As has been the case countless times this season, the Los Angeles Lakers played a good half of basketball, crumbled in the third quarter and failed to recover in the fourth quarter. The Lakers proved that they can play their style of basketball against truly anyone, but unfortunately, their brand of basketball usually ends with the team losing.
On Tuesday night, the opponent was the team with the best record in the NBA: the Indiana Pacers. Still, the Lakers came out and put together an impressive first half of basketball that saw the teams level at 49-49 at the half.
Once again, though, the third quarter would prove to be fatal.
The Lakers did not hit a field goal until nearly four minutes into the second half. By then, the Pacers had already opened up an eight point lead.
“Actually, this third quarter, I don’t think that we played bad,” point guard Kendall Marshall said after the game. “We just started missing shots that we were hitting. Part of that, you have to give credit to Indiana. Part of it, it’s just the game of basketball.”
Statistically, the Lakers shot 28 percent and scored only 20 points in the third quarter. In contrast, the Pacers shot 54 percent and scored 30 points. A tie ball game quickly turned into a double digit difference, and the Lakers never recovered.
In the fourth quarter, the Pacers would open up a 16-point lead and eventually win by 12 points: 104-92.
The entire 48 minutes, however, were not all doom and gloom: Jodie Meeks continued his strong play, and he finished with 21 points; Marshall finished with a double-double, scoring 11 points and 13 assists; Jordan Hill played well on both ends, finishing with 10 points and 12 rebounds; and an admittedly hobbled Pau Gasol still managed 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Perhaps, the biggest positive was that the Lakers only turned the ball over nine times. Even with all the positives, the Lakers recorded their 30th loss after only 46 games.
“I don’t really like to think about our record too much,” Gasol said after the game. “I’d kind of rather stay positive and work every single day to make it better and help the team win.”
After Tuesday's loss, the record was hard to ignore, as the Lakers are in a virtual tie for last place in the Western Conference.