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Lakers lose a close one to Pacers on night Kobe Bryant talks retirement

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives past Pacers forward Paul George during a game on Nov. 29.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives past Pacers forward Paul George during a game on Nov. 29.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

While the focus Sunday night was on Kobe Bryant, who announced he’ll retire after the season, the Lakers lost a tight one to the Indiana Pacers, 107-103, at Staples Center.

Despite a miserable start, the Lakers overcame a 22-point deficit to close to within two points on Metta World Peace’s three-pointer with 23.6 seconds left on the clock.

Paul George sunk four late free throws as the Lakers tried to extend the game but the home team ultimately ran out of time -- despite a three-pointer from Bryant with 12 seconds left to close the gap to a single point.

Bryant got a great look at a second three-pointer with seven seconds left, but his open shot went wide and didn’t draw iron.

The Lakers couldn’t have started the game more slowly, missing 18 of 20 shots through an ugly first quarter. Bryant missed seven of eight attempts, and Jordan Clarkson hit one of three -- the team’s only field goals of the quarter.

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The team couldn’t help but improve in the second quarter, but the Pacers climbed ahead by as many as 22 in the third. Nick Young’s hot shooting helped the Lakers close the gap to 15 heading into the fourth.

The Pacers were led by Paul George with 39 points. Monta Ellis added 15 while George Hill and Rodney Stuckey each had 11.

Clarkson and Young paced the Lakers with 22 points apiece. Bryant scored 13, and Julius Randle notched a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Clarkson neared a triple-double with 10 rebounds and six assists.

The Lakers (2-14) will try to end a six-game losing streak in Philadelphia on Tuesday against the winless 76ers (0-18) -- the first of eight straight on the road. The Pacers (11-5) next play the Clippers (9-8) on Wednesday.

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


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