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Turkey-ed Lakers Zoned Out Against Pacers
A day after the Kings played a turkey of a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at STAPLES Center and after the Clippers blew a lead against Utah Jazz earlier in the afternoon, the Lakers played with tryptophan-induced lethargy against the Indiana Pacers Sunday night in their 95-92 loss.
The Pacers win was in some ways historic since they had never beat the Lakers at STAPLES Center since it became the Lakers home in 1999. Not the three NBA Finals games in 2000, not with any of the teams anchored by Reggie Miller. That’s why when they sat on a 51-45 halftime lead, it was quite startling.
The Pacers were anchored by center Roy Hibbert who scored 24 points and grabbed 12 boards, outplaying Pau Gasol who looked fatigued in his 13 points and 12 rebounds. And that fatigue looked to afflict the entire team - Kobe Bryant despite his 41 points shot 14-for-33 and 3-for-8 behind the arc missing the two three-point attempts at the end to try and send the game to overtime.
But Gasol looked notably tired being beaten by Hibbert repeatedly. He’s been averaging 39.1 minutes in the first 17 games of this season, and it really looks like he can’t wait for Andrew Bynum to get back.
Perhaps the most surprising thing is that the word “fatigue” is being bandied about only 17 games in the season. The Lakers won’t get much rest this week with back-to-back road games against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. Both teams are a thorn in the Lakers’ side, and if the Lakers don’t find a way to play with energy they could cause a panic of Miami Heat proportions here in Los Angeles.
So here’s to hoping it was just the double-helping of turkey both at the dinner table and at the STAPLES Center.