Triple Threat
Covering LA Sports' Big Three: Lakers, Dodgers and Kings

Lakers Take on Pacers, Kobe Bryant Doubtful

Kobe Bryant's severe ankle sprain may be enough to sideline No. 24 for the Los Angeles Lakers at the Indiana Pacers on Friday evening.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dwight Howard says the fourth quarter is "Kobe Time" after the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors on Mar. 8, 2013, and Kobe Bryant finished with 41 points. (Published Saturday, Mar 9, 2013)

    The Indiana Pacers are the second best team in the Eastern Conference and have a 26-7 record at home. The Lakers may be without Kobe Bryant and have only a half game lead for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference.

    While the NBA admitted that their officials blew the call in Wednesday’s loss in Atlanta, Bryant administering round-the-clock treatment for his severely sprained ankle. Long-term injury Pau Gasol revealed he is nearing his own return, but Friday’s game in Indiana arrives too soon for the Spaniard.

    Dwight Howard Calls 4th Quarter "Kobe Time"

    [LA] 4th Quarter is 'Kobe Time' - Lakers Dwight Howard
    Dwight Howard says the fourth quarter is "Kobe Time" after the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors on Mar. 8, 2013, and Kobe Bryant finished with 41 points. (Published Saturday, Mar 9, 2013)

    Regardless of the level of Bryant’s involvement against the Pacers, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash will need to increase their responsibilities on the offensive end of the floor for the Lakers on Friday night.

    Seven games into the month, Howard is averaging 16 rebounds per game during the month of March. He’s grabbed 16 boards in each of the last two games, but his production dropped from 39 points to 10 points. The difference in Howard’s play came at the free throw line.

    Dwight Howard Called Lakers Season "Humbling"

    [LA] "Humbling Season" - Dwight Howard Describes Time With Lakers
    Dwight Howard talked about recovering from injury and described his season with the Los Angeles Lakers as a "humbling" experience after win against the Toronto Raptors on March 8, 2013. (Published Saturday, Mar 9, 2013)

    In Orlando, Howard made 25 free throws. In Atlanta, he didn’t make one. In Indiana, Howard needs to get back to the foul line (I cannot believe I just wrote that).

    Nash needs to do his part, too. The Canadian has only scored 20 or more points three times this season, and all three times, Nash shot the ball at least 12 times. Encouragingly, Nash’s three 20-plus games all occurred over the past 10 games, so he seemed to be finding an offensive groove playing alongside Bryant.

    Lakers, Dwight Howard Beat Magic With Free Throws

    [LA] Postgame: Dwight Howard's Triumphant Return
    After a record setting performance, the Lakers' center talks about being booed by his former fans and expresses his undying love for Orlando. Raw video from March 13, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013)

    Both Nash and Howard have been playing better of late, but the Lakers need them to assert themselves to an even greater extent against the Pacers. Bryant’s ankle may be taped up by the best tape-man in the business, but he definitely will not be 100 percent physically fit—if he even plays.

    If Bryant plays, tune in to watch him play. If he doesn’t play, tune in to see what this team looks like without the Mamba. Regardless, there is a good reason to turn on the television at 4 p.m. PT—the Lakers will be on, and every game counts in the race for the playoffs.

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