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Lakers lament late-game breakdowns against Indiana Pacers

January 23, 2012 | 12:51 am

Out of nowhere, Lakers guard Derek Fisher swiped the ball from Darren Collison's hands and the Lakers appeared ready to draw up a game-winning play.

Instead, the Lakers improvised with disastrous results. After encountering multiple defenders, Kobe Bryant made a baseline pass to Pau Gasol, who immediately gave it back to Bryant as he cut to the right wing. Bryant beat another double team by sending the ball up to Fisher.

"I didn't want their defense to get set," Brown said of not calling a timeout. "I started to call it and then I pulled back. Obviously in hindsight, I should've called it whether Kobe had the ball or not."

The result: Fisher drove into the lane and appeared to air ball a floating shot in the lane that went out of bounds, denying the Lakers a potentially game-winning play in their 98-96 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers. In reality, the play was actually a lob to Bynum, who like everyone else thought Fisher was putting up a shot.

"I probably should've looked to try to finish it," Fisher said, "and then maybe allow [Bynum] the opportunity to get an offensive rebound."

That didn't happen, and it represented one of many late-game miscues that shows the Lakers (10-8) have problems beyond their three-game losing streak. They still don't know how to execute on the court.

After Collison's free throws on the ensuing possession gave the Pacers a 97-94 lead with 8.7 seconds remaining, the Lakers blew another late-game play. Gasol dumped off a pass to Bryant as he curled to the top of the key. With no one else appearing open behind the perimeter, Bryant launched a long three-pointer from straight away. But the shot hit back iron.

There were other plays too.

David West grabbed an easy rebound around Bynum, setting up Roy Hibbert's three-foot hook shot that cut the Lakers' lead to 94-93 with 1:25 remaining. No one boxed out on Pau Gasol's missed jumper, leading Hibbert to feed Collison for a driving layup that gave Indiana a 95-94 lead with 1:15 left. And then Lakers forward Matt Barnes hoisted an ill-advised three-pointer early in the shot clock that fell short with 47 seconds left.

"If I would've made that three, we would've won," said Barnes, who scored 14 points on threefor-eight shooting and an eight-for-10 clip at the foul line. "Besides that, that's all I'm thinking about. The dunks, the free throws. None of that matters. For this team to be 10-8 is unacceptable."

But the Lakers are 10-8, partly because of their inability to function together when it counts.


Five things to take away from Lakers' 98-96 loss to Indiana Pacers

Mike Brown looking for 'punch off the bench'

--Mark Medina

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