Pacers 98, Lakers 96 (final)
That went downhill fast.
The Lakers looked like they were headed to another home victory in the final minutes before Indiana rallied, becoming the first visiting team to win at Staples Center since the Chicago Bulls in the Dec. 25 season opener.
The Lakers are now 9-2 at home.
Less than a week after he made a late three-pointer to beat Dallas, Derek Fisher tried to be the hero again, taking a short floater with his team trailing by a point with about 15 seconds left. But the shot missed and the ball went out of bounds to the Pacers.
The Lakers fouled Darren Collison, who made two free throws to give Indiana a 97-94 lead with 8.7 seconds left. Kobe Bryant's long three-point shot from the top of the key was off the mark with 2.4 seconds left and the Pacers got the rebound.
The Lakers had held a 94-91 lead when Fisher made an open jumper after Collison had fallen down.
But the Pacers rallied, with center Roy Hibbert making a hook shot to pull them to within a point. After Pau Gasol missed a jumper, Hibbert fed Collison for a driving layup that gave Indiana a 95-94 lead.
Matt Barnes then missed a three-pointer for the Lakers, and the Pacers grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 47 seconds left.
Bryant scored 33 points on 14-for-30 shooting and Andrew Bynum finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Hibbert, playing with cotton stuffed in his nose after taking a shot to the face early in the game, had 18 points as one of six Pacers to score in double figures.
The Lakers reserves had opened the quarter by scoring the first six points to open an 84-77 lead. But the Pacers were undeterred, with Hibbert scoring six consecutive points on a putback and a pair of hook shots.
Collison's three-pointer eventually tied the score at 86-86 before the teams started their back-and-forth battle to the finish.
Lakers 78, Pacers 77 (end of third quarter)
Wanted: perimeter defense.
The Lakers didn't have much during a third quarter in which Indiana made five of seven three-pointers to take the lead before Kobe Bryant's baseline jumper at the buzzer put the Lakers back on top.
Danny Granger and George Hill made two three-pointers apiece for Indiana in the third quarter. The Pacers have made nine of 15 three-pointers in the game.
Lakers 52, Pacers 49 (halftime)
Just when the Lakers' offense started to click, its defense sputtered.
The Indiana Pacers unleashed a 35-point second quarter on the Lakers, making shots from all over the court in winnowing what had been a 13-point deficit to three on David West's three-pointer at the buzzer.
Kobe Bryant has 17 points, three fewer than the rest of the Lakers' starters combined.
On the plus side, there was a Metta World Peace sighting for the first time since December, the small forward who had mostly disappeared this season re-emerging with nine second-quarter points on four-for-six shooting. World Peace made a couple of layups, a three-pointer and a tip-in on a missed free throw.
West has 15 points for the Pacers, who are shooting 44.2% to the Lakers' 45.2% and have committed nine turnovers to only four for the Lakers.
The Lakers made 11 of 21 shots (52.4%) in the second quarter, a significant uptick from their 0-2 trip to Florida. But if they can't do a better job of stopping West or the Pacers in the second half, it might not make a difference.
Lakers 27, Pacers 14 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers are making shots ... from the free-throw line.
They are still shooting below 40% from the field, but they have a comfortable lead over Indiana largely on the strength of making 11 of 14 free throws. They have made eight of 21 shots (38.1%) from the field.
Kobe Bryant has 11 points on four-for-eight shooting, which he supplemented by making three of four free throws. Matt Barnes has made four of six free throws and Andrew Bynum and Darius Morris have each made both of their attempts.
Things aren't as pretty from the floor. Bynum has made one of three shots, Pau Gasol has made three of seven and Barnes missed his only attempt.
Lakers forward Josh McRoberts is making lots of hustle plays against his former team, blocking a shot, stealing a pass, setting a nice screen and making a good outlet pass to Bryant for a dunk.
David West has six points for the Pacers, who have had their own shooting struggles. They have made 28% of their shots and committed five turnovers in the opening 12 minutes.
Photo: Pacers forward Danny Granger takes it on the chin from outstretched arm of Lakers forward Matt Barnes during their game Sunday at Staples Center. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times