Game #24 Preview: Rematch with the Champs
Los Angeles Lakers @ Indiana Pacers
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
7:00 pm EST
The Pacers victory over the Lakers in LA was the highlight of the season so far. It came not long after the blowout win in Miami and even though Indiana only beat Kobe and company 95-92, they thoroughly outplayed the champs, in the process showing the whole league that they might actually be somewhat for real. (“For real” compared to the past four years of mundane mediocrity the franchise has otherwise shown anyway.)
Things haven’t been so great since then, however. Brian Kamanetzky of ESPN: Los Angeles’ Land O’ Lakers asked me what the problem has been.
1. What has happened to Indiana since they beat the Lakers on the 28th? The Pacers had been playing well coming in, beat the champs, and seemed poised to make a little run. Hasn’t really happened. Why?
Since they upset LA in Staples on November 28, the Pacers are 3-5. They have not looked sharp aside from the night they blew out Toronto, but three of the losses came in Utah, Atlanta and Chicago and all five have come of the road. Just watching the team this year, it’s evident they are markedly improved from past seasons, but they still are not at the point where they can be expected to beat top-tier teams on the road — or anyone really. That said, they have reached a level where every home game is certainly winnable. I don’t expect a win over the Lakers, but it wouldn’t surprise me either.
Aside from just tempered expectations, Roy Hibbert hasn’t been good for about two weeks. He has only had one double-double and no 20 point games since that victory in LA. Worse than stats, he just hasn’t looked good, struggling to maintain position down or make crisp post moves like he was earlier in the season. He does play better against guys like Andrew Bynum than guys like Al Horford, who torched him the other night, so this game could be a nice return to form.
You know what?
Brian’s whole game preview is very good. So rather than me telling you what you already know (i.e., that Indy will probably lose tonight but has shown signs this season that they are capable of beating anyone, so who knows?), you should just look at the numbers below to see where these two teams are at and go read the rest of Kamenetzky’s piece.
Pacers vs Lakers By the Numbers