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Pacers beat Lakers to end losing streak

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INDIANAPOLIS — Given the long list of injuries, coupled with poor shooting and turnovers, the Indiana Pacers have experienced much more frustration than joy through the 2014-2015 season’s first 25 games.

The Pacers certainly did not look like a team with an eight-game losing streak Monday night when they played the Los Angeles Lakers.

Guard/forward C.J. Miles came off the bench to score 16 of his 20 points during a dominating first half, and Indiana crushed the Lakers 110-91 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Guard Rodney Stuckey had 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Indiana. Guard Donald Sloan added 17 points for the Pacers, who scored 100 points or more for only the fifth time this season. Guard Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 21 points, and guard Nick Young added 18.

“We handled their pressure early, got a lead, maintained it and never looked back,” Stuckey said. “We absolutely were in sync and got off to a good start. We got an important win before we go out West. That is going to be a tough road trip.”

The Pacers’ eight-game losing streak was their longest since losing 11 in a row during the 2006-2007 season.

The Lakers (8-17), who were playing their third road game in four nights, missed 17 of their first 20 field-goal attempts, and the Pacers (8-17) seized almost every opportunity, building a 34-15 lead after 12 minutes, then increased their advantage to 60-27 at halftime.

“We wanted to play with a high motor, and we did that,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We played some very good offensive basketball, and it carried on throughout. (The Lakers) missed a lot of shots in the first quarter.

“Kobe had a tough shooting night, but Solomon Hill did the best he could. He stayed down on Kobe’s shot fake. Kobe also got only three free-throw attempts. Our bigs also were active, so it just wasn’t a one-man assignment. We wanted to make everything contested. They picked up their offensive intensity in the second half, and we have to handle that better.”

Indiana’s 60-point first half was its most productive of the season, replacing the 56 points the Pacers scored in a Dec. 2 loss at Phoenix. The Lakers’ 27-point first half represented a season-low for an NBA team this season and obviously for an Indiana opponent, replacing the 36 points scored by Milwaukee on Nov. 4 and by Portland on Dec. 4.

“I don’t think we came ready to play, mentally or physically,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “They were a desperate team that came out and jumped on us. We didn’t react well to it. I felt like we were really embarrassed the way we played in the first half.”

Bryant, who scored 26 on Sunday night to pass Michael Jordan for third place on the career scoring list, made only 3 of 13 field-goal attempts during a horrible first half and finished with 21 points for Los Angeles, which was 7 of 43 from the field in the opening 24 minutes, 16.3 percent, an NBA first-half worst this season.

Indiana led by as many as 39 points (60-21) in a first half during which the Pacers out rebounded the Lakers 33-19 and were guilty of only three turnovers. Indiana’s non-starters scored 27 first-half points, 14 more than the Lakers’ bench.

“The key for us tonight was making every shot tough,” said Miles who contributed 20 of Indiana’s 52 bench points. “We were able to help each other, and we didn’t let them have easy shots.”

Los Angeles began to chip away in the third quarter, slicing the Indiana lead to 75-56 with 3:27 remaining on a Ronnie Price 3-pointer. The Pacers, however, closed the period on a 14-2 run to lead 89-58 through three quarters.

“I thought we got a little more aggressive tonight,” Sloan said. “It also helps everything when you make shots. Everybody got into a rhythm. We don’t like to let our offense dictate our defense, but when we got it going early on, we had the spark for our motor that we needed.”

With 12 minutes to play, the Lakers were 18 of 70 from the field (25.7 percent), including 8 of 26 by Bryant. Indiana enjoyed a 46-26 rebounding advantage through the first three quarters.

Indiana finished with a 53-38 rebounding advantage and is 6-2 this season when it gets 50 boards or more.

“I think we had tired legs,” Bryant said. “A lot of our shots were short. Getting ourselves into such a big deficit was difficult, but at the same time, in the second half, I think we learned a lot. We learned that you have to play that hard and get after it. I think we played with some desperation.”

NOTES: The Lakers were without G/F Xavier Henry (ruptured left Achilles tendon), F Ryan Kelly (torn right hamstring), G Steve Nash (sciatic pain) and F Julius Randle (fractured right tibia). … The Pacers were without G George Hill (bruised left knee), C Ian Mahinmi (torn left plantar fascia) and G/F Paul George (broken right leg). Indiana coach Frank Vogel said there is a chance Hill will return to practice this week. … The Pacers entered this game having not won since defeating Orlando 98-83 on Nov. 28 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. … Indiana swept the two-game series with the Lakers last season, marking the first time since the 1991-92 season the Pacers had done that. … The teams will meet again on Jan. 4 in Los Angeles. … The Lakers entered the game as the NBA’s fourth best in turnovers (12.1 per game) while Indiana ranked 14th (14.6).

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