Lakers had their lowest point total in a win this season. Their bench outscored the starters 46-42, led by Nick Young’s 22 points. The Lakers somehow got the win, despite giving up 16 offensive rebounds to just five of their own.
2) The Pacers hit 33 field goals in 90 attempts (36.7%). The Lakers actually made six fewer shots (in 71 tries, 38.0%), and only six three-pointers to Indiana’s eight. The difference in the game was at the free-throw line where the Lakers hit 28 of 30 (93.3%). The Pacers made 13 of 18 attempts (72.2%), giving up 15 points to the Lakers.
“That’s all we do after practice is shoot free throws. Coach kind of made that an emphasis and we are doing all right,” said Young after the game. “My man Ed [Davis] is even making free throws.”
Young hit all 12 of his attempts. Davis converted three of four.
3) Kobe Bryant did not agree with the call on Carlos Boozer, who was hit with a flagrant foul for shoving Indiana center Roy Hibbert. Hibbert jumped up and gave Boozer a shove in return, earning a technical foul.
“I just wonder what the league’s coming to, when that’s a flagrant foul,” said Bryant. It’s a foul, a technical foul maybe, but a flagrant foul? My goodness.”
Boozer also commented that while he did give Hibbert a little push, the Pacers’ big man flopped.
4) Now that Bryant has made passing to his teammates a greater priority, he’s become harder to defend.
Bryant scored the winner over Solomon Hill. Hill said after the loss, “Last game he came down and made that extra pass to Ed Davis and had the chance to tie it up. People wanted to stay home and I tried to play him the best that I could without being over-aggressive.”
Davis ultimately missed a free throw that would have given the Lakers a tie in the final seconds in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, but Bryant’s willingness to pass then may have helped the Lakers seal their victory on Sunday.
5) With Wesley Johnson out with a hip injury, Coach Byron Scott turned to Ryan Kelly for a stretch at small forward. Kelly has missed most of the season with hamstring issues. He helped the Lakers close out the game against the Pacers, playing power forward next to Carlos Boozer and in the final stop, Ed Davis.
Kelly’s box score stands out, despite no points, assists, steals or blocks, and just two rebounds and two fouls in 11 1/2 minutes. Kelly led the Lakers with a +/- of eight -- meaning his team outscored the Pacers by eight points with Kelly on the floor.