Kobe Bryant took everyone by surprise when he decided to suit up and give it a go against the Pacers, after suffering a severe ankle sprain against the Atlanta Hawks. After playing all 12 minutes in the first quarter, Kobe was unfortunately unable to continue and his night was over. He finished the night with 0 points on 0-4 shooting, two assists and one rebound.
Dwight Howard got into foul trouble early, picking up two fouls in the first quarter, and his third mid-way through the third. The Lakers center was great in the first half, but was limited to 10 minutes.
After a controversial decision just before halftime, the Indiana Pacers had to come out of the locker room to finish the half that was seemingly already over.
Despite Bryant not being able to play and Howard in foul trouble, Lakers still managed to go into the halftime break with a five point lead, thanks to some great three-point shooting and the absence of Roy Hibbert, who also faced foul trouble.
It was an even contest in the second half, but thanks to some big contributions off the bench, the Lakers escaped with a close victory. Howard had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks. Antawn Jamison had 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Steve Blake contributed with 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
This is a huge statement win for the Lakers, as the team was clearly inspired by Bryant’s determination to try to play through his injury.