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Things to watch in Lakers-Pacers matchup

6a00d8341c506253ef01310f579504970c-320wi1. Will the Lakers' unfamiliarity with Indiana hurt their preparation? Coach Phil Jackson acknowledged after Saturday's practice at the team's facility that he's not that familiar with Indiana. Given the Lakers' six-point loss to Utah, the team will be, as Jackson noted, motivated. So I don't forsee the Lakers (13-3) dropping Sunday night's contest at Staples Center against the Pacers (7-7). But this isn't one of those games the Lakers can automatically chalk up as a W, and the lack of familiarity could mean some adjustments will need to be made.

Jackson stressed that the Lakers need to take this team seriously. He's heard remarks that Indiana will be a playoff-bound team. He still remembers Troy Murphy's game-winning tip-in during the 2008-09 season. And he caught on film the Pacers managing to score 58 third-quarter points recently against Denver; Indiana hit 20 consecutive shots.

"We have that understanding," Jackson said, "that this is a team that keeps playing."

2. The Lakers need to control momentum-changing plays.

Players in the Nuggets' locker room following Indiana's miraculous third-quarter run, according to the Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman, mostly seemed resigned and amused by the achievement. The Lakers were much the same after Phoenix nailed a franchise-record 22 three-pointers, with the team boasting in confidence the Suns couldn't duplicate that in a playoff series and very little could be done defensively to stop it. Should Indiana go on a scoring streak of any kind, the Lakers shouldn't keep to such an attitude.

Instead, they should be recall whatJackson said during the West Finals matchup last season against Phoenix: that the team needs to recognize momentum-changing plays. A look at the Lakers' three losses shows their failure to do that -- including Phoenix's three-point shooting, adjusting to Denver's small lineup and the energy from Utah's bench as well the scoreless drought in the last 2:32 of the game.

"You always underestimate it in maybe the course of a game," Jackson said. "But you see it again in retrospect and watching tape what basically happened to a ball club."

3. The Lakers' high-efficiency offense and Indiana's improved defense could mean a battle of wills.

The Pacers have won three of their last five games because of solid defense. They rank eighth in points allowed (96.57) and second in field-goal percentage allowed (42.6). The Lakers' league-leading 110.56 points per game can be credited to Kobe Bryant's quick recovery from his surgically repaired right knee, the consistency of Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, the unusual regular-season efficiency of Derek Fisher and the Killer B's instant chemistry off the bench.

Though the Lakers have shown a remarkable ability to push the pace while remaining disciplined, as detailed by ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky, those qualities alone won't always win the game. Playing the Jazz, which leads the league in field-goal percentage allowed (42.6%), the Lakers discovered that simply relying on their high-octane style wouldn't always cut it. There are going to be nights when Bryant's shot isn't so sharp and when the Lakers can't rely heavily on three-point shooting. But here's what the Lakers are aware of and sometimes ignore: Their strength lies in their inside game first. Anything else should be within the context of exploiting double teams inside and making opponents spread the floor instead of settling for uncontested outside shots. 

4. Ron Artest versus Danny Granger

For various reasons that include back problems, Matt Barnes' resurgence and the failure to establish a definitive rhythm, Artest hasn't had that signature defensive performance yet this season. Although Artest has said time and again that team defense on pick and rolls and helping the defense are more important than any individual matchup, Artest is going up against Granger, and it could prove important in a number of ways.

One, Granger averages around 22 points per game, so neutralizing that threat can relieve the defensive burden. Should Artest match up with Granger fairly well, it leaves the Lakers' defense less worried about  having to double team him and allows them to focus their energies elsewhere. And for Artest, it could prove a confidence booster for someone who kept Granger at bay last season under his season average. Artest has shown time and again that when he has a specific matchup to focus on, he's more motivated to take care of the task at hand.

-- Mark Medina

twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Kobe Bryant, shown making an inside move on Indiana's Brandon Rush in a March 2, 2010, game, had 24 points and six assists to lead the Lakers to a 122-99 victory in the 2009-2010 regular season at Staples Center. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

 
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I know it's a double dribble...but...

lewstrs checking in for Roll Call again...

Nothing like a roll call to start the day off right. Thank you Mamba24.
-
Here's the thing with the Lakers that is the ONLY concern I have right now...
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In our losses we've let the other teams go on runs at the end that sealed the game for them. This is something the Lakers do, it's not something we let other teams do.
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We're the team that when down by 10 points with three minutes left, straightens its spine, gets to work, and breaks the spirit of the opposition with 30 seconds left in the game. It's what we do.
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We don't let the Thuggets or the Jazz (THERE IS NO JAZZ IN UTAH!!!) go on runs in the end of the fourth quarter. This is called in Lakerlore "a collapse". This is what we've done in our losses. We've collapsed.
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Will we lose to Indiana? Hell no.
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Will we be better when Bynum puts down the Wii controller are starts playing basketball? Hell yes!
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Should we be concerned about these collapses? A little.
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I think behind everything we've become so professional as a team that we might need to re-learn a little bit of an edge.
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I can feel it. Even as a blogger, I find myself posting less because I am so confident in this team. I practically have the attitude of "Everything is cool. The Lakers will take care of it."
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Confidence is fantastic and all... but it's always important to have an edge.
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I've never appreciated the Chicken Littles of this blog. Actually, I've hated them. And I still do, but a little less. They do have an edge after all, even if that's all they've got.
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We're Lakeraholics and we expect unreachable perfection--which is stupid--but we should be a somewhat dismayed by "collapses." We don't collapse. We bring collapse upon others. It's what we do. We're the Lakers.
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We give other teams hope... and then we take that hope away.
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What do we play for? RINGS!!!
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Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.
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GO LAKERS!!!

I know that I should just ignore him but after listening to the hobbitmage complaining about being maligned, misrepresented, and misunderstood you reach a point where you just need to speak up. This is a guy who obviously has never played the game at a competitive team level, who naively thinks that posting a link that agrees with him is righteous proof or evidence that he is right when all it really represents is more tit for tat, and who when pushed has a known history of resorting to obscenities.

I have to laugh at the wolf’s new strategy of sheepishly contending that he has always been a Bynum Backer and that MVP888 and I have somehow magically managed to fool everybody and convince them he is a hater by intentionally misrepresenting his genuine comments and concerns about Drew. Raise your hand if you think that hobbitmage is really a Bynum fan who is hoping that Drew comes back, remains healthy, and plays great. Raise your hand if you think he ever cheers for Drew.
..

So let’s set the record straight. Hobbitmage is NO Andrew Bynum fan. Even a fool could see from his history of posts that he has no respect and little appreciation for what Andrew has done for the team or what he means to this year’s chances to 3-peat much less what he means to the franchise’s future. Even a fool can read between the lines and see the charade that hobbitmage is now trying to pull off is just another attempt to beguile, mislead, and misinform so as to create the illusion that he supports Andrew Bynum. when the reality is that he would likely jump up clapping if Drew got hurt again.
………………………………….

TOM

cool, another profile. Great reading about you, Jefe.

@JAMF…Thought I would chime in on the naming of the RCOD award. Count me in favor of Edwin’s excellent suggestion to call the award the Friedman for our male bloggers and the Justa for our female bloggers. Seriously, you two are acknowledged bloggers whose records speak for themselves and to whom it would be a great honor for any blogger to be compared. So while you may have a mantle of Friedman’s, JAMF, congrats on your first Justa.
…………………………..

@LEWSTERS… Congrats on your and Cora’s tenth. Now the years will start to fly like you’ve never seen them. Just got a notice that I have to renew my driver’s license since it has been 5 years and I swear I just did that last year. Carpe diem becomes more important every day you get older. Enjoy! By the way, birthday brother, Pearl Harbor Day is justar0und the corner. Double 6’s for me. Wow!

……………………………

TOM

We should defend the 3 point line well. and manage Pau's minutes better.

*_____________________________________________________________________*
HAPPY 10TH ANNIVWERSARY LEWSTRS AND CORA – BANDWAGON
*______________________________________________________________________*
Thanks all for the Anniversary wishes...
*______________________________________________________________________*
(01) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN – OWNER - lew - congratulations on your anniversary!!!
lew - for you and Cora - a beautiful song.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLc1mZF_LYg
(02) 2PHATT – DRIVER - Congrats on your 10th, I celebrated a close friends 29th yesterday.
(03) MAMBA24 – RIDING SHOTGUN – Do I have to say it Lew?...OUT FREAKIN STANDING
LEWSTRS & CORA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(04) FAN OF THE MAMBA – Congrats Lew!
(05) LAKERLASS – Happy Anniversay LEWSTRS!!!
(06) SEGEBOY/TALIQ – THE SHERIFF -
(07) D(EREK) J(ETER)
(08) SEELEY_IGGY - Lewstr and Cora, congratulations on your anniversary. Here's another lovely song dedicated to the both of you. Just don't get distracted by Shania Twain's smokin' outfit ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CxWOClbpcg
(09) KOBEMVP888 - LEWSTRS! The big 10, baybeeee! Mazel Tov!
(10) LAKERTOM - LEWSTERS… Congrats on your and Cora’s tenth. Now the years will start to fly like you’ve never seen them. Just got a notice that I have to renew my driver’s license since it has been 5 years and I swear I just did that last year. Carpe diem becomes more important every day you get older. Enjoy! By the way, birthday brother, Pearl Harbor Day is justar0und the corner. Double 6’s for me. Wow!

Roll call ... checking in!!!

Tonight, the redoubtable Indiana Pacers, a team that has recently been playing some pretty good basketball and not one to be taken lightly. With an improved Roy Hibbert, an up and coming point guard in Darren Collison and a reliable scorer in Danny Granger, they have quietly put together some decent chemistry. Throw in a couple of tough perimeter shooters like Mike Dunleavy and Brandon Rush and some nice role players, including James Posey, Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough, and you have the makings of an Eastern Conference playoff team.

It is against teams like the Pacers where the absence of Andrew Bynum can be noticable, so Pau and Lamar will have to bring their "A" games. Then again, it IS Sunday night at Staples Center after a loss, so Pacers beware!

1-2-3 RING! #17 coming up STRONG!!

So let’s set the record straight. Hobbitmage is NO Andrew Bynum fan. Even a fool could see from his history of posts that he has no respect and little appreciation for what Andrew has done for the team or what he means to this year’s chances to 3-peat much less what he means to the franchise’s future. Even a fool can read between the lines and see the charade that hobbitmage is now trying to pull off is just another attempt to beguile, mislead, and misinform so as to create the illusion that he supports Andrew Bynum. when the reality is that he would likely jump up clapping if Drew got hurt again.

Posted by: LakerTom | November 28, 2010 at 01:43 PM
====

You think? He could have fooled me! LMAO!

hobbitmage is not a Bynum fan. He's a hobbitmage fan.

We should .....

Posted by: keen observer | November 28, 2010 at 02:19 PM
=====

"We" ???

@hawaiiD – Belated congrats on the RCOTD from yesterday.


@Justa – Congrats on the RCOTD.


@Jefe – I enjoyed your profile and also enjoy your posts. I agree about that 1988 series against the Pistons. Those last two games were tremendous.

We have 3 losses with no real center. I wonder if anyone realizes this? gasol is a forward, and a center too but that's not why we have him.

Once Bynum and Ratliff are back this team is going to be a force to be reckoned with. So we lose a little bit early on? (3 games) who cares? The Lakers don't.

Tonight will be another exciting game to watch, I can't wait. I am excited to see artest step it up on D.. hopefully. I wonder if he needs to get back to his therapist? LOL

I wonder if he needs to get back to his therapist? LOL Posted by: Diandra | November 28, 2010 at 02:42 PM
*
Lol, be nice Diandra!

I know it's a double dribble...but...lewstrs checking in for Roll Call again...Posted by: LEWSTRS | November 28, 2010 at 01:30 PM
*
They call that a LeCrab dribble now LEWSTRS! LOL! Carry On sir! And congrats!

@Mamba - As always...thanks for the game day roll call.


@Lew - Happy Anniversary my brother. (I loved Justa's and Seely Iggy's selections). And since the wifey is a fan of Shania...here's one to help you celebrate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNZH-emehxA


And of course a 70's music lover like yourself probably also jammed to this "Still The One":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbH_sDyWZqo&feature=related

Wow. The Heat are just melting down right now. 9-8. 4-6 in their last ten. LeBron introducing new logos and bumping his coach (just like he did in Clevleand).


We all think the Lakers will be tough on the Pacers tonight after 1 loss . At some point isn't the Heat likely to be dangerous, or are they just dangerous to themselves?


I guess LeBron forgot to bring "his talents" to South Beach. I have been watching them, expecting them to gell at some point. Even got a Friedman for it the other day. But it is not a lock at this point. And LeBron bumping Spoelstra doesn't help his job security.


I think if the Heat had come out strong it might have been a motivator for the Lakers. As it is the Lakers are playing very well, but without real urgency. Maybe they need to be reminded of the Shaq-headed Green Monster. There is still a threat out East.


Pacers go down hard tonight. The 'don't know them well" is Phil desperate for a motivator.


Hey, LakerTom, good luck. Poking the hobbitimage beast isn't always a great idea!

@LROB, You are welcome sir and thank you very much! Carry On!

TD, the heat will be alright. They are top 5 in Opponent field and field goal %. They are one of the better defensive teams in the league. They will be fine.
I doubt that we can beat them on Christmas.

Put me in the HAPPY 10TH ANNIVWERSARY LEWSTRS AND CORA – BANDWAGON

Lew, I wish you and Cora another 10 years, my friend!

*_____________________________________________________________________*
HAPPY 10TH ANNIVWERSARY LEWSTRS AND CORA – BANDWAGON
*______________________________________________________________________*
Thanks all for the Anniversary wishes...
*______________________________________________________________________*
(01) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN – OWNER - lew - congratulations on your anniversary!!!
lew - for you and Cora - a beautiful song.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLc1mZF_LYg
(02) 2PHATT – DRIVER - Congrats on your 10th, I celebrated a close friends 29th yesterday.


(09) KOBEMVP888 - LEWSTRS! The big 10, baybeeee! Mazel Tov!
(10) LAKERTOM - LEWSTERS… Congrats on your and Cora’s tenth. Now the years will start to fly like you’ve never seen them. Just got a notice that I have to renew my driver’s license since it has been 5 years and I swear I just did that last year. Carpe diem becomes more important every day you get older. Enjoy! By the way, birthday brother, Pearl Harbor Day is justar0und the corner. Double 6’s for me. Wow!
(11) LROB - Lew - Happy Anniversary my brother. (I loved Justa's and Seely Iggy's selections). And since the wifey is a fan of Shania...here's one to help you celebrate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNZH-emehxA And of course a 70's music lover like yourself probably also jammed to this "Still The One": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbH_sDyWZqo&feature=related
(12) MAGIC PHIL - Put me in the HAPPY 10TH ANNIVWERSARY LEWSTRS AND CORA – BANDWAGON Lew, I wish you and Cora another 10 years, my friend!


TD, the heat will be alright. They are top 5 in Opponent field and field goal %. They are one of the better defensive teams in the league. They will be fine.
I doubt that we can beat them on Christmas.

Posted by: keen observer | November 28, 2010 at 03:05 PM
=====

Exactly what kicks do you get out of posing?

keen can justify a Cheat team that is 9-8...

But will tear up, dissect and rip a Laker team that is 13-3...

my response:

keen is not a Laker fan, but a Cheat fan...

That explains everything...

This is the equivalent of feeding a juicy steak to a pack of dogs. So enjoy devouring

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-LeBron-James-bumps-his-coach-again?urn=nba-289728

Kumpadre, happy 10th and growing. On my 10th anniversary, I got a clock from my Company, that's being an employee. How about when you are a slave in the house, what do you get from Cora?

Ah I know, she'll say after a milestone - Go Lakers1

Here is the usual Anniversary song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0qD0ejB79k

*_____________________________________________________________________*
HAPPY 10TH ANNIVWERSARY LEWSTRS AND CORA – BANDWAGON
*______________________________________________________________________*
Thanks all for the Anniversary wishes...
*______________________________________________________________________*
(01) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN – OWNER - lew - congratulations on your anniversary!!!
lew - for you and Cora - a beautiful song.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLc1mZF_LYg
(02) 2PHATT – DRIVER - Congrats on your 10th, I celebrated a close friends 29th yesterday.


(11) LROB - Lew - Happy Anniversary my brother. (I loved Justa's and Seely Iggy's selections). And since the wifey is a fan of Shania...here's one to help you celebrate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNZH-emehxA And of course a 70's music lover like yourself probably also jammed to this "Still The One": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbH_sDyWZqo&feature=related
(12) MAGIC PHIL - Put me in the HAPPY 10TH ANNIVWERSARY LEWSTRS AND CORA – BANDWAGON Lew, I wish you and Cora another 10 years, my friend
(13) EDWIN GUECO - Kumpadre, happy 10th and growing. On my 10th anniversary, I got a clock from my Company, that's being an employee. How about when you are a slave in the house, what do you get from Cora? Ah I know, she'll say after a milestone - Go Lakers! Here is the usual Anniversary song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0qD0ejB79k

Psyched for the game tonight - time to right the ship, get the Killer Bs back on track, and get back to the business of mercilessly dominating teams that have no business coming into Staples in search of a win.

Lol, be nice Diandra!

Just sayinig, it seemed to work last year!!
also thanks for the morning welcome :)

I think the Lakers definitely need to contain Granger and Collison. Last time Hibbert's game was great, but I think it was due in large part to Pau's fatigue, and with Drew working his way back into things, Pau should play less than 45 minutes.

We just need to work to get easy hoops, and Kobe definitely doesn't need to take 33 shots like last time.

www.lasportsminute.blogspot.com


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