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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 18th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (32-32) at Indiana Pacers (32-31), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The quickly fading Los Angeles Lakers will attempt to get back on the winning track tonight, when they close out their six-game road trip against the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Los Angeles got out to a quick start, but faded down the stretch in Thursday's 102-89 loss to the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena. Kobe Bryant, who was facing his former teammate Shaquille O'Neal for the second and final time in the 2004-05 regular season, paced the Lakers with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Chucky Atkins added 23 points, while Lamar Odom posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards for Los Angeles. Caron Butler and Brian Cook posted 10 points apiece in the defeat.

Los Angeles struggled from the field, hitting just 37.9 percent of its shots in the contest. The Lakers drained 10-of-24 (.417) from three-point range and 13-of-17 (.765) from the free throw line. Los Angeles committed 15 turnovers, which led to 17 Miami points.

The Lakers have slipped out of the Western Conference playoffs, trailing eighth place Denver by 1 1/2 games. Los Angeles is tied with Minnesota in the standings.

Los Angeles fell to 11-20 on the road this season. It has lost eight of its last 11 as the visitor.

Indiana, which could be without star forward Jermaine O'Neal (shoulder) for the rest of the season, has actually won three of its last four contests. The Pacers registered a 103-84 beating of the Utah Jazz at Conseco Fieldhouse on Wednesday.

Stephen Jackson poured in a game-high 28 points to lead the Pacers to the victory. Reggie Miller added 15 in the contest, while Anthony Johnson added 12 and Dale Davis netted nine points with 12 rebounds.

Indiana shot 44 percent from the field, including 8-of-24 (.333) from three- point range. The Pacers drained 37-of-43 (.860) from the charity stripe while limiting their miscues to 10 in the win. Indiana dominated the Jazz, 44-27, on the glass.

Indiana, which is in the middle of a three-game homestand, is 21-12 within its friendly confines this season. The Pacers have won six of seven and eight of their last 10 home tilts.

The Pacers sit seventh in the East, one game ahead of Philadelphia and Orlando. Indiana is only a half-game behind sixth place Chicago.

Los Angeles has won six of seven and eight of its last 10 meetings with the Pacers. The Lakers registered a 103-94 victory over the Pacers at the Staples Center on March 6. Los Angeles has lost three of five and six of its last nine trips to Indiana.

03/18 10:07:25 ET


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