As I watched the Indiana Pacers take on the LA Lakers tonight, a few things became crystal clear.
One, the Lakers were just better. Taller, stronger, more skilled, more confident, significantly superior defensively, and a better star player.
Two, the Pacers were sporadically good but mostly bad. Poor decision making, carelessness with the ball, and terrible defense just doesn't make up for occasional good ball rotation and shooting.
Three, there was no way the Pacers were going to win this one.
After taking a one-point lead in the first quarter (28-27) and only down by six at the half (60-54), the Lakers blew the game wide open mid-way through the third. It all went according to script, with the Lakers starting to click and the Pacers falling apart. Final score: 122-99. Pacers are now 20-40.
I knew things weren't looking good when the Pacers, led by Josh McRoberts, played inspiring ball right out of the gate but couldn't pull away from the Lakers, who appeared as though they were bored and still half-asleep. This meant that when the Lakers inevitably got their act together, the game was going to be over very quickly.
In my rival-banter with Don from With-Malice, I made the following predictions:
- Pacers will lose by 20+ (check; Pacers lost by 23)
- Troy Murphy will get dunked on (check; I'm sure this happened a few times, but I distinctively recall in the first quarter when he tried to guard Bynum, who just bulldozed Murphy out of the way and threw it down over his head)
- Danny Granger will shoot less than 40% from the field (check; Danny shot just 2/9 (22%), had zero boards and 4 turnovers)
- Roy Hibbert will be in foul trouble (check; of course, Big Roy picked up fouls right from the get go, missed a large chunk of the game, but played through with 5 fouls in garbage time and ended up playing 22 minutes)
- TJ Ford will have less than 3 assists (no check; TJ had 5 assists, thanks to a few easy ones in garbage time)