Kobe Bryant was under the weather leading up to the Los Angeles Lakers' matchup with the Indiana Pacers, but it was the fans that left the Staples Center feeling sick. The L.A. faithful were treated to an atrocious shooting exhibition that featured just 33 first-half points by the Lakers, a stretch during which there were 38 combined turnovers and the Pacers missed 22-of-23 shots.
When the game mercifully ended, L.A. fell to the Pacers 79-77.
Overall, the Lakers simply couldn't score. They made 32 percent of their field goals, 21 percent of their threes and only 54 percent from the foul line.
L.A. entered the game with growing confidence in coach Mike D'Antoni's offensive system, but the Lakers' putrid offensive performance against Indiana certainly tempered whatever enthusiasm the team might have been building.
To be fair to the Lakers, they did hold the Pacers offense in check, limiting them to just 36 percent shooting in the first half and 37 percent for the game. If Indiana could have mustered even an average offensive performance, this game would have been a complete blowout.
Kobe Bryant gave a colossal effort, scoring 40 points despite his illness. But his efforts couldn't save the Lakers from a demoralizing last-second loss.
The game was tied with just a few seconds left, and George Hill blew by Metta World Peace. His game-winning layup arced gracefully over the outstretched arms of both Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard before softly dropping home.
It was a painful loss, but really, the Lakers didn't deserve to be anywhere close at the end. Going forward, many of the key issues during the Mike Brown era remain at the forefront under Mike D'Antoni.
First of all, the offense seems to put players in uncomfortable positions. Pau Gasol was particularly out of sorts, consistently catching the ball in the corners, 22 feet away from the basket. No matter how much he's been working on his jumper, that's no the optimal place for Gasol to make offensive contributions.
In addition, the bench continued to be a massive area of weakness, mustering just five points.
The Lakers will try to move on after this one, but the problems that reared their heads against the Pacers need solutions. Fast.